Annual Lecture Series (in-person)
Lunchtime Talks (in-person)
ALS: Holly Andersen
March 24 @ 3:30 pm - 5:30 pm EDT
Friday 3/24 3:30PM – 5:30PM CL 1008
Title: Starting Points in Ohio: A pragmatist account of the asymmetry of explanation
Abstract: Recent discussions around explanation have concerned the issue of asymmetry, an issue dating back at least to the well-known example of the shadow of a flagpole. What is the source of the directionality in explanation such that it should go one direction, and not the other? One common approach is to locate the directedness of explanation in the relation(s) that figure in an explanation: in causal explanations, for example, the direction of the causal arrow yields the asymmetry of the explanation in which the causal relation figures. I will first criticize this outsourcing of the directedness of explanation to bits of the world being directed, illustrated with the Quinean point about starting points in Ohio. I then offer an alternative, pragmatist, account of explanation on which explanation is itself already directed, regardless of the relation(s) that figure in any explanation. We don’t need the parts of the world highlighted in an explanation to be intrinsically directed for explanation to nevertheless be directed. I illustrate how this accommodates the plurality of explanations in the sciences that don’t involve straightforwardly asymmetric relationships, distinguishing ways in which explanans and explanandum can be connected that are not fully asymmetric in at least some sense, such as undirected relations, bidirectional relations, or pairs of undirected relations. Only reflexive loops fail to be explanatory on this account.
RSVP Here: https://forms.gle/NFwuo7BR2HvARWtF8
This talk will also be available live streamed on You Tube at https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCrRp47ZMXD7NXO3a9Gyh2sg.
- March 24
3:30 pm - 5:30 pm EDT
- Event Category:
- 63rd Annual Lecture Series
- 1008 Cathedral of Learning
4200 Fifth Ave
Pittsburgh, PA 15260 United States