Reasons Why

Reasons Why

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Reasons Why first argues that what philosophers are really after, or at least should be after, when they seek a theory of explanation, is a theory of answers to why-questions. It then advances a thesis about what form a theory of answers to why-questions should take: a theory of answers to why-questions should say what it takes for one fact to be a reason why another fact obtains. The book's main thesis, then, is a theory of reasons why. Every reason why
some event happened is either a cause, or a ground, of that event. Challenging this thesis are many examples philosophers have thought they have found of "non-causal explanations." Reasons Why uses two ideas to show that these examples are not counterexamples to the theory it defends. First is the idea that not
every part of a good response to a why-question is part of an answer to that why-question. Second is the idea that not every reason why something is a reason why an event happened is itself a reason why that event happened. In the book's final chapter its theory of reasons why is extended to cover teleological answers to why-questions, and answers to why-questions that give an agent's reason for acting.
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Product details

  • Paperback | 208 pages
  • 148 x 216 x 11mm | 266g
  • Oxford, United Kingdom
  • English
  • Reprint
  • 0198822472
  • 9780198822479
  • 2,328,969

Table of contents

1: A Few Opening Remarks
2: From Explanations to Why-Questions
3: Reasons Why are Causes or Grounds
4: Levels of Reasons Why
5: Applications
6: Teleology and Reasons for Action
7: Conclusion
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Review quote

Bradford Skow's elegant and tightly argued book goes very much against the prevailing tide of recent discussions of scientific explanation. While many emphasize the pluralism and contextualism of explanatory practice, Skow offers a remarkably simple account of explanation for events: the reasons why an event occurs are always either causes or grounds of that event. Skow's defense of this account is ingenious and worth taking seriously...Skow offers an innovative and
refreshing intervention in debates about explanation and reasons why. His approach will surely be of interest to those sympathetic to Lewis' work on explanation and to those with a stake in integrating causes and grounds into a coherent metaphysical picture. * Christopher Pincock, Notre Dame Philosophical Review *
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About Bradford Skow

Bradford Skow earned his BA from Oberlin College and his PhD from New York University. He is the author of Objective Becoming, published by Oxford University Press.
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