On explanatory relata in singular causal explanation

Theoria 75 (3):179-195 (2009)
  Copy   BIBTEX


Explanation is usually taken to be a relation between certain entities. The aim of this paper is to discuss what entities are suitable as explanatory relata of singular causal explanations, i.e., explanations concerning singular causality relating particular events or other appropriate entities. I outline three different positions. The purely causal approach stipulates that the same entities that are related in the singular causal relation are also linked by the explanatory relation. This position, however, has a problem to distinguish between causation and explanation, two distinct relations allegedly obtaining between the same entities. The linguistic approach states that explanatory relata are linguistic entities of some sort, e.g., statements, propositions, etc. There are various versions of this position. I deal with two of them and try to show that they are unsatisfactory because they transform explanation into some other type of relation. On the first version, explanation is very close to interpretation or clarification of intension and on the second version it seems to be indistinguishable from an evidential relation or justification. I consider these transformations in understanding explanation unnecessary, and consequently reject linguistic views of explanatory relata. The most promising proposal concerning explanatory relata seems to be the mixed view, according to which propositions explain events or other fitting extra-linguistic entities.



    Upload a copy of this work     Papers currently archived: 89,560

External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server

Through your library

Similar books and articles

Semantic emphasis in causal sentences.Cindy D. Stern - 1993 - Synthese 95 (3):379 - 418.
Reasons explanations of actions: Causal, singular, and situational.Abraham S. Roth - 1999 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 59 (4):839-874.
Two Kinds of Causal Explanation.George Botterill - 2010 - Theoria 76 (4):287-313.
Metaphysical Explanatory Asymmetries.Jan Willem Wieland & Erik Weber - 2010 - Logique and Analyse 53 (211):345-365.
The Ontology of Explanation.David-Hillel Ruben - 1989 - In Fred D'Agostino & I. C. Jarvie (eds.), Freedom and Rationality. Reidel. pp. 67--85.


Added to PP

135 (#123,795)

6 months
3 (#431,291)

Historical graph of downloads
How can I increase my downloads?

Citations of this work

No citations found.

Add more citations