David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
Learn more about PhilPapers
Philosophy of Science 38 (4):542-561 (1971)
A serious problem for covering law explanation is raised and its consequences for the Hempelian theory of explanation are discussed. The problem concerns an intensional feature of explanations, involving the manner in which theoretical law statements are related to the events explained. The basic problem arises because explanations are not of events but of events under descriptions; moreover, in a sense, our linguistic descriptions outrun laws. One form of the problem, termed the problem of weak intensionality, is apparently solved by a simple logical move, but in fact the problem arises in a new, strong form. It is found that Hempel's model for deductive explanation (to which this discussion is confined) requires modification to handle the weak intensionality problem but then is faced with the problem of strong intensionality. In consequence, it is suggested that Hempel's important concept of explanation sketch is not as widely applicable as usually claimed, especially for explanations in the behavioral and social sciences and history. Reason is found to reject the covering law thesis that every scientific explanation must contain at least one law statement. An important feature of the discussion is that some of the main reasons given for altering the deductive model and for considering other forms of explanation are internal to the covering law theory
|Keywords||No keywords specified (fix it)|
|Categories||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
W. A. Suchting (1967). Deductive Explanation and Prediction Revisited. Philosophy of Science 34 (1):41-52.
Andreas Frings (2007). Rationales Handeln Und Historische Erklärung. Journal for General Philosophy of Science 38 (1):31 - 56.
Robert C. Cummins (2000). "How Does It Work" Versus "What Are the Laws?": Two Conceptions of Psychological Explanation. In F. Keil & Robert A. Wilson (eds.), Explanation and Cognition, 117-145. MIT Press.
Philip Kitcher (1981). Explanatory Unification. Philosophy of Science 48 (4):507-531.
Stanley Paluch (1968). The Covering Law Model of Historical Explanation. Inquiry 11 (1-4):368 – 387.
Laird Addis (1981). Dispositions, Explanation, and Behavior. Inquiry 24 (2):205 – 227.
Fritz Rohrlich (1994). Scientific Explanation: From Covering Law to Covering Theory. PSA: Proceedings of the Biennial Meeting of the Philosophy of Science Association 1994:69 - 77.
Michael Martin (1968). Situational Logic and Covering Law Explanations in History. Inquiry 11 (1-4):388 – 399.
Added to index2009-01-28
Total downloads13 ( #113,463 of 1,096,391 )
Recent downloads (6 months)1 ( #224,935 of 1,096,391 )
How can I increase my downloads?