Friday, July 19, 2013

Brute facts and explanations

I've been mulling over an axiom I've come up with (at least, I think it's original), but I welcome thoughts on it.

Axiom: For any brute fact f1, if f1 is capable of explaining some other fact f2, then f1 possibly has an explanation.

The axiom appears to have intuitive support, but I'm looking for more than that.  If we consider that f1 stands in some sort of explanatory relationships, then is it not a double-standard to say that while f1 can explain f2, f1's being explained is impossible?


  1. I do not really understand this. To my knowledge a brute fact is a fact that cannot be explained, so to say that f1 is a brute fcat and f1 can possibly have an explanation seems like a contradiction to me.
    I think you' better rephrase your axiom to," For any fact f1 ..." instead od "For any brute fact f1..."

  2. I'm using the term in the sense that a brute fact is a fact that has no explanation, not a fact that cannot possibly have an explanation. The latter is then an open question. Granted, some people do use "brute fact" as a description of a fact that cannot possibly be explained.

  3. Basically, I want to make it clear that f1 may be unexplained in the actual world, but is explained in some possible world. Instead of "brute fact," you could say, "unexplained fact."