David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
Learn more about PhilPapers
Foundations of Chemistry 6 (1):13-43 (2004)
This essay addresses issues concerningexplanation by exploring how explanatorystructures function within contemporarychemistry. Three examples are discussed:explanations of the behavior of gases using theideal gas law, explanations of trends inchemical properties using the periodic table,and explanations of molecular geometry usingdiagrammatic orbital schemes. In each case,the general explanatory structure, rather thanparticular explanations, occupies center stagein the analysis. It is argued that thisquasi-empirical investigation may be morefruitful than previous analyses that attempt toisolate the essential features of individualexplanations. There are two reasons for thisconclusion, each discussed in some detail. First, the traditional analyses rely on highlyprecarious reasoning. Second, empiricallygrounded investigations provide a more naturalconnection to the core aim of analyses ofexplanation, namely to provide a rationale forthe widely expressed preference for explanatorytheories in science.
|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
Nalini Bhushan (2007). What is a Chemical Property? Synthese 155 (3):293 - 305.
Similar books and articles
Elizabeth Valentine (1988). Teleological Explanations and Their Relation to Causal Explanation in Psychology. Philosophical Psychology 1 (1):61-68.
Angela Potochnik (2010). Levels of Explanation Reconceived. