Because in particularist normativity paper draft 3 20 02


The Abundant Cause of Because

Matjaž Potrč, University of Ljubljana,


One of the roles of the expression “because” is to give us reasons why facts come into the existence. Reasons are often given by generalities. If particularism concerning normativity is right however, generalities may well figure in explanation of facts, but they do not need to have normative authority. Their normativity is epistemic and it is not metaphysical.


Three examples figuring the expression “because”

(1) There is a fact or an event, the fire. Why did the fire break out? Because John lighted the match in the prairies. How did you spot the fire? You saw the fire.

            The fact here is immediately accessible to you as an observer. You explain the cause that brought about this fact by the appeal to something that is not immediately accessible to you, which you present as a hypothesis. Here is the situation:


            A fact: fire – immediately accessible to you.

            Cause: striking of the match – not immediately accessible, you present it as a hypothesis.


(2) There is a fact concerning an event in the nature: Stone falls to the floor. Why did the stone fall to the floor? Because there exists gravity of the Earth, and all cases of falls obey gravity. How did you see the stone falling to the floor? Well, I observed it.

            You observe the fall of a stone in a direct manner. You explain the cause of the fall of the stone by appeal to the gravity of the Earth that you entertain as a hypothesis:


A fact: stone fall – immediately accessible to you.

            Cause: gravity – not immediately accessible, you present it as a hypothesis.


(3) There is a fact involving your moral action: You helped the old lady cross the street. Why did you do it? Because it is one’s duty to help the old. How did you find out that the old lady needs help? I saw that she could not decide when to cross the street.

            There is an action into which you engage yourself. You explain the cause of your becoming involved into the action by an appeal to something that is not immediately presented to you but that nevertheless seems accessible to you. It is a hypothesis about which you feel confident though. Schematically:


            A fact: helping the old lady – immediately accessible to you.

            Cause: the general principle about the duty of offering help – not immediately accessible, you present it as a hypothesis.


            Consider these cases into some more detail. In (1) we have an event, the fire. The event is explained by another event, John’s striking of the match. The second event is not immediately given to you. Actually, you saw the fire, as something immediately given to your perceptual experience. You referred to the event indicated by “because” as to the hypothesis about what brought the first event into its existence. As this second event was not immediately presented to you, you may have been wrong about your guess what the right hypothesis is. The event may have been produced, unbeknownst to you, by a striking of lightning in the bush.


            A fact: fire – immediately accessible to you.

            Cause: striking of the match – not immediately accessible, you present it as a hypothesis.

            Possible alternatives to the cause: lightning –so the first hypothesis may be misguided.


            In case (2), the event figures a stone falling to the floor. The reason for this event, introduced by “because” is the gravity of the Earth. You did not see the cause or the gravity. You just saw the fall of the stone. Whatever you referred to by “because” is a hypothesis about the cause that is not immediately presented to you. The hypothesized cause – the gravity – is supposed to hold for all the cases of bodies with some mass lesser than the mass of the Earth and finding themselves close enough to the surface of the Earth. Again, you could not have directly observed the feature or the entity introduced by “because”. This is why there exists the possibility that the first given cause is fallible.


A fact: stone fall – immediately accessible to you.

            Cause: gravity – not immediately accessible, you present it as a hypothesis.

            Possibility that the cause, which was given, is fallible.


            Case (3) presents your action of helping old lady cross the street. The event is not explained by another event, but rather by a general principle guiding your action. The principle itself is not immediately presented to you. So you actually form a hypothesis about the existence of this principle, although the principle seems evidently and with an automatic force imposing itself upon your deliberation. What was presented to you was an old lady and you formed the judgment about her needing help in the encountered situation. It does not seem to you at this moment that there may be another possible hypothesis causing your action. But may this nevertheless be a possibility?


            A fact: helping the old lady – immediately accessible to you.

            Cause: the general principle about the duty of offering help – not immediately accessible, you present it as a hypothesis.

            Afterthought about the possible alternatives: Is it possible that general principle is not the cause?


