Why explanations? Fundamental, and less fundamental ways of understanding the world

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Abstract. My main claim is that explanations are fundamentally about relations between concepts and not, for example, essentially requiring laws, causes, or particular initial conditions. Nor is their linguistic form essential. I begin by showing that this approach solves some well-known old problems and then proceeds to argue my case using heuristic analogies with mathematical proofs. I find that an explanation is something that connects explanandum and explanans by apprehensible steps that penetrate into more fundamental levels than that of explanandum. This leads to a deeper discussion of what it means to be more fundamental. Although I am not able to give a general definition, I argue that linguistic entities and empirical concepts are usually not fundamental, much relying on the distinction between complete and depleted ideas or experiences.


Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Philosophy


  • contrast-class, explanation, concepts, conservative extension, depletion
Original languageEnglish
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2006
Publication categoryResearch