Chapter

Partial and Complete Explanations

J. R. LUCAS

in The Freedom of the Will

Published in print September 1970 | ISBN: 9780198243434
Published online October 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780191680687 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198243434.003.0010
Partial and Complete Explanations

Show Summary Details

Preview

Explanations in everyday life are not static, not always quite all right just as they are, but partial, and often in need of being supplemented or replaced by another. The context of question and answer is a dynamic one, which enables us, and on occasion requires us, to move from one explanation to another. Quite apart from philosophical predilections, we have an urge on occasion to amplify explanations, and a hankering for complete explanations which need no further filling out. It is not metaphysical madness but an entirely normal procedure to seek to go from one explanation to another, better one. There cannot be more than one most fundamental form of explanation. Metaphysicians who think they have found the fundamental form, will have to assimilate, incorporate, reduce, or explain away, all other types of explanation. Metaphysics apart, it is not obvious whether we can have more than one complete explanation of the same thing.

Keywords: partial explanation; complete explanation; metaphysics

Chapter.  2617 words. 

Subjects: Metaphysics

Full text: subscription required

How to subscribe Recommend to my Librarian

Buy this work at Oxford University Press »

Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content. Please, subscribe or login to access all content.