Metaphysical Explanation

September 20, 2016 - September 21, 2016
Department of Philosophy, Linguistics and Theory of Science, University of Gothenburg, Sweden

to be announced
Olof Wijksgatan 6
Göteborg 40530


  • Riksbankens Jubileums fond
  • Anders Karitz stiftelse
  • Emily Wijks stiftelse

All speakers:

Ricki Bliss
Lehigh University
Einar Duenger Bohn
University of Agder
Dan Giberman
University of Texas at Arlington
Anna-Sofia Maurin
University of Gothenburg
Alexander Skiles
Université de Neuchâtel
Robin Stenwall
Lund University
Naomi Thompson
University of Southampton
Kelly Trogdon
Virginia Tech
Tobias Wilsch
Uppsala University
University of Birmingham


Anna-Sofia Maurin
University of Gothenburg

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Our understanding of the world is mediated through explanations. I’m in pain because I just kicked the table leg. The artwork is beautiful because the artist is very talented. But these somewhat familiar causal/scientific explanations are not the only kinds of explanation we give. My being in pain may also be explained with reference to my being in a particular brain state and the artwork s beauty can be explained in terms of its composition. These are so-called metaphysical explanations which, rather than explaining a certain effect with reference to its cause, take you from what is less to what is more fundamental; from what depends for its existence on something else, to that on which its existence is grounded. It is a kind of explanation you find both in- and outside of philosophy, yet which has received surprisingly little attention in the literature. As a consequence, it is a kind of explanation which nature and application is relatively speaking ill-understood, a circumstance which threatens its justified use in theory evaluation and theory comparison. This conference aims to (start to) rectify this unfortunate situation by thoroughly investigating the nature of metaphysical explanation, thereby hopefully securing it well-justified use in both philosophical and scientific practice.

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