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Questions and Answers: Metaphysical Explanation and the Structure of Reality

Journal article
Authors Naomi Thompson
Published in Journal of the American Philosophical Association
Volume 5
Issue 1
Pages 98-116
ISSN 2053-4477
Publication year 2019
Published at Nordicom (2013-)
Pages 98-116
Language en
Keywords Metaphysical explanation, structure, antirealism, grounding, work, Philosophy
Subject categories Philosophy


This paper develops an account of metaphysical explanation according to which metaphysical explanations are answers to what-makes-it-the-case-that questions. On this view, metaphysical explanations are not to be considered entirely objective, but are subject to epistemic constraints imposed by the context in which a relevant question is asked. The resultant account of metaphysical explanation is developed independently of any particular views about grounding. Toward the end of the paper an application of the view is proposed that takes metaphysical explanations conceived in this way to characterize reality's structure. According to this proposal, reality's structure is partly constituted by a projection of our explanatory practices onto reality.

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