Metaphysical Explanation: The Kitcher Picture

Erkenntnis 86 (1):187-207 (2021)
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This paper offers a new account of metaphysical explanation. The account is modelled on Kitcher’s unificationist approach to scientific explanation. We begin, in Sect. 2, by briefly introducing the notion of metaphysical explanation and outlining the target of analysis. After that, we introduce a unificationist account of metaphysical explanation before arguing that such an account is capable of capturing four core features of metaphysical explanations: irreflexivity, non-monotonicity, asymmetry and relevance. Since the unificationist theory of metaphysical explanation inherits irreflexivity and non-monotonicity directly from the unificationist theory of scientific explanation that underwrites it, we focus on demonstrating how the account can secure asymmetry and relevance.

Author Profiles

Sam Baron
University of Melbourne
James Norton
University of Tasmania


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