Levels of reasons why and answers to why questions

Philosophy of Science 86 (1):168-177 (2019)
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Abstract

According to Skow (2016, 2017), correct answers to why-questions only cite causes or grounds, but not non-accidental regularities. Accounts that cite non-accidental regularities typically confuse second-level reasons with first-level reasons. Only causes and grounds are first-level reasons why. Non-accidental regularities are second-level reasons why. I first show that Skow's arguments for the accusation of confusion depend on the independent thesis that only citations of first-level reasons why are (parts of) answers to why-questions. Then, I argue that this thesis is false. Consequently, the claim that correct answers to why-questions only cite causes or grounds is refuted as well.

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Insa Lawler
University of North Carolina, Greensboro

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