[Next Workshop] Non-Causal Explanations: Logical, Linguistic and Philosophical Perspectives


Date: 9-10 May 2019

Organization: the Centre for Logic and Philosophy of Science (Ghent University) and Department of Philosophy and Religious Studies (Utrecht)

Workshop chairs: Federico Faroldi (Ghent), Johannes Korbmacher (Utrecht) & Erik Weber (Ghent).

Local organising team: Thijs De Coninck, Federico Faroldi, Stef Frijters, Kristian Gonzalez Barman, Karina Makhnev, Erik Weber & Dietlinde Wouters.


Many disciplines, from mathematics to metaphysics, employ non-causal explanations. But what is the logic (or the logics) of non-causal explanation? What are
the pros and cons of different logical approaches? Is the linguistic expression of non-causal explanation specifically codified in some natural language? Can algorithms pick up non-causal explanations in textual databases? The workshop welcomes formal and informal contributions both from within specific disciplines employing non-causal explanations and from a more general perspective. Topics include, but are not limited to the following:

  • Is non-causal explanation hyperintensional?
  • Among the axioms governing the logical behaviour of non-causal explanation are there factivity, symmetry, associativity ones?
  • What is the relation between non-causal explanation and concepts in its vicinity (causal explanation, understanding, …)?
  • What is the relation between non-causal explanation in general and metaphysical grounding in particular? Can (one of) the logics of grounding be applied to non-causal explanation in general?
  • Are some explanations in the natural sciences (physics, chemistry, biology, ….)  really non-causal?

Keynote speakers

Hannes Leitgeb (Ludwig-Maximilans-Universität München)

Francesca Poggiolesi (Université de Paris 1 Panthèon-Sorbonne)

Erik Weber (Universiteit Gent)

Abstract submission

We welcome submissions on any topic that fits into the scope as described above. Send your abstract of 300 to 500 words to: lrr@ugent.be before 1 February 2019. Notification of acceptance: 1 March 2019.


Day 1 (Thursday 9 May))

09.30-09.30       Registration

09.30-10.40        Hannes Leitgeb (Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München), TBA

10.40-11.00          Coffee Break

11.00-11.45           Leen De Vreese (Ghent University), The Pragmatics of Explanation and its Relevance for Explainable AI (in Healthcare).

11.45-12.30          Lukáš Zámečník (Palacký University in Olomouc), Functional Linguistic Explanations..

12.30-13.30         Lunch Break

13.30-14.15          Fabio Sterpetti (Sapienza University of Rome), Non-Causal Explanations of Natural Phenomena and Naturalism.

14.15-15.00          Erlantz Etxberria Altuna (University of Western Ontario), When Causal and Non-Causal Explanations Compete against Each Other .                       

15.00-15.30         Coffee Break

15.30-16.15          Elanor Taylor (John Hopkins University), Backing without Realism

16.15-17.00          Silvia Bianchi (Universty School of Advanced Studies Pavia), Metaphysical Explanation in Scientific Weak Structuralism (WS): a Non-Foundationalist

                           Conception of Grounding


19:00                   Worskhop diner at XXX


Day 2 (Friday 10 May)

10.00-11.10        Erik Weber (Ghent University), Against ‘Distinctively Mathematical’ Explanations of Physical Facts.

10.10-11.30        Coffee Break

11.30-12.15        Jon Erling Litland (University of Texas at Austin), Real Definition, Opacity, and Ground.

12.15-13.00        Joke Meheus (Ghent University), “Because Ann melted, she did not put the butter in the fridge”. What the logical study of Dutch causal connectives can

                         teach for the study of non-causal explanation

13.00-14.00        Lunch Break

14.00-14.45        Joachim Frans (Free University of Brussels – VUB), Mathematical Explanation and Mathematical Concepts

14.45-15.30        Atoosa Kasirzadeh (University of Toronto), Can Mathematics Really Make a Difference?    

15.30-16.30        Coffee Break

16.00-17.10        Francesca Poggiolesi (Université de Paris 1 Panthèon-Sorbonne), TBA


17:30                  Drinks at a local pub


Royal Academy of Dutch Language and Literature (KANTL), Koningstraat 18, Ghent, Belgium.


Registration is possible by sending an email to KristianCampbell.GonzalezBarman@ugent.be. The registration fee is 50€ and has to be paid in cash at the registration desk. Coffee, lunches and the workshop dinner are included in this fee.

Book of abstracts