Philosophical Studies 175 (1):197-219 (2018)
AbstractExplanatory realism is the position that all explanations give information about whatever metaphysically determines the explanandum. This view is popular and plays a central role in metaphysics, but in this paper I argue that explanatory realism is false. In Sect. 1 I introduce explanatory realism in its weak and strong versions, and discuss the argumentative work that explanatory realism is used for in contemporary metaphysics. In Sect. 2 I present a series of problem cases for explanatory realism, including explanation by analogy, explanations involving rules, reduction ad absurdum explanations and certain statistical explanations. In Sect. 3 I consider and reject two modified versions of explanatory realism: the position that explanatory realism is true only of explanation in metaphysics, and the position that determinative explanation is the most complete form of explanation. In conclusion I consider explanatory antirealism and explanatory pluralism as alternatives to explanatory realism.
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Citations of this work
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References found in this work
Metaphysical Dependence: Grounding and Reduction.Gideon Rosen - 2010 - In Bob Hale & Aviv Hoffmann (eds.), Modality: Metaphysics, Logic, and Epistemology. Oxford University Press. pp. 109-135.
Inference to the Best Explanation.Peter Lipton - 1991 - London and New York: Routledge/Taylor and Francis Group.
Supervenience and Mind: Selected Philosophical Essays.Jaegwon Kim - 1993 - Cambridge University Press.
Grounding in the Image of Causation.Jonathan Schaffer - 2016 - Philosophical Studies 173 (1):49-100.