Explaining Explanation

In Frank C. And Wilson Keil (ed.), Explanation and Cognition. Cambridge, MA, USA: pp. 1-18 (2000)
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Abstract

It is not a particularly hard thing to want or seek explanations. In fact, explanations seem to be a large and natural part of our cognitive lives. Children ask why and how questions very early in development and seem genuinely to want some sort of answer, despite our often being poorly equipped to provide them at the appropriate level of sophistication and detail. We seek and receive explanations in every sphere of our adult lives, whether it be to understand why a friendship has foundered, why a car will not start, or why ice expands when it freezes. Moreover, correctly or incorrectly, most of the time we think we know when we have or have not received a good explanation. There is a sense both that a given, successful explanation satisfies a cognitive need, and that a questionable or dubious explanation does not. There are also compelling intuitions about what make good explanations in terms of their form, that is, a sense of when they are structured correctly.

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Author's Profile

Robert A. Wilson
University of Western Australia

References found in this work

Fact, Fiction, and Forecast.Nelson Goodman - 1973 - Cambridge: Harvard University Press.
Concepts: Where Cognitive Science Went Wrong.Jerry A. Fodor - 1998 - Oxford, GB: Oxford University Press.
Collected papers.Charles S. Peirce - 1931 - Cambridge,: Belknap Press of Harvard University Press.
Fact, Fiction, and Forecast.Nelson Goodman - 1955 - Philosophy 31 (118):268-269.
Primate Cognition.Michael Tomasello & Josep Call - 1997 - Oxford University Press USA.

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