David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
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The paper is divided into three parts. The first part identifies one of the main problems with many current accounts of the notion of explanation: The unreasonable demand, proposed by Michael Scriven and subsequently adopted by many philosophers, that we must square our account of scientific explanation to our intuitions about explanations in everyday contexts. It is first pointed out that the failure to provide a satisfactory account is not endemic to the notion of explanation, i.e. it is widespread amongst notions. Many of the notions considered in philosophical contexts originate and have a function in broader everyday contexts. Indeed, in evaluating accounts of these notions we rely on intuitions that originate in these broader contexts. Yet, we rarely seem to question the appropriateness of these intuitions in more restricted, in this case scientific, contexts. I argue against this complacency, pointing out that our intuitions can often be inconsistent.
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