Calling for Explanation

Oxford University Press (forthcoming)
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Abstract
The assumption that certain facts can’t be mere coincidences—that they call for explanation—underlies influential debates in metaethics, metaphysics, philosophy of mathematics and philosophy of science. Despite its prevalence and importance as a fundamental assumption in so many debates across fields of study, the premise is rarely questioned, and the distinction between facts that call for explanation and those that do not has thus far received little careful attention. My book aims to fill this gap by both mapping out clearly the theoretical terrain and developing a new way of thinking about the topic. I argue that if calling for explanation is thought of as a fixed property of facts that justifies explanatory inferences, as many believe it to be, this leads to a futile philosophical project and confusions in reasoning. I develop the view that calling for explanation is a figurative form of speech without a fixed meaning. This sheds new light on arguments premised on the idea that there is a fact that calls for explanation.
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First archival date: 2020-08-27
Latest version: 5 (2021-07-15)
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2020-08-27

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