Here’s another IAI video on Explaining the Inexplicable: it honestly doesn’t have much to do with consciousness but today, for reasons I can’t quite put my finger on, it felt appropriate…
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Nancy Cartwright says there are those who like the “Big Explainers”; theories that offer to explain everything: then there are those who cherish mystery: she situates herself in the middle somewhere – the ‘Missouri’ position. We know that some things can be explained, so let’s see what you got.
Piers Corbyn thinks the incomplete Enlightenment project has been undone by a fondness for grand theories and models (not least over climate change). We need to get back on track, and making scientific falsehood illegal would help.
James Ladyman thinks modern physics has removed the certainty that everything can be explained. Nevertheless, science has succeeded through its refusal to accept that any domain is in principle inexplicable. We should carry on and instead of trying for grand total explanations we should learn to live with partial success.
I don’t know much about this, but I reckon an explanation is an account that, when understood, stops a certain kind of worry. We may notice that most explanations reduce or simplify the buzzing complexity of the world; once we have the explanation we need only worry about a few general laws instead of millions of particles; or perhaps we know we need only worry about a simpler domain to which the original can be reduced. In short, the desire for explanation is akin to the desire for tidiness, or let’s politely call it elegance.