Erkenntnis:1-21 (forthcoming)

Alexander Reutlinger
Ludwig Maximilians Universität, München
Mark Colyvan
University of Sydney
Karolina Krzyżanowska
University of Amsterdam
We explore the prospects of a monist account of explanation for both non-causal explanations in science and pure mathematics. Our starting point is the counterfactual theory of explanation (CTE) for explanations in science, as advocated in the recent literature on explanation. We argue that, despite the obvious differences between mathematical and scientific explanation, the CTE can be extended to cover both non-causal explanations in science and mathematical explanations. In particular, a successful application of the CTE to mathematical explanations requires us to rely on counterpossibles. We conclude that the CTE is a promising candidate for a monist account of explanation in both science and mathematics.
Keywords Explanation  Non-causal explanation  Mathematical explanation  Counterfactuals  Counterpossibles  Impossible worlds  Explanatory monism  Mathematics  Philosophy of Mathematics  Counterfactual theory of explanation
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DOI 10.1007/s10670-020-00273-w
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Counterfactuals.David Lewis - 1973 - Blackwell.

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