Abstract Maurin

Anna-Sofia Maurin (Gothenburg University):

The Anatomy of Metaphysical Explanation 

In this presentation I argue, first, that an account of the nature of metaphysical explanation should start with metaphysical explanation and not with grounding. I argue, second, that once grounding and metaphysical explanation have been properly disentangled, both what I call worldly unionism and what I call representational unionism come across as really rather unattractive and that, therefore, explanation is most likely best understood along separatist lines. In the literature, almost all focus has been on what I call worldly separatism. Once grounding and metaphysical explanation have been properly disentangled, however, we can see more clearly that there exists yet another kind of separatism that deserves our attention:representational separatism. Representational separatism is the view that metaphysical explanations are representational states tracking (other) representational/non-worldly relational states. Just like representational unionism, representational separatism is hence anti-realist about explanation. Anti-realism about explanation is an increasingly popular view these days. According to some, a point in anti-realism’s favor is that it’s cheap. I argue, finally, that if the best version of anti-realism about metaphysical explanation is representational separatist, we ‘owe’ an account of the representational structures such explanations track. Pace those who think anti-realism is cheap this is a cost that whoever defends the account must be able to pay. Whether it is a cost equal to that holding a realist view on the nature of metaphysical explanation incurs is a question I will leave for another occasion.