David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
Learn more about PhilPapers
Metaphysica 12 (2):165-181 (2011)
Arguments from explanation, i.e. arguments in which the explanatory value of a hypothesis or premise is appealed to, are common in science, and explanatory considerations are becoming more popular in metaphysics. The paper begins by arguing that explanatory arguments in scienceâ€”even when these are metaphysical explanationsâ€” may fail to be explanatory in metaphysics; there is a distinction to be drawn between metaphysical explanation and explanation in metaphysics. This makes it potentially problematic to deploy arguments from explanation in, for instance, metaphysics of science. Part of this problem has its source in that the explanatory concept differs between contexts. The paper discusses a few explanatory concepts and their corresponding arguments from explanation. Towards the end of the paper, I identify two allegedly explanatory arguments in metaphysical discourse by the concluding decisions they give rise to: the rejection of X as a metaphysical fact if X does not explain anything (the argument from explanatory inability) and the rejection of X as a metaphysical fact if X can be non-metaphysically explained (the argument from the non-metaphysically explained). I ask: What kind of concept of explanation do these arguments rely upon, and is that concept suited to the metaphysical task? Two recent examples of these arguments are used as illustration. The preliminary conclusion is that several of the strengths of arguments from explanation in science seem not to be present in metaphysical contexts
|Keywords||metaphysical explanation causal explanation arguments from 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
Helen Beebee (2004). Causing and Nothingness. In L. A. Paul, E. J. Hall & J. Collins (eds.), Causation and Counterfactuals. The Mit Press. 291--308.
Simon Blackburn (1991). Just Causes. Philosophical Studies 61 (1/2):3 - 17.
Jim Bogen & Jim Woodward (1992). Observations, Theories and the Evolution of the Human Spirit. Philosophy of Science 59 (4):590-611.
Nancy Cartwright (1983). How the Laws of Physics Lie. Oxford University Press.
Citations of this work BETA
No citations found.
Similar books and articles
Jan Willem Wieland & Erik Weber (2010). Metaphysical Explanatory Asymmetries. Logique and Analyse 53 (211):345-365.
Jaakko Kuorikoski & Petri Ylikoski (2010). Explanatory Relevance Across Disciplinary Boundaries: The Case of Neuroeconomics. Journal of Economic Methodology 17 (2):219–228.
Michael Strevens (2008). Depth: An Account of Scientific Explanation. Harvard University Press.
Zvonimir Čuljak (1995). Some Aspects of Explanation in Boškovič. International Studies in the Philosophy of Science 9 (1):73-84.
Rebecca Schweder (1999). Causal Explanation and Explanatory Selection. Synthese 120 (1):115-124.
Jeroen van Bouwel, Erik Weber & Leen de Vreese (2011). Indispensability Arguments in Favour of Reductive Explanations. Journal for General Philosophy of Science 42 (1):33-46.
Christopher Read Hitchcock (1995). Salmon on Explanatory Relevance. Philosophy of Science 62 (2):304-320.
Theo A. F. Kuipers & Andrzej Wiśniewski (1994). An Erotetic Approach to Explanation by Specification. Erkenntnis 40 (3):377 - 402.
Zvonimir Čuljak (1995). Some Aspects of Explanation in Boškovič. International Studies in the Philosophy of Science 9 (1):73 – 84.
Raimo Tuomela (1989). Methodological Solipsism and Explanation in Psychology. Philosophy of Science 56 (March):23-47.
George Botterill (2010). Two Kinds of Causal Explanation. Theoria 76 (4):287-313.
Miguel Hoeltje, Benjamin Schnieder & Alex Steinberg (2013). Explanation by Induction? Synthese 190 (3):509-524.
Kuipers, Theo A. F. & Wisniewski, Andrzej (1994). An Erotetic Approach to Explanation by Specification. Erkenntnis 40 (3):377-402.
Eugen Zeleňák (2009). On Explanatory Relata in Singular Causal Explanation. Theoria 75 (3):179-195.
Added to index2011-09-10
Total downloads71 ( #18,760 of 1,096,564 )
Recent downloads (6 months)12 ( #12,685 of 1,096,564 )
How can I increase my downloads?