Coming back to explanation

Posted on February 6, 2008


I find that in my research on superstition I keep coming back to the role played by explanations and keep finding that I simply do not know enough about the psychology of explanation. It appears to me that a very important element of what superstitions are about is related to how superstitious explanations are treated but I can hardly be sure when I am not clear on explanations in general. As it happens, the article on the unnaturalness of science by Robert McCauley that I mentioned the other day is from a book that looks very promising as a crash course in this area. The book is Explanation and Cognition, edited in 2000 by Keil and Wilson, and it includes papers by Herbert Simon, Robert Cummins, Andy Clark, Clark Glymour and Paul Thagard, among others. Luckily for me, the KLI has a copy of it so I now have something to read before going to sleep tonight (as opposed to all of the other things I also have to read before going to sleep tonight!) I most definitely need to read tonight Simon’s paper, though.