David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
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Minds and Machines 8 (1):137-159 (1998)
We introduce two notions–the shadows and the shallows of explanation–in opening up explanation to broader, interdisciplinary investigation. The shadows of explanation refer to past philosophical efforts to provide either a conceptual analysis of explanation or in some other way to pinpoint the essence of explanation. The shallows of explanation refer to the phenomenon of having surprisingly limited everyday, individual cognitive abilities when it comes to explanation. Explanations are ubiquitous, but they typically are not accompanied by the depth that we might, prima facie, expect. We explain the existence of the shadows and shallows of explanation in terms of there being a theoretical abyss between explanation and richer, theoretical structures that are often attributed to people. We offer an account of the shallows, in particular, both in terms of shorn-down, internal, mental machinery, and in terms of an enriched, public symbolic environment, relative to the currently dominant ways of thinking about cognition and the world.
|Keywords||Cognition Explanation Psychology Science|
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Frank C. Keil (2010). The Feasibility of Folk Science. Cognitive Science 34 (5):826-862.
Frank Keil (2003). Folkscience: Coarse Interpretations of a Complex Reality. Trends in Cognitive Sciences 7 (8):368-373.
Andrew Sneddon (2007). A Social Model of Moral Dumbfounding: Implications for Studying Moral Reasoning and Moral Judgment. Philosophical Psychology 20 (6):731 – 748.
Harold Kincaid (2004). Contextualism, Explanation and the Social Sciences. Philosophical Explorations 7 (3):201 – 218.
Jessica A. Cooper & Jessecae K. Marsh (2015). The Influence of Expertise on Essence Beliefs for Mental and Medical Disorder Categories. Cognition 144:67-75.
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