Grounding, explanation, and multiple realization in mathematics and ethics

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Abstract

According to a popular ‘explanationist’ argument for moral or mathematical realism the best explanation of some phenomena are moral or mathematical, and this implies the relevant form of realism. One popular way to resist the premiss of such arguments is to hold that any supposed explanation provided by moral or mathematical properties is in fact provided only by the non-moral or non-mathematical grounds of those properties. Many realists have responded to this objection by urging that the explanations provided by the higher-level, moral and mathematical, properties are informative in a way in which their supposed replacements are not, and that this is because moral and mathematical properties are multiply realizable. This chapter responds to this manoeuvre by proposing a way in which moral and mathematical explanations might preserve the distinctive import that multiple realizability brings, without committing those who accept them to the existence of moral and mathematical properties.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationExplanation in Ethics and Mathematics
Subtitle of host publicationDebunking and Dispensability
EditorsNeil Sinclair, Uri Liebowitz
Place of PublicationOxford
PublisherOxford University Press
Pages168-194
ISBN (Print)9780198778592
Publication statusPublished - 2016

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