Philosophy of Explanation

The second part of the project aims at developing a systematic understanding of ‘because’-statements. Thereby, the project is meant to close a surprising and somewhat embarrassing gap in the philosophy of language and logic: While the literature on conditionals, for instance, is vast and most aspects of conditionals are discussed in much detail, the connective ‘because’ – though at least as important to philosophical reasoning as ‘if’ – still awaits similar philosophical attention. The connective has mainly been discussed in contributions from the philosophy of science. Such contributions mostly had a limited focus, and the investigation of the semantics of ‘because’ were often a by-product of general discussions of explanation.

In this project, the examination of ‘because’ will be carried out as a project in the philosophy of language and formal logic. To make the task more manageable, we will investigate the function of ‘because’ from different perspectives, and employ insights from further developed debates in the philosophy of language. In particular, subprojects will be concerned with

  1. Pragmatics versus semantics of ‘because’-statements
  2. Modality and ‘because’
  3. The connection between conditionals and ‘because’-statements
  4. Relevance logic and ‘because’.
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