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Metaphysical explanatory asymmetries

Jan Willem Wieland (UGent) and Erik Weber (UGent)
(2010) LOGIQUE ET ANALYSE. p.345-365
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Abstract
The general view is that metaphysical explanation is asymmetric. For instance, if resemblance facts can be explained by facts about their relata, then, by the asymmetry of explanation, these latter facts cannot in turn be explained by the former. The question however is: is there any reason to hold on to the asymmetry? If so, what does it consist in? In the paper we approach these questions by comparing them to analogous questions that have been investigated for scientific explanations. Three main asymmetry criteria have been proposed for the latter: (i) causation, (ii) unification, and (iii) explanatory dependence. We argue that the last criterion, but not the former two, can be of help to metaphysical explanation: metaphysical explanations are asymmetric if the explanatory dependence criterion (in modified format) holds of them.

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Citation

Please use this url to cite or link to this publication:

Chicago
Wieland, Jan Willem, and Erik Weber. 2010. “Metaphysical Explanatory Asymmetries.” Logique Et Analyse (211): 345–365.
APA
Wieland, J. W., & Weber, E. (2010). Metaphysical explanatory asymmetries. LOGIQUE ET ANALYSE, (211), 345–365.
Vancouver
1.
Wieland JW, Weber E. Metaphysical explanatory asymmetries. LOGIQUE ET ANALYSE. 2010;(211):345–65.
MLA
Wieland, Jan Willem, and Erik Weber. “Metaphysical Explanatory Asymmetries.” LOGIQUE ET ANALYSE 211 (2010): 345–365. Print.
@article{924352,
  abstract     = {The general view is that metaphysical explanation is asymmetric. For instance, if resemblance facts can be explained by facts about their relata, then, by the asymmetry of explanation, these latter facts cannot in turn be explained by the former. The question however is: is there any reason to hold on to the asymmetry? If so, what does it consist in? In the paper we approach these questions by comparing them to analogous questions that have been investigated for scientific explanations. Three main asymmetry criteria have been proposed for the latter: (i) causation, (ii) unification, and (iii) explanatory dependence. We argue that the last criterion, but not the former two, can be of help to metaphysical explanation: metaphysical explanations are asymmetric if the explanatory dependence criterion (in modified format) holds of them.},
  author       = {Wieland, Jan Willem and Weber, Erik},
  issn         = {0024-5836},
  journal      = {LOGIQUE ET ANALYSE},
  language     = {eng},
  number       = {211},
  pages        = {345--365},
  title        = {Metaphysical explanatory asymmetries},
  year         = {2010},
}

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