Concepts of Explanation
In a variety of contexts, we use explanations to further our understanding and knowledge of the world; philosophers have used "inference to the best explanation" to offer solutions to various philosophical problems. But what exactly is an explanation? What makes one explanation better than another? Which uses of explanation yield knowledge rather than mere opinion? In this course, we will examine some of the following: different philosophical analyses of explanation, explanatory coherence as a theory of justification, and defenses and critiques of inference to the best explanation. Familiarity with contemporary theories of knowledge (PHIL 0351) and the philosophy of science (PHIL 0316) is helpful, but not necessary. (Designed for senior majors; open to others by waiver.) 3 hrs. sem.