Covering law explanation

Philosophy of Science 38 (4):542-561 (1971)
Abstract
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)
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: 11,085
External links
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
Analytics

Monthly downloads

Added to index

2009-01-28

Total downloads

13 ( #121,151 of 1,101,660 )

Recent downloads (6 months)

1 ( #292,019 of 1,101,660 )

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.