Friday, April 5, 2019

An argument that there are no non-explanatory facts

A stronger naturalism says:

  1. Every fact is natural.

A seemingly weaker naturalism only says:

  1. Every explanatory fact is natural.

But now I will give an argument that (2) implies (1). I am suspicious of the argument but it is hard to put my finger on why it’s wrong. The argument proceeds by arguing for:

  1. Every fact is explanatory.

(Here, I take “explanatory” to go with partial, not necessarily complete, explanation.)

Here is the argument. Suppose, for a reductio, that there is a non-explanatory fact F. Now, some philosophers believe that there are non-explanatory facts. Suppose Alice is such a philosopher. Since (by assumption) there are non-explanatory facts, Alice correctly believes there are non-explanatory facts. But the obtaining of F partially explains why Alice is correct in her belief that there are non-explanatory facts. Thus, F is explanatory, which is a contradiction. Hence, there are no non-explanatory facts.

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