            Some more discussion perhaps needs to be dedicated to these cases. Case (1) figures an event (fire), and this event is explained by the occurrence of another event (striking of the match). You had information about this hypothetical event. You feel empirically justified concerning this information. Perhaps you heard it from somebody you trust. But you may still be wrong about the reason for the first event to appear. It is namely an empirically given reason. In virtue of its empirical nature, it is at least possible that there was another reason responsible for the fire. Seen from this perspective now, the reason introduced by “because” turns out to be fallible. As the inductive probability of the reason being right might be less than 50% or even less than 19% according to the nature of the inductive inference, the reason introduced by “because” may be wrong. But if this is right, then the event introduced by “because” in this case may not be observed as being of the metaphysical, but rather of the epistemic nature. It may be the case that it primarily covers your justificatory means and not the actual cause of the event to be explained.


            A fact: fire – immediately accessible to you.

            Cause: striking of the match – not immediately accessible, you present it as a hypothesis.

            Possible alternatives to the cause: lightning – the first hypothesis may be misguided as a metaphysically grounded one, but it may give support for the epistemic explanation.


            Case (2) figures an event (stone falling), and this event is explained by the general law figuring gravitation. You cannot have direct information about the gravitational law. But you believe in its value because you have heard it from authorities such as your teacher, or even you had occasion to be presented with the empirical experiments designed to confirm the hypothesis about the existence of this principle. It may happen though that the science advances, and that the principle involving gravity is substituted by some not just refined but qualitatively different principle. It may be the case that the former theory was wrong. This just shows that the law figuring gravity is not a priori and that it depends on the empirical circumstances. So it may change. So it is probable only. And its probability may always diminish. So at the end of the day the reason introduced by “because” may not hold at all. The reason may not hold in the metaphysical sense. But it may still hold for me in the sense that I feel justified in believing the reason. So the reason given by “because” in this case as well may be an epistemic one and not an ultimately metaphysical one.


A fact: stone fall – immediately accessible to you.

            Cause: gravity – not immediately accessible, you present it as a general hypothesis.

            Possibility that the cause that was given is fallible – the hypothesis is then misguided as metaphysically grounded one, but it may give support to the epistemic explanation.


            Case (3) figures an action (you helping the old lady). This action is explained by a general principle guiding your actions. The principle may be stated as “Always help those in need”. You do not have any direct empirical information about the existence of some principle like that. But you believe it because you feel that you have the evidence about the principle, not on any empirical basis or on the basis of information obtained from authorities, but on some a priori ground of what you think is certain. And it seems to you that this feeling of you is supported by observation of human behavior. But now consider that there at least exists the possibility that you did not help the old lady because you followed the above-mentioned exceptionless principle. At least it is possible that the principle would not be exceptionless in the sense that it would be followed in all circumstances. At least sometimes it happens that there is this old lady in need of help, but you have some more powerful duty to fulfill, such as saving someone else’s life. Proceeding still further with this direction of thought, you may see that it is at least possible that you did not help the old lady because of the general principle, but because of some other reason. Perhaps you just intuited that the situation was such that you have to do the action you did, without any generally valuable thoughts involved. In this case the reason given by “because” might not have been any real reason at all, but just something about which you feel justified, without any real metaphysical grounding.


A fact: helping the old lady – immediately accessible to you.

            Cause: the general principle about the duty of offering help – not immediately accessible, you present it as a hypothesis.

            Afterthought about the possible alternatives: Is it possible that the general principle is not the cause? It is possible that the event was not caused by the general principle, but only that it is explained by it?


The drunkard

In the former section, we have observed that some reasons given by “because” may not be any metaphysical reasons at all, but that they may turn out to be throughout epistemic reasons. This comes about because of two things. These reasons are not directly accessible to us, in counter distinction to the observed facts about which we have immediate perceptual evidence. These reasons may be probable. But as their probability may diminish, they may end up as not being any reasons at all. But even in this case they may still be just the reasons you seem justified to have, without that they would necessarily have been the reasons that actually did lead to the event or that have caused the event. This is stressed by the drunkard case, presenting a possibly mistaken usage of “because”.


            (D) You observe someone walking around crookedly and stumbling. The guy is drunk. But it is not because of his walking around crookedly and stumbling that he is drunk. He is drunk for other reasons that you cannot immediately observe, such as having drunk five bottles of beer.


It would be wrong to confuse the effect for the cause. Let us apply the analysis that was used in former cases to the situation (D):


A fact: someone walking around crookedly and stumbling – immediately accessible to you by perceptual means.

            Cause: he drank five bottles of beer – not immediately accessible; you may present it as a hypothesis.

            Afterthought about the possible alternatives: Is it possible that there are other causes for his behavior? Yes, he may be ill or injured.


