Explanation, Relevance, and Understanding

We are happy to announce a workshop on Explanation, Relevance, and Understanding, to take place June 1 via Zoom.

Theme: What makes information relevant to explain why something is the case? Many objections to classical accounts such as the DN account, the SR account, and simple causal accounts is that they falsely predict irrelevant information to be explanatorily relevant. But how shall we approach the topic of explanatory relevance if not in terms of causes, laws, or statistical patterns? In view of the recent interest in the notion of understanding, a promising idea is that information is explanatory relevant only if it helps to understand why a given phenomenon occurred. For instance, only those parts of the causal history of an event that contribute to understanding why the event occurred are explanatorily relevant. This exciting suggestion gives rise to a number of challenges relating, among other things, to the alleged objectivity of explanation and the connection between explanation and epistemic virtues.
The present workshop gathers experts on the topic of explanation and understanding to present their newest work on the issue.


3:00pm Finnur Dellsén (University of Iceland): Gaining Understanding

4:45pm Angela Potochnik (University of Cincinnati): It’s All Relevant

6:30pm Kareem Khalifa (Middlebury College): Teasing Apart Explanatory Relevance

Attendance is free, but please send an email to hamburgrelevance@gmail.com if you want to attend.