Harjit Bhogal
University of Maryland, College Park
I give an account of what makes an event a coincidence. I start by critically discussing a couple of other approaches to the notion of coincidence -- particularly that of Lando (2017) -- before developing my own view. The central idea of my view is that the correct understanding of coincidences is closely related to our understanding of the correct 'level' or 'grain' of explanation. Coincidences have a kind of explanatory deficiency — if they did not have this deficiency they would not be coincidences. This deficiency, I claim, is the same explanatory deficiency as when we give low-level explanations of special science phenomena. Such explanations are typically too specific and not robust enough. I claim that there is this same badness in purported explanations of coincidences. I cash out this idea sketching an account of explanatory goodness — an account of what makes explanations better or worse -- and using that to give a more precise account of coincidences.
Keywords Coincidences  Levels of Explanation  Explanatory Goodness
Categories (categorize this paper)
DOI 10.1111/phpr.12570
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Request removal from index
Revision history

Download options

PhilArchive copy

 PhilArchive page | Other versions
External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library

References found in this work BETA

Science, Truth, and Democracy.Philip Kitcher - 2001 - Oxford University Press.
Mental Causation.Stephen Yablo - 1992 - Philosophical Review 101 (2):245-280.

View all 15 references / Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

Induction and the Glue of the World.Harjit Bhogal - 2021 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 99 (2):319-333.
Coincidence Avoidance and Formulating the Access Problem.Sharon E. Berry - 2020 - Canadian Journal of Philosophy 50 (6):687-701.
Calling for Explanation.Dan Baras - forthcoming - Oxford University Press.
What's the Coincidence in Debunking?Harjit Bhogal - forthcoming - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research.

View all 9 citations / Add more citations

Similar books and articles

Wyjaśnianie antropiczne w kosmologii.Józef Turek - 2006 - Roczniki Filozoficzne 54 (2):267-296.
What Are Mathematical Coincidences ?M. Lange - 2010 - Mind 119 (474):307-340.
The End of Mystery.Sam Baron & Mark Colyvan - 2019 - American Philosophical Quarterly 56 (3):247-264.
Miracles and Coincidences.Ian Walker - 1983 - Sophia 22 (3):29-36.
The Coincidences of Time Travel.Phil Dowe - 2003 - Philosophy of Science 70 (3):574-589.
Banana Peels and Time Travel.G. C. Goddu - 2007 - Dialectica 61 (4):559–572.
Banana Peels and Time Travel.G. C. Goddu - 2007 - Dialectica 61 (4):559-572.


Added to PP index

Total views
856 ( #7,999 of 2,506,503 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
89 ( #8,550 of 2,506,503 )

How can I increase my downloads?


My notes