One thing to learn from this is that whatever explanation is given for the behavior observed, this hypothesis or explanation may be fallible and thus it may ultimately turn out to be false.

            The fact to be explained in this situation is the guy’s walking around crookedly and stumbling. This fact may be explained by the hypothesis about the possibly fallible cause of the guy having drunk five bottles. The cause may be fallible for it is always possible that some other cause, such as illness or injury may have contributed to the effect that we witness. But it would certainly be inappropriate to claim that the observed fact of walking crookedly is explanation of the guy’s being drunk. The effect cannot be metaphysical explanation of why the cause came about. But the effect may be perhaps somehow involved into the explanation.

            The idea here is that it goes similarly for general principles in the cases like (3). They cannot be metaphysically grounded explanations and they cannot provide the right “because” for moral acts.

            In a similar sense as his walking around crookedly cannot provide the right “because” about his being drunk, the general principle concerning the duty to help the needy ones may not have been in the basis for my act of helping the old lady. One thing that seems to go against it is the phenomenology of my moral or practical judgment involved into the act. Despite that I tend to explain the reason for my action by an appeal to the general principle, my phenomenology of acting does not feel like involving a general principle at all, but some other kinds of inclinations, such as myself being involved into the situation and just performing what seemed appropriate to me in the circumstances.


The cause is complex

One lesson from the considerations involving the above cases is that the reasons for acting or causes are much more complex than tend to be the accounts of them.

            There may exist a Humean sort of skepticism about causes. We can just observe this event and another event, and perhaps a correlation between kinds of events. But there is no reason for us to suppose the existence of some additional feature such as causality. This kind of property may just be something that we project upon the situation.

            But why would we wish to project something like causality onto the situation? The answer may be along the following lines: Suppose that nevertheless there is a cause. This cause may not be what it seems at the first glance. It may be much more complex as it seems. We can help ourselves with a standard example: What is the cause for the start of the WWI? The shooting of the duke. Zoom in at the mentioned event in a more fine grained direction and the cause for breaking out of the war may turn out to be the bowing of the finger – the finger depressing the mechanism on the pistol that triggered the firing of the bullet. Zoom in at the event on a more coarse grained level and the cause of the WWI may turn out to be an extremely rich background in time including economic, social and cultural situations of several countries and nations involved. Each of these factors involved may again be broken down into several components that are also of an utter complexity. What we have first discerned as the starting cause of the WWI may perhaps quite sooner be just a triggering condition, emerging upon a rich and intertwined complexity of the involved background. This complexity may also introduce the need to discern something tractable as a cause where nothing really and ultimately may exist as a uniquely determinable entity.

            In the considered examples we have seen that the hypotheses about the cause, by their very nature, have the possibility of failure incorporated into them. The cause of the fire may be the striking of the match. But as this is a hypothesis about something that is not directly presented to our observation – contrary to the effects with which we are directly presented – the cause may turn out to figure something else. It may just be that the observed fire was initiated by the lightning. But there may be even a wider field of possibilities open here. All of these possibilities point into the direction of complexity and of over-determination of the unique cause in question. In the case of the stone fall, it is easy to see that the indication of the general law as the cause of the event does not specify all that is involved into this particular event. There is a multiplicity of several forces and contingent factors that determines the fall of this stone to the floor. On the other hand, the explanation with the gravity of the Earth as the unique cause may turn out to be wrong. An alternative theory may explain the same datum, making the actual hypothesis defunct. This shows another way of introducing the complexity in the explanation where there seemed to exist a unique atomistic cause. In the example of my helping the old lady cross the street, the hypothesized unique cause satisfying the “because” was supposed to be given by the appeal to the general principle that supports the duty of being helpful. Here, the consideration in the direction of complexity is even more radical. It may be that my decision to help and the ensuing action was not caused at all by the general principle. It may have been that I just acted very quickly on the basis of my skillful reaction about what is the appropriate thing to do in the circumstances. If we pursue this line, then the richness and the holistic background of my action would come into the foreground of the explanation. This would perhaps already mean that the explanation by the help of a unique cause might be misguided. The “because” of my action would not be a unique general principle, but a rich situation-based complex holistic intertwining of features into which I happen to be involved, including my rich cognitive system and its phenomenology proper to me as an active agent.

            The complex nature of causes was noticed in the literature (see for example Horgan and Tye criticism of Davidson’s token identity theory paper).


