David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
Learn more about PhilPapers
Philosophical Studies 140 (1):103 - 115 (2008)
We discuss explanation of an earlier event by a later event, and argue that prima facie cases of backwards event explanation are ubiquitous. Some examples: (1) I am tidying my flat because my brother is coming to visit tomorrow. (2) The scarlet pimpernels are closing because it is about to rain. (3) The volcano is smoking because it is going to erupt soon. We then look at various ways people might attempt to explain away these prima facie cases by arguing that in each case the 'real' explanation is something else. We argue that none of the explaining-away strategies are successful, and so any plausible account of explanation should either make room for backwards explanation, or have a good story to tell about why it doesn't have to
|Keywords||Explanation Teleology Functional explanation|
|Categories||categorize this paper)|
Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
|Through your library|
References found in this work BETA
William H. Dray (1979). Laws and Explanation in History. Greenwood Press.
Michael Friedman (1974). Explanation and Scientific Understanding. Journal of Philosophy 71 (1):5-19.
John Hawthorne (2006). Metaphysical Essays. Oxford University Press.
Carl Hempel (1965). Aspects of Scientific Explanation and Other Essays in the Philosophy of Science. The Free Press.
Citations of this work BETA
T. Ryan Byerly (2013). Explanationism and Justified Beliefs About the Future. Erkenntnis 78 (1):229 - 243.
Similar books and articles
Phyllis McKay Illari & Jon Williamson (2011). Mechanisms Are Real and Local. In Phyllis McKay Illari, Federica Russo & Jon Williamson (eds.), Causality in the Sciences. Oup Oxford.
David-Hillel Ruben (1989). The Ontology of Explanation. In Fred D'Agostino & I. C. Jarvie (eds.), Freedom and Rationality. Reidel. 67--85.
Richard Swinburne (1990). The Limits of Explanation. Philosophy 27 (Supplement):177 - 193.
I. J. Good (1982). A Good Explanation of an Event is Not Necessarily Corroborated by the Event. Philosophy of Science 49 (2):251-253.
Michael Strevens (2008). Depth: An Account of Scientific Explanation. Harvard University Press.
Hanoch Ben-Yami (2007). The Impossibility of Backwards Causation. Philosophical Quarterly 57 (228):439–455.
Robert A. Wilson & Frank C. Keil (1998). The Shadows and Shallows of Explanation. Minds and Machines 8 (1):137-159.
Arno Wouters (2005). Functional Explanation in Biology. Poznan Studies in the Philosophy of the Sciences and the Humanities 84 (1):269-293.
James Owen Weatherall (2011). On (Some) Explanations in Physics. Philosophy of Science 78 (3):421-447.
Added to index2009-01-28
Total downloads57 ( #33,876 of 1,679,349 )
Recent downloads (6 months)8 ( #29,437 of 1,679,349 )
How can I increase my downloads?