David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
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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|
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References found in this work BETA
Peter Lipton (2004). Inference to the Best Explanation. Routledge/Taylor and Francis Group.
Ian Hacking (1983). Representing and Intervening: Introductory Topics in the Philosophy of Natural Science. Cambridge University Press.
Nancy Cartwright (1983). How the Laws of Physics Lie. Oxford University Press.
Wesley Salmon (1984). Scientific Explanation and the Causal Structure of the World. Princeton University Press.
Stephen Mumford (2004). Laws in Nature. Routledge.
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