David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
Learn more about PhilPapers
It has become increasingly clear that natural phenomena cannot be formally deduced from laws but that almost every phenomenon has its own particular way of being linked to higher-level generalizations, usually via approximations, normalizations and corrections. This article deals with the following problem: if there are no general principles to link laws to phenomena, and if each phenomenon has its own way of being explained, how can we -- or how can a theory -- explain any new phenomenon? I will argue that while particular explanations only apply to the specific phenomena they describe, parts of such explanations can be productively reused in explaining new phenomena. This leads to a view on theory, which I call maximalism, according to which new phenomena are understood in terms of previous phenomena. On the maximalist view, a theory is not a system of axioms or a class of models, but a dynamically updated corpus of explanations. New phenomena are explained by combining fragments of explanations of previous phenomena. I will give an instantiation of this view, based on a corpus of phenomena from classical and fluid mechanics, and show that the maximalist approach is not only used but also needed in scientific practice.
|Keywords||No keywords specified (fix it)|
No categories specified
(categorize this paper)
Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
|Through your library||
References found in this work BETA
No references found.
Citations of this work BETA
No citations found.
Similar books and articles
James W. McAllister (1997). Phenomena and Patterns in Data Sets. Erkenntnis 47 (2):217-228.
Uljana Feest (2011). What Exactly is Stabilized When Phenomena Are Stabilized? Synthese 182 (1):57-71.
Daniel C. Dennett (1996). Seeing is Believing--Or is It? In Kathleen Akins (ed.), [Book Chapter]. Oxford University Press. 158-172.
Margaret Morrison (2006). Emergence, Reduction, and Theoretical Principles: Rethinking Fundamentalism. Philosophy of Science 73 (5):876-887.
Paul Thagard & Abninder Litt (2008). Models of Scientific Explanation. In Ron Sun (ed.), The Cambridge Handbook of Computational Psychology. Cambridge University Press. 549--564.
William Harper (1990). Newton's Classic Deductions From Phenomena. PSA: Proceedings of the Biennial Meeting of the Philosophy of Science Association 1990:183 - 196.
Brigitte Falkenburg (2011). What Are the Phenomena of Physics? Synthese 182 (1):149-163.
Malcolm R. Forster (2010). Miraculous Consilience of Quantum Mechanics. In Ellery Eells & James Fetzer (eds.), The Place of Probability in Science. Springer. 201--228.
Rens Bod (2006). Towards a General Model of Applying Science. International Studies in the Philosophy of Science 20 (1):5 – 25.
Added to index2009-01-28
Total downloads7 ( #203,831 of 1,413,279 )
Recent downloads (6 months)1 ( #154,925 of 1,413,279 )
How can I increase my downloads?