David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
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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|
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References found in this work BETA
Peter Lipton (2004). Inference to the Best Explanation. Routledge/Taylor and Francis Group.
James Woodward (2003). Making Things Happen: A Theory of Causal Explanation. Oxford University Press.
Wesley Salmon (1984). Scientific Explanation and the Causal Structure of the World. Princeton University Press.
David K. Lewis (1983). Philosophical Papers. Oxford University Press.
Citations of this work BETA
Daniel Nolan (2015). Noncausal Dispositions. Noûs 49 (3):425-439.
T. Ryan Byerly (2013). Explanationism and Justified Beliefs About the Future. Erkenntnis 78 (1):229 - 243.
Richard J. Fry (forthcoming). Backwards Explanation and Unification. European Journal for Philosophy of Science:1-16.
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