Does the Counterfactual Theory of Explanation Apply to Non-Causal Explanations in Metaphysics?


Authors
Alexander Reutlinger
Ludwig Maximilians Universität, München
Abstract
In the recent philosophy of explanation, a growing attention to and discussion of non-causal explanations has emerged, as there seem to be compelling examples of non-causal explanations in the sciences, in pure mathematics, and in metaphysics. I defend the claim that the counterfactual theory of explanation (CTE) captures the explanatory character of both non-causal scientific and metaphysical explanations. According to the CTE, scientific and metaphysical explanations are explanatory by virtue of revealing counterfactual dependencies between the explanandum and the explanans. I support this claim by illustrating that CTE is applicable to Euler’s explanation (an example of a non-causal scientific explanation) and Loewer’s explanation (an example of a non-causal metaphysical explanation).
Keywords scientific explanation  non-causal explanation  metaphysical explanation  grounding  mathematical explanation
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DOI 10.1007/s13194-016-0155-z
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References found in this work BETA

Nature’s Metaphysics.Alexander Bird - 2007 - Oxford University Press.
Metaphysical Dependence: Grounding and Reduction.Gideon Rosen - 2010 - In Bob Hale & Aviv Hoffmann (eds.), Modality: Metaphysics, Logic, and Epistemology. Oxford University Press. pp. 109-36.
Thinking About Mechanisms.Peter K. Machamer, Lindley Darden & Carl F. Craver - 2000 - Philosophy of Science 67 (1):1-25.

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Citations of this work BETA

Abstract Versus Causal Explanations?Reutlinger Alexander & Andersen Holly - 2016 - International Studies in the Philosophy of Science 30 (2):129-146.
Understanding Does Not Depend on (Causal) Explanation.Philippe Verreault-Julien - 2019 - European Journal for Philosophy of Science 9 (2):18.
Against Brute Fundamentalism.Kerry McKenzie - 2017 - Dialectica 71 (2):231-261.

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