20 November 2018: Francesca Poggiolesi

A proof-theoretical approach to non-causal explanations: complexity as the key to directionality

AbstractThe concept of explanation has long being the object of deep and wide philosophical debates. In particular the notion of causal explanation has for decades dominated the general attention. Beside the literature on causal explanation, in recent years another type of explanation has gained attention, namely those explanations that Mancosu (2008) calls explanations in mathematics, but that have also been called, in a broader way, non-causal explanations (e.g. see Lange (2016); Lipton (2004)). The main aim of this paper is to propose a novel account of non-causal explanations. The account has two distinctive features: on the one hand, it adopts a proof-theoretical perspective on non-causal explanations; on the other hand, it draws upon and revitalizes a long and illustrious philosophical tradition, astonishingly quite neglected today.