Mechanistic explanation versus deductive-nomological explanation

Foundations of Chemistry 10 (1):39-48 (2008)
Abstract
This paper discusses the important paper by Paul Thagard on the pathway version of mechanistic explanation that is currently used in chemical explanation. The author claims that this method of explanation has a respectable pedigree and can be traced back to the Chemical Revolution in the arguments used by the Lavoisier School in their theoretical duels with Richard Kirwan, the proponent of a revised phlogistonian theory. Kirwan believed that complex chemical reactions could be explained by recourse to affinity tables that catalogued the attraction that various simple bodies possessed towards each other. To explain was in effect to make a delayed prediction, it is not enough just to show how a phenomenon fits into the discernible patterns of the world. Lavoisier, Fourcroy and their colleagues used pathway reasoning, although disguising this fact by suggesting that affinities varied when subjected to n-body situations.
Keywords mechanistic explanation  deductive-nomological explanation  Lavoisier  Kirwan
Categories (categorize this paper)
Options
 Save to my reading list
Follow the author(s)
My bibliography
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Revision history Request removal from index
 
Download options
PhilPapers Archive


Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy on self-archival     Papers currently archived: 9,351
External links
  • Through your library Configure
    References found in this work BETA
    Stuart Glennan (2002). Rethinking Mechanistic Explanation. Proceedings of the Philosophy of Science Association 2002 (3):S342-353.
    Paul Thagard (2003). Pathways to Biomedical Discovery. Philosophy of Science 70 (2):235-254.
    Citations of this work BETA

    No citations found.

    Similar books and articles
    Analytics

    Monthly downloads

    Added to index

    2009-01-28

    Total downloads

    83 ( #12,586 of 1,088,370 )

    Recent downloads (6 months)

    2 ( #42,603 of 1,088,370 )

    How can I increase my downloads?

    My notes
    Sign in to use this feature


    Discussion
    Start a new thread
    Order:
    There  are no threads in this forum
    Nothing in this forum yet.