Inferentialist-Expressivism for Explanatory Vocabulary

In Ondřej Beran, Vojtěch Kolman & Ladislav Koreň (eds.), From rules to meanings. New essays on inferentialism. Routledge (2018)

Authors
Jared A. Millson
California State University, Bakersfield
Mark Risjord
Emory University
Kareem Khalifa
Middlebury College
Abstract
In this essay, we extend earlier inferentialist-expressivist treatments of traditional logical, semantic, modal, and representational vocabulary (Brandom 1994, 2008, 2015; Peregrin 2014) to explanatory vocabulary. From this perspective, Inference to the Best Explanation (IBE) appears to be an obvious starting point. In its simplest formulation, IBE has the form: A best explains why B, B; so A. It thereby captures one of the central inferential features of explanation. An inferentialist-expressivist treatment of “best explains” would treat it as a logical operator. Analogous to the inferentialist-expressivist treatment of other logical operators, this essay aims to provide introduction and elimination rules for “best explains.” Indeed, by exhibiting a form of detachment, IBE superficially looks like an elimination rule. The sequent calculus LEA+, described in Section 5 below, makes good on this intuition. By showing how “A best explains why B” is related to the underlying, scientific inference “A, so B,” we can purchase the inference ticket of IBE for no more than the cost of science’s material inferences
Keywords Inferentialism  Expressivism  Abductive Reasoning  Explanation  Nonclassical Logic
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A Logic for Best Explanations.Jared Millson & Christian Straßer - 2019 - Journal of Applied Non-Classical Logics 29 (2):184-231.

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