Explanationist Plasticity and the Problem of the Criterion

Philosophical Papers 40 (3):395-419 (2011)
Abstract This paper develops an explanationist treatment of the problem of the criterion. Explanationism is the view that all justified reasoning is justified in virtue of the explanatory virtues: simplicity, fruitfulness, testability, scope, and conservativeness. A crucial part of the explanationist framework is achieving wide reflective equilibrium. I argue that explanationism offers a plausible solution to the problem of the criterion. Furthermore, I argue that a key feature of explanationism is the plasticity of epistemic judgments and epistemic methods. The explanationist does not offer any fixed judgments or methods to guide epistemic conduct; even the explanatory virtues themselves are subject to change. This feature of explanationism gives it an advantage over non-explanationist views that offer fixed epistemic judgments and epistemic methods. The final section of this paper responds to objections to explanationism
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DOI 10.1080/05568641.2011.634248
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