A challenge to the new metaphysics: deRosset, Priority, and explanation

Synthese 198 (7):6403-6433 (2021)
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Priority Theory is an increasingly popular view in metaphysics. By seeing metaphysical questions as primarily concerned with what explains what, instead of merely what exists, it promises not only an interesting approach to traditional metaphysical issues but also the resolution of some outstanding disputes. In a recent paper, Louis deRosset argues that Priority Theory isn’t up to the task: Priority Theory is committed to there being explanations that violate a formal constraint on any adequate explanation. This paper critically examines deRosset’s challenge to Priority Theory. We argue that deRosset’s challenge ultimately fails: his proposed constraint on explanation is neither well-motivated nor a general constraint. Nonetheless, lurking behind his criticism is a deep problem for prominent ways of developing Priority Theory, a problem which we develop.

Author Profiles

Hao Hong
University of Maine
Timothy Perrine
Rutgers - New Brunswick


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