The logic of how-questions

Synthese 166 (1):133 - 155 (2009)
Philosophers and scientists are concerned with the why and the how of things. Questions like the following are so much grist for the philosopher’s and scientist’s mill: How can we be free and yet live in a deterministic universe?, How do neural processes give rise to conscious experience?, Why does conscious experience accompany certain physiological events at all?, How is a three-dimensional perception of depth generated by a pair of two-dimensional retinal images?. Since Belnap and Steel’s pioneering work on the logic of questions, Van Fraassen has managed to apply their approach in constructing an account of the logic of why-questions. Comparatively little, by contrast, has been written on the logic of how-questions despite the apparent centrality of questions such as How is it possible for us to be both free and determined? to philosophical enterprise.1 In what follows I develop a logic for how-questions of various sorts including how-questions of cognitive resolution, how-questions of manner, how-questions of method, of means, and of mechanism.
Keywords Explanation  Questions  Determinable  Determinate  Goldman  Bennett  Kim  Van Fraassen  Belnap  Steel  Why  How  Erotetic logic  Manner  Means  Method  Mechanism  Possibility  Logic  Functional analysis  Event
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    Robert C. Cummins (1975). Functional Analysis. Journal of Philosophy 72 (November):741-64.

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