Philosophy Lexicon of Arguments

Best explanation: preference for one hypothesis over others. The choice can be done within a theory or result in the transition to another theory. See also explanation.
Author Item Excerpt Meta data
Bigelow, John
Books on Amazon
Best Explanation I 341
Best explanation/BE/Bigelow/Pargetter: behind it different kinds of realism are concealed. (> realism)
I 344
Explanation/BE/Bigelow/Pargetter: if we accept the realism due to conclusions on the best explanation, we must ask what kind of explanation it is. It may e.g. be about various kinds of (Aristotelian) causes (see above). The most convincing are surely those which are concerned with "efficient" causes: e.g. Cartwright, Hacking:
Realism/Cartwright/Hacking: is best supported by causal explanations.
Quine/Two Dogmas/Bigelow/Pargetter: Quine has caused many philosophers not only to stay in the armchair, but also to question the experiments that scientists have carried out in real terms. We reject this.
Realism/Bigelow/Pargetter: but we also reject the other extreme that realism would have to arise solely from causal explanations.
I 345
There can also be formal reasons (formal causes/Aristotle) for realism.
Modality/Bigelow/Pargetter: so it is also a legitimate question as to what modalities are constituted in science. Modal realism is the best explanation here for such matters.
Metaphysics/Platonism/Universals/Bigelow/Pargetter: can be supported by the best explanation: by means of conclusions on the best explanation we show that we need modalities and universals in the sciences.
Modality/Bigelow/Pargetter: their primary source is mathematics.
Mathematics/Bigelow/Pargetter: our metaphysics allows a realistic view of mathematics (BigelowVsField).

Big I
J. Bigelow, R. Pargetter
Science and Necessity Cambridge 1990

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Ed. Martin Schulz, access date 2017-04-27