Take Pruss’ definition of the principle of sufficient reason: every contingent fact has an explanation. Now, given my last post on showing what a term means, we can use the principle of sufficient reason as a test case. More specifically, we will look at the word explanation.
So explanation has been taken to be synonymous with cause. Thus: every contingent fact has a cause. If that is true, then since libertarian free choices, they violate the principle of sufficient reason. However, it seems like my libertarian choice really is explained by the following facts: I exist, I have libertarian freedom, and I have certain reasons to make the choice I do. And so a casewise view of explaining a term would show that definition of “explanation” to be false. Moreover, the same sort of thing also seems to hold for certain interpretations of quantum mechanics.
So what we have done here is start off with a definition and then used real life examples to see if that definition works. This is the strategy I suggested in the post above. The final part of the strategy is to give a new definition of the term. Maybe it is this: a contingent fact is explained if given the facts that are proposed as the explanation of the fact trying to be explained, it is no longer seen as mysterious how the fact that is trying to be explained obtains.