Explaining the Past, Predicting the Future
This chapter discusses a unique perspective on the processes of explanation and prediction. The major features of the folk-conceptual theory of explanation are explained in order to develop new ideas about the temporal dimension of explanation. Then, the three layers of the theory are introduced and applied to an analysis of temporal aspects of explanation. The theory's first and fundamental layer describes the conceptual framework that underlies behavior explanations. The second layer of the folk-conceptual theory concerns the psychological processes that govern the actual construction of explanations. The third layer of the theory identifies the specific linguistic forms speakers have available in their language to express behavior explanations. It is claimed that explanations and predictions overlap to a considerable extent because they share a number of cognitive processes — processes that support the agent's attempt to construct the judgment at issue, whether it be an explanation or a prediction.
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