Explanation and explanationism in science and metaphysics

In Matthew Slater & Zanja Yudell (eds.), Metaphysics and the Philosophy of Science: New Essays. Oxford University Press (forthcoming)
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Abstract

This chapter examines the status of inference to the best explanation in naturalistic metaphysics. The methodology of inference to the best explanation in metaphysics is studied from the perspective of contemporary views on scientific explanation and explanatory inferences in the history and philosophy of science. This reveals serious shortcomings in prevalent attempts to vindicate metaphysical "explanationism" by reference to similarities between science and naturalistic metaphysics. This critique is brought out by considering a common gambit of methodological unity: (1) Both metaphysics and science employ inference to the best explanation. (2) One has no reason to think that if explanationism is truth-conducive in science, it is not so in metaphysics. (3) One has a positive reason to think that if explanationism is truth-conducive in science, it is also so in metaphysics.

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Juha Saatsi
University of Leeds

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