David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
Learn more about PhilPapers
Theoria 75 (3):179-195 (2009)
Explanation is usually taken to be a relation between certain entities. The aim of this paper is to discuss what entities are suitable as explanatory relata of singular causal explanations, i.e., explanations concerning singular causality relating particular events or other appropriate entities. I outline three different positions. The purely causal approach stipulates that the same entities that are related in the singular causal relation are also linked by the explanatory relation. This position, however, has a problem to distinguish between causation and explanation, two distinct relations allegedly obtaining between the same entities. The linguistic approach states that explanatory relata are linguistic entities of some sort, e.g., statements, propositions, etc. There are various versions of this position. I deal with two of them and try to show that they are unsatisfactory because they transform explanation into some other type of relation. On the first version, explanation is very close to interpretation or clarification of intension and on the second version it seems to be indistinguishable from an evidential relation or justification. I consider these transformations in understanding explanation unnecessary, and consequently reject linguistic views of explanatory relata. The most promising proposal concerning explanatory relata seems to be the mixed view, according to which propositions explain events or other fitting extra-linguistic entities.
|Keywords||causation explanation explanatory relata philosophy of science causal relata|
|Categories||categorize this paper)|
Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
|Through your library|
References found in this work BETA
Helen Beebee (2004). Causing and Nothingness. In L. A. Paul, E. J. Hall & J. Collins (eds.), Causation and Counterfactuals. The Mit Press. 291--308.
Arthur Coleman Danto (1985). Narration and Knowledge: Including the Integral Text of Analytical Philosophy of History. Columbia University Press.
Donald Davidson (1963). Actions, Reasons, and Causes. Journal of Philosophy 60 (23):685-700.
Donald Davidson (1967). Causal Relations. Journal of Philosophy 64 (21):691-703.
Fred I. Dretske (1977). Referring to Events. Midwest Studies in Philosophy 2 (1):90-99.
Citations of this work BETA
No citations found.
Similar books and articles
Cindy D. Stern (1993). Semantic Emphasis in Causal Sentences. Synthese 95 (3):379 - 418.
Jan Willem Wieland & Erik Weber (2010). Metaphysical Explanatory Asymmetries. Logique and Analyse 53 (211):345-365.
Robert C. Koons (2004). The Logic of Causal Explanation an Axiomatization. Studia Logica 77 (3):325 - 354.
Rebecca Schweder (1999). Causal Explanation and Explanatory Selection. Synthese 120 (1):115-124.
George Botterill (2010). Two Kinds of Causal Explanation. Theoria 76 (4):287-313.
Dwayne Moore (2009). Explanatory Exclusion and Extensional Individuation. Acta Analytica 24 (3):211-222.
Cindy Stern (1978). On the Alleged Extensionality of "Causal Explanatory Contexts". Philosophy of Science 45 (4):614-625.
Jaegwon Kim (1981). Causes as Explanations: A Critique. Theory and Decision 13 (4):293.
Abraham S. Roth (1999). Reasons Explanations of Actions: Causal, Singular, and Situational. Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 59 (4):839-874.
David-Hillel Ruben (1989). The Ontology of Explanation. In Fred D'Agostino & I. C. Jarvie (eds.), Freedom and Rationality. Reidel. 67--85.
Added to index2009-08-27
Total downloads32 ( #76,574 of 1,696,514 )
Recent downloads (6 months)3 ( #184,517 of 1,696,514 )
How can I increase my downloads?