The purpose of this paper is to give a semantical analysis of why-questions. Why-questions will be construed as requests for knowledge. Special attention will be paid to considering what the conditions for conclusive answerhood are in the case of why-questions. Since explanations can often be thought of as answers to why-questions, we also discuss some topics in the theory of explanation.
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This study was supported by the Academy of Finland (Valtion humanistinen toimikunta) and by NSF grant No. IST-8310936 (Information Science and Technology), principal investigators Jaakko Hintikka and C. J. B. Macmillan. Scholarships from the Emil Aaltonen Foundation and the Finnish Academy of Sciences (Suomalainen Tiedeakatemia) are gratefully acknowledged.