A Plea for Inexplicability


  • David Weinberger Independent scholar




AI, Interpretability, Explicability, Philosophy, Chaos


Explanations have long played a crucial role in the west’s metaphysics of control by providing levers by which we exercise control, but also by grounding our assumption that we are the legitimate and rightful masters of the world. Within this metaphysics, inexplicability looks like a failure. But machine learning may be teaching us a different lesson: Explicability is not a property of the universe, but inexplicability is. In short, the world is the ultimate black box. Accepting this may lessen our one-sided commitment to the general rules, principles, and laws that make western-style mastery seem possible. We may instead be entering a time when we are willing to value the particular at least as much as the general, and can embrace the hiddenness of the universe that grounds all that shows itself to us.


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How to Cite

Weinberger, D. (2022). A Plea for Inexplicability. Sociologica, 16(3), 29–35. https://doi.org/10.6092/issn.1971-8853/15296