The Limits of Explanation

Philosophy 27 (Supplement):177 - 193 (1990)
Abstract
Scientific explanation in terms of laws and initial conditions (or better, in terms of objects with powers and liabilities) is contrasted with personal explanation in terms of agents with powers and purposes. In each case the factors involved in explanation may themselves be explained, and infinite regress of explanation is logically possible. There can be no absolute explanation of phenomena, which is explanation in terms of the logically necessary; but there can be ultimate explanation which is explanation in terms of factors which themselves have no explanation. Our normal criteria of explanation suggest that the explanation of the universe lies in the action of God.
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