The ontic conception of explanation, according to which explanations are "full-bodied
things in the world," is fundamentally misguided. I argue instead for what I call the
eikonic conception, according to which explanations are the product of an epistemic
activity involving representations of the phenomena to be explained. What is explained in the first instance is a particular conceptualization of the explanandum phenomenon, contextualized within a given research program or explanatory project. I conclude that this eikonic conception has a number of benefits, including making better sense of scientific practice and allowing for the full range of normative constraints on explanation.