Explanation impossible

Journal article


Baron, Sam and Colyvan, Mark. (2021) Explanation impossible. Philosophical Studies. 178, pp. 559-576. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11098-020-01445-8
AuthorsBaron, Sam and Colyvan, Mark
Abstract

We argue that explanations appealing to logical impossibilities are genuine explanations. Our defense is based on a certain picture of impossibility. Namely, that there are impossibilities and that the impossibilities have structure. Assuming this broad picture of impossibility we defend the genuineness of explanations that appeal to logical impossibilities against three objections. First, that such explanations are at odds with the perceived conceptual connection between explanation and counterfactual dependence. Second, that there are no genuinely contrastive why-questions that involve logical impossibilities and, third, that explanations appealing to logical impossibilities rule nothing out.

Keywordsexplanation; impossibility; impossible worlds; logic; count
Year2021
JournalPhilosophical Studies
Journal citation178, pp. 559-576
PublisherSpringer Netherlands
ISSN0031-8116
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)https://doi.org/10.1007/s11098-020-01445-8
Scopus EID2-s2.0-85084674601
Research or scholarlyResearch
Page range559-576
Publisher's version
License
All rights reserved
File Access Level
Controlled
Output statusPublished
Publication dates
Online02 Apr 2020
Publication process dates
Deposited16 Apr 2021
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