The justification is simple

Suppose that what we identify as causes are rich and complex background supported processes indeed, somehow in the direction of the above considerations. This may then serve for an explanation about why the justification of causes may be simple. It has to do with the nature of our cognitive system that is attuned to the simple patterns and to tractable chunks as the reasons that this system gives for something, although this cognitive system may very well be of the intractable and complex nature itself. The justification giving may then tend to be tractable, although the structure implied into the justification having may not be tractable at all. (Compare Henderson and Horgan, Iceberg epistemology). If you are confronted with a situation that is complex and not easy to understand, you will try to discern something of simple and of tractable nature in it. You will expect that this will give you a clue to the understanding of this situation. This is the reason then in the first place why we tend to introduce simple justifications.

            But it is not necessarily the case that simple justifications which we provide completely match the real causes, that is the rich complexity that leads to one event or to the other, such as the fire, the fall of the stone or to a moral act.

            As the explanation with the help of the simple hypothesis will not really be adequate to the rich and intertwined background of what may count as a cause, the explanation is then better just understood at the level where it finds itself: as a justificatory epistemic device. As epistemic justificatory tools, the hypotheses about the striking of the match, about the gravity or about the moral principle are then adequately seen as what they are. It then also turns out that it is wrong to look at these explanatory hypotheses as having some firm metaphysical roots, appropriate for bringing about what the expression “because” introduces in the first three mentioned cases.

            The case of the drunkard makes it salient that one should not confuse epistemic justificatory tools or effects with the real cause, provided that something such as the atomistic cause does exist at all.


The simplicity of justification giving tends to spill over to the explanation

Whereas the justification giving tends to be simple, the justification having may not be simple at all (look at Henderson Horgan Iceberg epistemology paper for the distinction between justification giving and justification having). As already mentioned, this is due to the fact that the structure of the cognitive system that is involved into the justification having is complex, probably along the lines of Dynamical Cognition model (as described by Horgan and Tienson, 1996). Whereas justification giving appears at the output of the cognitive system where quickly available and simple hypotheses designed to undergrid the system’s actual behavior in the ever-varying circumstances are needed.

            This is exactly the case with examples given about what may be provided by an answer embedded into the “because” construction, following the “why” question. Why did the fire break out? Why did the stone fall on the floor? Why did you help the old lady cross the street?

            In all these cases, there are complex metaphysical over-determined causes involved, if we take a closer look at each of the situations. There is possibility that fire is a consequence of the lightening strike. There is a possibility that the gravity explanation is too simplistic and even not correct to be functioning as a real cause. And it may be that my moral act was not supported by any generality at all. But I tend to reply to the above questions almost without hesitation: The fire broke out because of John’s lightening the match. The stone fell on the floor because of the Earth’s gravity. I helped the old lady cross the street because I was following the general exceptionless principle.

            But what am I doing here? Do I really indicate the proper causes, given that these are metaphysically complex underlying background creatures? No. What I do is the following: I am delivering those hypotheses as the simplified accounts of my justification. I am thus not involved into the search for real causes. I am rather involved into several accounts of justification giving for the matters in question.

            This explains why the answers following the expression “because” tend to be simple. They actually present my accounts of what I am giving as justification for believing the explanation. I need to provide a simple account and not engage into the multiple processes of tracking all the complexities of the actual causes.

            This characteristic of the cognitive system to be rich but to have simple outputs is what tends to make explanatory hypotheses as simple as possible. But these epistemic matters are not to be confused with the metaphysical matters. The real causes are not simple at all; they are rather complex.


The cognitive illusion

We obtained the following result. There exists an inclination of the cognitive systems that pushes them, on the side of their outputs, towards the explanation involving generality, thus towards a certain amount of simplification in respect to the real metaphysical nature of what is to be explained. This may happen because of the conceptual or cognitive economy, but this point should not be more as just mentioned right now. Simplification imposes itself because of complexity of what is to be explained, or of what is to be given as the reason for why something to be explained did occur. The real complex cause is at least many times not directly accessible. This is why cognizers are inclined to explain or postulate generality as a cause or again as the reason for an action. But this simplification just cannot ultimately be right. It is a cognitive illusion.

“How did you spot the fire? You saw the fire.” Here is a simple explanation, for the fact is directly accessible to your perceptual inspection.

