Understanding Brute Facts

Synthese 145 (3):449-466 (2005)
  Copy   BIBTEX

Abstract

Brute facts are facts that have no explanation. If we come to know that a fact is brute, we obviously don’t get an explanation of that fact. Nevertheless, we do make some sort of epistemic gain. In this essay, I give an account of that epistemic gain, and suggest that the idea of brute facts allows us to distinguish between the notion of explanation and the notion of understanding. I also discuss Eric Barnes’ (1994) attack on Friedman’s (1974) version of the uni-fication theory of explanation. The nification theory asserts that scientific understanding results from minimizing the number of brute facts that we have to accept in our view of he world. Barnes claims that the unification theory cannot do justice to he notion of being a brute fact, because it implies that brute facts are gaps in our understanding of the world. I defend Friedman’s theory against Barnes’ critique.

Links

PhilArchive



    Upload a copy of this work     Papers currently archived: 74,466

External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server

Through your library

Similar books and articles

Explaining Brute Facts.Eric Barnes - 1994 - PSA: Proceedings of the Biennial Meeting of the Philosophy of Science Association 1994:61-68.
Institutional Facts.Karol Chrobak - 2011 - Diametros:20-31.
A Realist Account of the Ontology of Impairment.S. Vehmas & P. Makela - 2008 - Journal of Medical Ethics 34 (2):93-95.
Can There Be Brute, Contingent Moral Facts.John H. Dreher - 2002 - Philosophical Studies 108 (1-2):23 - 30.
There Are Brute Necessities.Bruno Whittle - 2010 - Philosophical Quarterly 60 (238):149-159.
On Brute Facts.G. E. M. Anscombe - 1957 - Analysis 18 (3):69 - 72.
Understanding and the Facts.Catherine Z. Elgin - 2007 - Philosophical Studies 132 (1):33 - 42.
On the Normative Significance of Brute Facts.Ram Neta - 2004 - Legal Theory 10 (3):199-214.
The Relationship of Righteousness to Brute Facts.Alfred H. Lloyd - 1907 - International Journal of Ethics 18:418.
Brute Facts.Hud Hudson - 1997 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 75 (1):77 – 82.
The Relation of Righteousness to Brute Facts.Alfred H. Lloyd - 1908 - International Journal of Ethics 18 (4):418-433.

Analytics

Added to PP
2009-01-28

Downloads
238 (#50,200)

6 months
8 (#96,545)

Historical graph of downloads
How can I increase my downloads?

Author's Profile

Ludwig Fahrbach
Heinrich Heine University Düsseldorf

References found in this work

The Scientific Image.Michael Friedman - 1982 - Journal of Philosophy 79 (5):274-283.
Explanation and Scientific Understanding.Michael Friedman - 1974 - Journal of Philosophy 71 (1):5-19.
Explanatory Unification and the Causal Structure of the World.Philip Kitcher - 1989 - In Philip Kitcher & Wesley Salmon (eds.), Scientific Explanation. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press. pp. 410-505.
.Peter Railton - 1985 - Rowman & Littlefield.

View all 22 references / Add more references