Philosophical Studies 177 (6):1659-1683 (2020)

Authors
David Mark Kovacs
Tel Aviv University
Abstract
This paper develops and motivates a unification theory of metaphysical explanation, or as I will call it, Metaphysical Unificationism. The theory’s main inspiration is the unification account of scientific explanation, according to which explanatoriness is a holistic feature of theories that derive a large number of explananda from a meager set of explanantia, using a small number of argument patterns. In developing Metaphysical Unificationism, I will point out that it has a number of interesting consequences. The view offers a novel conception of metaphysical explanation that doesn’t rely on the notion of a “determinative” or “explanatory” relation; it allows us to draw a principled distinction between metaphysical and scientific explanations; it implies that naturalness and fundamentality are distinct but intimately related notions; and perhaps most importantly, it re-establishes the unduly neglected link between explanation and understanding in the metaphysical realm. A number of objections can be raised against the view, but I will argue that none of these is conclusive. The upshot is that Metaphysical Unificationism provides a powerful and hitherto overlooked alternative to extant theories of metaphysical explanation.
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DOI 10.1007/s11098-019-01279-z
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References found in this work BETA

New Work for a Theory of Universals.David Lewis - 1983 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 61 (4):343-377.
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.
No Work for a Theory of Grounding.Jessica M. Wilson - 2014 - Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy 57 (5-6):535-579.
On What Grounds What.Jonathan Schaffer - 2009 - In David Manley, David J. Chalmers & Ryan Wasserman (eds.), Metametaphysics: New Essays on the Foundations of Ontology. Oxford University Press. pp. 347-383.
Monism: The Priority of the Whole.Jonathan Schaffer - 2010 - Philosophical Review 119 (1):31-76.

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Citations of this work BETA

Debunking Logical Ground: Distinguishing Metaphysics From Semantics.Michaela Markham McSweeney - 2020 - Journal of the American Philosophical Association 6 (2):156-170.
Four Questions of Iterated Grounding.David Mark Kovacs - 2020 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 101 (2):341-364.
Is Backing Grounding?Ylwa Sjölin Wirling - 2020 - Ratio 33 (3):129-137.

View all 12 citations / Add more citations

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