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Reasons Why

Bradford Skow


It is first argued that a theory of explanation is, or should be, a theory of answers to why-questions. It is then argued that a theory of answers to why-questions should take the form of a theory of reasons why. A theory of reasons why, that is restricted to reasons why some given event occurred, is proposed, according to which one reason why E happened is that R iff the fact that R is a cause, or a ground, of the fact that E happened. This theory is compared to other causal theories of explanation. A distinction is drawn between two “levels” of reasons: the reasons why Q, on the one hand, an ... More

Keywords: explanation, why-question, reason, causation, grounding, teleology, action

Bibliographic Information

Print publication date: 2016 Print ISBN-13: 9780198785842
Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2016 DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198785842.001.0001


Affiliations are at time of print publication.

Bradford Skow, author
Massachusetts Institute of Technology