more from Theodore Sider

Single Idea 15011

[catalogued under 14. Science / D. Explanation / 3. Best Explanation / b. Ultimate explanation]

Full Idea

Ultimate explanations always terminate in the citation of entities; but since a mere list of entities is so unstructured, these 'explanations' cannot be systematized with detailed general laws, patterns, or mechanisms.

Gist of Idea

If the ultimate explanation is a list of entities, no laws, patterns or mechanisms can be cited


Theodore Sider (Writing the Book of the World [2011], 08.5)

Book Reference

Sider,Theodore: 'Writing the Book of the World' [OUP 2011], p.160

A Reaction

We just need to distinguish between ultimate ontology and ultimate explanations. I think explanations peter out at the point where we descend below the mechanisms. Patterns or laws don't explain on their own. Causal mechanisms are the thing.