Philosophy Lexicon of Arguments

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Explanation: making a statement in relation to an event, a state, a change or an action that was described before by a deviating statement. The statement will often try to involve circumstances, history, logical premises, causes and causality. See also description, statements, theories, understanding, literal truth, best explanation, causality, cause, completeness.

Annotation: The above characterizations of concepts are neither definitions nor exhausting presentations of problems related to them. Instead, they are intended to give a short introduction to the contributions below. – Lexicon of Arguments.

Author Item Summary Meta data
I 36
Explanation/Law/Lewis: Problem: my behavior is always explained by individual facts premises - Solution: the laws are implied by these individual fact premises - the attributions can only be true if something holds the causal role necessary, e.g., for wishes - this role can only be played by states that are connected causally in the right way with the behavior.
V 218
Explanation/Sylvain Bromberger: something that needs time, language, speaker, etc. - Lewis: also something that can perhaps never be given.
219 V
Lewis: even things can explain something.
V 220
Event patterns can be described with different descriptions - there is also negative information e.g. about Arctic penguins and that there are no arctic penguins.
V 211
Lewis: Thesis: there are no non-causal explanations.
V 221
Non-causal explanation/LewisVs: 1) E.g. refractive index - Fermat: light must follow the shortest route - the refractive index is that part of the glass that has not yet been reached by the light - the pattern of alternate routes is part of the explanation, but not part the causal story - the explanation consists in relational information - 2) non-causal: star collapse comes to an end, so as not to violate the Pauli principle - 3) non-causal: possession of anti-bodies does not cause immunity - the immunity consists in the possession of anti-bodies - solution/Lewis: the possession is a disposition - it plays a causal role - solution/Lewis: What is explained is that something protects the patient.
V 232
Probability explanation/Peter Railton/Lewis: "deductive-nomological model of probabilistic explanation" - it must be distinguished from Fetzer's model: for both are: covering law/Raiton/Fetzer: universal generalization about an individual case chances - FetzerVsRailton: as in Hempel: inductive, not deductive. Explanation: like argument - LewisVsFetzer: But: a good explanation is not necessarily a good argument - LewisVsFetzer/LewisVsRailton: both want an explanation, even if the event is extremely unlikely, but in that case a good explanation is a very bad argument - probability/explanation/Hempel: deviates from his deductive-nomological model.
V 238
Explanation/unity/Lewis: Explanation is not a thing of which one can demand unity - rather something of which you can have more or less. LewisVsWhite, Morton: then a "therefore-response" is not an existential statement.
V 269
Explanation/Lewis: partly causal, partly non-causal information.

Explanation of symbols: Roman numerals indicate the source, arabic numerals indicate the page number. The corresponding books are indicated on the right hand side. ((s)…): Comment by the sender of the contribution.

Clarence Irving Lewis
Collected Papers of Clarence Irving Lewis Stanford 1970

David K. Lewis
Die Identität von Körper und Geist Frankfurt 1989

David K. Lewis
Konventionen Berlin 1975

David K. Lewis
Philosophical Papers Bd I New York Oxford 1983

David K. Lewis
Philosophical Papers Bd II New York Oxford 1986

LwCl I
Clarence Irving Lewis
Mind and the World Order: Outline of a Theory of Knowledge (Dover Books on Western Philosophy) 1991

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Ed. Martin Schulz, access date 2018-06-25