If you have a fact that is not directly accessible to your inspection, then you tend to form an explanation for it that will figure as simple a form as possible. And generalizations are simple in their forms. So you say: “I helped the old lady cross the street because of the general principle involving the duty of assisting the people in need.” 

This general form of explanation is simple and cognitively surveyable, just as the effect is easily cognitively accessible and surveyable. Simplicity of the general form used for explanation is a pendant to the simplicity of the immediately given directly observed effect.

This does not tend to be the case with the actual cause though. The actual cause is not a simple one. Rather it is complexly structured and intractable. There are several contributing factors to the actual cause. Because it would be hard even to think to give a tractable account of the actual cause, the cognition that is bound towards simplicity in its output effectively requires that something simple be furnished as the cause. And this is the general principle, such as it occurs in the explanation of the case (3): “I helped the old lady because I followed the general principle prescribing the duty of assisting the ones in need.”

But it is indicative that the phenomenology which goes along with the moral judgment betrays incorrectness of such explanation. Deep down in the gut it just does not feel right to claim that I acted for the general reason, as it is indicated in the above explanation. The reason or the cause for acting must have been complex, holistic, intractable – particularist.


            The cognitive illusion and its mechanisms need to be described now. It is a cognitive illusion because it tends to substitute the epistemic justificatory reason for the real cause. We look at the justificatory reason as if it would be the real cause.

            Consider an example of generality such as it figures in the strategy of moral particularism. There is this decision that I make, which happens to be a right decision of helping someone. I say: “The decision was made because of this general principle that is lingering there and that prescribes you to assist others at the occasions your help is needed.”

            But there is this fact that it is not possible to stick to the general principle in all circumstances: there are at least cases of silencing and of overriding. If there is the situation where I can help to save somebody else’s life and the old lady hesitates to cross the street, the complexity of the situation involves both considerations, but one will override the other. And even if I will trade one principle’s weight for the other, I will still act in an appropriate way. Then there will be a ceteris paribus generalization. But it is simply a fact that it is not always possible and necessary to stick to the ceteris paribus generalizations. Is it really the case that I decided how to act in these circumstances in such a way that I consulted the weighting between several exceptionless principles, some of which may happen to get overridden in the context?

            It may just be a fact that I decided to help someone because of my decision to respect this particular situation, on the basis of holistic forces that are active in it. But these causes for my decision are not directly displayed. The holistic nature of these causes makes it quite unlikely for them to be directly displayed. The cause – the rich holistic background of the situation and the rich holistic background of the cognitive system that falls the judgment in the situation – cannot be easily displayed. The reason is their non-codifiable and nontractable nature.

            Because of the real cause’s holistic and non-tractable nature, the explanatory burden tends to be shifted towards generality. But generality is just whatever is displayed as the reason, without necessarily being the actual reason. Generality is just the reason of epistemic justification after the fact (once the deed or the ethical decision was done), without being the actual cause of the fact. Generality is directly accessible to the cognitive agent, and it is therefore given as a cause for that fact.

            Where is the real cause of the fact? The trouble is in that the real cause many times proves to be holistic, as indicated above. And because the real cause of the fact is holistic, it is not easily accessible to the interpreter. It tends to be hidden to the direct inspection of the agent. Now as the real cause is epistemically hidden to the agent or to the interpreter because of its non-codifiable and non-tractable nature, it tends to be substituted by something tractable and projectible: by the general principle. And the general principle certainly is tractable and projectible.

This substitution is exactly a cognitive illusion. Why does it come to this kind of cognitive illusion – substitution of the real cause with the epistemically accessible but causally misguidedly positioned cause? The answer was that the nature of the cognitive system’s output directs it towards easily accessible and tractable examples.

            There is a need to explain the fact F. Between the competing candidates for the explanation of the fact F, there is the tendency for the cognitive system rather to embrace the simpler tractable candidate for the explanation than the nontractable non-codifiable candidate. Notice as an example of the tendency towards simplicity the psychological rule of the thumb 7 plus minus 2. Perhaps the tractable codifiable generality may have some teeth as the explanation, in the sense of rationalization. But certainly general codifiable and tractable principles cannot be the actual cause of explanation.


            Cognitive illusion is thus produced by the fact that there exists a rich cause – or what counts as a cause, but what is actually a rich intertwining of over-determined background, where forces are pushing towards an outcome. It is important to see the “cause” as the matter and as an outcome of dynamic forces and not as an item proposed by an atomistic picture about what a “cause” should be. The main idea is that the cause is not atomistic, but that it is an overdetermined outcome extended over the rich dynamical background.

