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Explanatory Exclusion and the Intensionality of Explanation

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Abstract

Ausonio Marras has argued that Jaegwon Kim's principle of explanatory exclusion depends on an implausibly strong interpretation of explanatory realism that should be rejected because it leads to an extensional criterion of individuation for explanations. I examine the role explanatory realism plays in Kim's justification for the exclusion principle and explore two ways in which Kim can respond to Marras's criticism. The first involves separating criteria for explanatory truth from questions of explanatory adequacy, while the second appeals to Kim's fine-grained theory of events. I argue that the first response is unconvincing on its own but when coupled with the second might provide a viable way for Kim to avoid Marras's criticism. However, I show that the second strategy is weak from a polemical point of view because Kim's theory of events already assumes what the principle of explanatory exclusion was introduced to establish: the falsity of nonreductive physicalism.

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