Colloquium: March 3rd

Title: "Salience and Metaphysical Explanation"

Speaker: Dr. Philip Corkum 

Friday, March 3rd at 3:30pm CLE A203 (Please note the time change from 2:30pm to 3:30pm)


Some properties are distributed over an extension. For example, the property of being polka-dotted white on red, when instantiated, is distributed over a surface. Similar properties have been put to work in a variety of explanatory tasks in recent metaphysics, including: giving to presentists truthmakers for past claims; giving to priority monists an account of basic heterogeneous entities; and giving to friends of extended simples an explanation of how an extended simple can enjoy qualitative variation. These kinds of explanatory roles are often thought to involve a distinctively metaphysical kind of explanation. Unlike epistemic explanation, metaphysical explanation is commonly held to be insensitive to our interests, purposes and background beliefs. The explanatory tasks assigned to distributional properties, however, draws into question how best to characterize this distinction between metaphysical and epistemic explanation.