Idealizations and concretizations in laws and explanations in physics

The paper tries to provide an alternative to Hempel’s approach to scientific laws and scientific explanation as given in his D-N model. It starts with a brief exposition of the main characteristics of Hempel’s approach to deductive explanations based on universal scientific laws and analyzes the problems and paradoxes inherent in this approach. By way of solution, it analyzes the scientific laws and explanations in classical mechanics and then reconstructs the corresponding models of explanation, as well as the types of scientific laws appearing in it. Finally, it compares this reconstruction with the approaches of J. Woodward and C. Hitchcock, C. Liu and with the views of M. Thalos on analytic mechanics.
Keywords D-N model  Underlying structure  Initial conditions  Idealizations  Modification conditions  Explanation by gradual concretization  Phenomena as appearances/manifestations  Laws of appearances/manifestations  General/singular appearances/manifestations  Humean type causal law  Idealized type of a law  Scientific laws of the causal type  C. G. Hempel  J. Woodward  C. Hitchcock  C. Liu  M. Thalos
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DOI 10.2307/40390658
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Carl G. Hempel (1966). Philosophy of Natural Science. Englewood Cliffs, N.J.,Prentice-Hall.

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