Self-Explanation and Empty-Base Explanation

Journal of the American Philosophical Association 8 (3):436-453 (2022)
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This paper explores a novel notion of self-explanation that combines ideas from two sources: the tripartite account of explanation, according to which a proposition can help explain another either in the capacity of a reason why the latter obtains or in the capacity of an explanatory link, and the notion of an empty-base explanation, which generalizes the ideas of explanation by zero-grounding and explanation by status. After having introduced these ideas and the novel notion of self-explanation, I argue that the latter has the potential to resist extant arguments against the possibility of self-explanation. In the remainder of the paper, I discuss candidates for such self-explanatory propositions and suggest possible applications for Humeanism about laws of nature, the debate on the grounds of ground, the rationalist tradition, and philosophical theology.

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Yannic Kappes
University of Vienna

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References found in this work

Studies in the logic of explanation.Carl Gustav Hempel & Paul Oppenheim - 1948 - Philosophy of Science 15 (2):135-175.
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Philosophical Explanations. [REVIEW]Robert Nozick - 1981 - Philosophy 58 (223):118-121.
Metaphysical Rationalism.Shamik Dasgupta - 2016 - Noûs 50 (2):379-418.

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