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The Proceedings of the Twentieth World Congress of Philosophy

Volume 2, 1999


Brian Loar
Pages 99-104

Should the Explanatory Gap Perplex Us?

In what follows, I argue that the disturbing effect of the explanatory gap arises from an illusion, an implicit expectation that all “direct grasps of the essence” of a property are achieved by a homogeneous concept-forming faculty. But there is no such faculty. The truth is that our concepts form a mixed bag, drawing on experiential states, verbal conceptions, theoretical conceptual roles, and other concept-making factors. It should not be too surprising then if some pairs of concepts, even when they directly capture the same essence, are not conceptually convertible. That would place conceptual—psychological—limits on explanation.

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