Explanation and Inference
Along with prediction and control, explanation is often regarded as a central aim of science. There are two widely held dogmas of explanation that I challenge. First, many hold that explanations are representations of causal relationships. Second, it is widely thought that explanations are a primordial engine of reasoning, autonomously of any other rules of inference. Against the first dogma, I argue that some explanations are noncausal, and that explanations are only derivatively about representation. Against the second dogma, I hold that explanations always presuppose more basic inductive inferences that are sanitized of any explanatory concepts.
Articles and Book Chapters
- (with Daniel Kostic). In progress. Several papers on topological explanation.
- (with Jared Millson). in progress. A critique of inference to the best explanation.
- (with Jared Millson). under review. Explanatory obligations.
- (with Gabe Doble and Jared Millson). 2019. Counterfactuals and explanatory pluralism. The British Journal for Philosophy of Science. doi:10.1093/bjps/axy048.
- (with Jared Millson and Mark Risjord). 2018b. Inference, explanation, and asymmetry. Synthese. doi: 10.1007/s11229-018-1791-y.
- (with Jared Millson and Mark Risjord). 2018a. Inferentialist expressivism for explanatory vocabulary. In From rules to meanings: new essays on inferentialism, edited by Ladislav Koreň, Ondřej Beran and Vojtěch Kolman. (London: Routledge).
- (with Jared Millson and Mark Risjord). 2017. Inference to the best explanation: fundamentalism's failures. in Best explanations: new essays on inference to the best explanation, edited by K. McCain and T. Poston. (Oxford: Oxford University Press).
- (with José Díez and Bert Leuridan) 2013. General theories of explanation: buyer beware. Synthese 190(3): 379-396.
- 2011. Contrastive explanations as social accounts. Social Epistemology. 24 (4): 265-286.
- 2010a. Default privilege and bad lots: underconsideration and explanatory inference. International Studies in the Philosophy of Science 24 (1): 91-105.