            The explanation tends to be simple because of the nature of the involved cognitive system. The cognitive system tends to be attracted by simplifications. Perhaps the attraction can be understood in the sense of inclines on the landscape according to the connectionist inspired dynamical cognition picture. (Horgan and Tienson, 1996).

            The reason that there is richness is that the cause is intractable. As we are dealing with intractable richness, it cannot be given as a unique atomistic cause. While the cognitive system is attuned to the unique atomistic causes. This is why it reaches out for simple explanations. But these explanations are just what they are –epistemic explanations. They are not giving back the metaphysical background, or the “cause”. So whatever the “because” as a reason aims at is really complex in its nature, but it is presented as something simple, epistemically digestible and epistemically attuned.

            Let us repeat some facts here: The cause is usually complex. So, it is intractable. But it is cognitively difficult to account for a cause in tractable terms. So, tractable terms of how to put causes are searched for. But these terms as cashed in by “because” are not providing the actual metaphysical conditions: they are delivering just epistemic justifications. So, “because” answers to the why questions are epistemic, and they do not give adequately the metaphysical conditions or the real “causes”.

            The illusion also consists in the fact that you project high standards in justification giving and that those tend to be covered by simple general hypotheses. The idea is here that these simplified hypotheses just offer the epistemic stuff, what an agent believes about a cause, and they do not offer the real metaphysical stuff – specifying what a cause really is.

            Some examples furnished from the area of ontology may be of help. As we entertain some thoughts about the nature of the ultimate ontological questions, normative standards tend to get higher. “Is there just one spatiotemporal world?” is such an ultimate ontological question. It automatically raises standards under which you provide the answers. And it is a fact that the simple hypotheses and higher standards go together well. This may be seen in the just formulated ultimate ontological question about the existence of just one world. The topics of this question is a higher standard ontological one, and it is couched in as simple a hypothetical form as possible. On the other hand, the less tight standards and complicated complex descriptions go together as well. “Is there a cat sitting there?” This question is attuned to the topics proper to the regional ontology. And this is why the ontological standards become less tight in it. The ultimate questions are off the track. We can feel more relaxed.


            Let us take a look at the topics of cognitive illusion in the case of particularism. Particularism is the view in moral theory that uses as relaxed approach as possible in the area of normative standards. In fact, according to particularism, there is no real role for ultimate ethical standards, such as those that may be formulated with the help of the general ethical principles. Each case is utterly particular, without that it would involve general patterns and projectibility. Generalism on the other hand, which is opposed to the particularism, uses these general exceptionless and simply statable principles. It thus employs high standards and those standards themselves impose high normative expectations on the area. Particularism as its opposed pole respects richness and intractability as it stays with its relaxed standards. The holistic situation of the case comes into the foreground then. Particularist normativity is attuned along these lines. Particularism implies holism, richness of moral situations and richness of cognition. Each situation is particular for it and there is no projectability.

            Epistemic normativity (Haney and Stark) is an integral part of the particularist approach using less strict norms. There is no normative authority of the general for particularism, although there may exist generalities (Tienson, Dancy). This means that the particularist will not deny generalities, but she will deny the normative authority of the generalities. One way to do this goes in a natural way as follows: Allow generalities just as the after the fact matters, in the form of explanations. You did not do this because of what figures in the explanation. The because angle is important for determining of normative authority. The idea is that there is confusion between the explanation and between the cause.

            “He walks crookedly and stumbles around” explains why he is drunk. But it is no cause or reason why he is drunk. He is drunk because of having intoxicated himself with the alcohol.

            Notice that cause is hidden to the interpreter’s direct access in this case. From the cognitive point of view, it is not directly given, it is not tractable. There would be some effort of the cognitive agent to track the actual cause. But there is another way out for the interpreter: to take whatever is observed as the real cause. But in this case the interpreter will fall prey to the confusion between the explanation and the real cause. Whereas explanation is epistemic, the real cause rather belongs to the metaphysics.     


Generalities have an epistemic role

A recognized fact is that the generalities are not disputed by particularists (Little), but they have just epistemic and not any metaphysical weight. The explanation of cognitive illusion proposed here may perhaps help to explain why generalities are epistemic.




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