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

European Journal for Philosophy of Science:1-18 (2016)
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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).

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