A Reason for Explanation: Explanations Provide Stable Reasons

Part of the Boston Studies in the Philosophy of Science book series (BSPS, volume 256)

The general idea of the paper is to provide independent characterizations of scientific explanation and of scientific understanding and thereby to confirm or prove that the former yields the latter. After the beginnings of a deterministic theory of induction on the basis of ranking functions, here still called natural conditional functions (section 9.2), causes are a taken as a particular kind of conditional reasons, and having a (causal) explanation of B by A is explicated as having the belief of A being a cause of B (section 9.3). The paper then speculates about some principles concerning reasons and their connection to truth, the strongest of which roughly says, in accordance with Putnam’s internal realism, that for each true proposition there is a true ultimately stable reason (section 9.4). Knowing ultimately stable reasons is defended as one good way of capturing what is said about scientific understanding. So, the argument is completed by the observation that, on the basis of the given explications, having an explanation is (almost) equivalent to knowing an ultimately stable reason (section 9.5).


Actual World Belief Revision Contingent Proposition Regularity Theory Belief Function 
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© Springer Science + Business Media B.V 2009

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