Single Idea 17672

[catalogued under 14. Science / D. Explanation / 2. Types of Explanation / a. Types of explanation]

Full Idea

A good reason for P is not necessarily an explanation of P. The presence of smoke is a good reason for thinking that fire is present. But it is not an explanation of the presence of fire.

Gist of Idea

A good reason for something (the smoke) is not an explanation of it (the fire)


David M. Armstrong (What is a Law of Nature? [1983], 04.2)

Book Reference

Armstrong,D.M.: 'What is a Law of Nature?' [CUP 1985], p.40

A Reaction

This may be an equivocation on 'the reason for'. Smoke is a reason for thinking there is a fire, but no one would propose it as a reason for the fire. If the reason for the fire was arson, that would seem to explain it as well.