Tuesday, 30 January 2007
Explanation and Causation: the Metaphysical Arguments
Johannes Persson, Department of Philosophy
University of Lund
12:05 pm, 817R Cathedral of Learning
The background is that arguments from explanation figure in many of the causal contexts I am interested in. For instance, arguments concerning whether causation can be a relation often circle around what makes reports involving absences explanatory. Arguments against laws of nature being regularities often boil down to claims that they cannot explain their instances, and so on. Now, it seems to me that there is frequently an interesting tension here. Many of the contexts where arguments from explanation seem to go through do not establish the metaphysical conclusion (the explanation concept and explanatory context is not of the right kind). On the other hand, where the explanation concept is of the right "metaphysical" kind, the desired conclusion does not follow.