Explanation and the theory of questions

Erkenntnis 34 (2):237 - 260 (1991)
Abstract
In The Scientific Image B. C. van Fraassen argues that a theory of explanation ought to take the form of a theory of why-questions, and a theory of this form is what he provides. Van Fraassen's account of explanation is good, as far as it goes. In particular, van Fraassen's theory of why-questions adds considerable illumination to the problem of alternative explanations in psychodynamics. But van Fraassen's theory is incomplete because it ignores those classes of explanations that are answers not to why-questions but to how-questions. In this article I provide a unified theory of explanatory questions that comprehends both how-questions and why-questions, and I show that a question-theoretic approach to explanation can be defended independently of van Fraassen's programme of Constructive Empiricism.
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References found in this work BETA
John Haugeland (1978). The Nature and Plausibility of Cognitivism. Behavioral and Brain Sciences 1 (2):215-26.
Citations of this work BETA
Benjamin Schnieder (2011). A Logic for 'Because'. Review of Symbolic Logic 4 (3):445-465.
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