Single Idea 9487

[catalogued under 14. Science / D. Explanation / 1. Explanation / b. Aims of explanation]

Full Idea

Some regard the potential regress of explanations as a reason to think that the very idea of explanation is illusory. This is a fallacy; it is not a necessary condition on A's explaining B that we have an explanation for A also.

Gist of Idea

We can't reject all explanations because of a regress; inexplicable A can still explain B


Alexander Bird (Nature's Metaphysics [2007], 3.2.4)

Book Reference

Bird,Alexander: 'Nature's Metaphysics' [OUP 2007], p.59

A Reaction

True, though to say 'B is explained by A, but A is totally baffling' is not the account we are dreaming of. And the explanation would certainly fail if we could say nothing at all about A, apart from naming it.