Chapter

HOW WE EXPLAIN THINGS

Richard Swinburne

in Is There a God?

Published in print February 1996 | ISBN: 9780198235446
Published online May 2007 | e-ISBN: 9780191705618 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198235446.003.0003
 HOW WE EXPLAIN THINGS

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There are two different explanations of events — inanimate or scientific (in terms of the powers and liabilities of objects), and personal (in terms of the powers, beliefs, and purposes of persons). The ‘laws of nature’ are just statements about the powers and liabilities of objects of some kind. An explanatory hypothesis is probable insofar as it leads us to expect many otherwise inexplicable events to be explained, is simple, and fits in with ‘background knowledge’ (knowledge of how things work in fields outside the scope of the hypothesis).

Keywords: explanation; hypothesis; laws of nature; probability; simplicity

Chapter.  5527 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Philosophy of Religion

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