The epistemic value of explanation

Abstract
In this paper I defend the idea that there is a sense in which it is meaningful and useful to talk about objective understanding, and that to characterize that notion it is necessary to formulate an account of explanation that makes reference to the beliefs and epistemic goals of the participants in a cognitive enterprise. Using the framework for belief revision developed by Isaac Levi, I analyze the conditions that information must fulfill to be both potentially explanatory and epistemically valuable to an inquiring agent and to a scientific community. To be potentially explanatory, the information must state the relations of probabilistic relevance that the explanans bares to the explanandum. But a potential explanation con only be a bona fide explanation if it becomes part of inquiry, that is, if an agent or a group of agents can see any value in it for their cognitive purposes. I provide a way to evaluate the epistemic value of a potential explanation as a function of its credibility and its informational content.
Keywords No keywords specified (fix it)
Categories (categorize this paper)
Options
 Save to my reading list
Follow the author(s)
My bibliography
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Revision history Request removal from index
 
Download options
PhilPapers Archive


Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy on self-archival     Papers currently archived: 9,360
External links
  •   Try with proxy.
  • Through your library Only published papers are available at libraries
    References found in this work BETA

    No references found.

    Citations of this work BETA

    No citations found.

    Similar books and articles
    Stephen R. Grimm (2008). Explanatory Inquiry and the Need for Explanation. British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 59 (3):481-497.
    Michael Strevens (2013). No Understanding Without Explanation. Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 44 (3):510-515.
    Zvonimir Čuljak (1995). Some Aspects of Explanation in Boškovič. International Studies in the Philosophy of Science 9 (1):73 – 84.
    Richard Swinburne (1990). The Limits of Explanation. Philosophy 27 (Supplement):177 - 193.
    Robrecht Vanderbeeken (2004). Models of Intentional Explanation. Philosophical Explorations 7 (3):233 – 246.
    Martijn Blaauw (2008). Epistemic Value, Achievements, and Questions. Aristotelian Society Supplementary Volume 82 (1):43-57.
    Analytics

    Monthly downloads

    Added to index

    2009-01-28

    Total downloads

    37 ( #39,248 of 1,089,153 )

    Recent downloads (6 months)

    1 ( #69,735 of 1,089,153 )

    How can I increase my downloads?

    My notes
    Sign in to use this feature


    Discussion
    Start a new thread
    Order:
    There  are no threads in this forum
    Nothing in this forum yet.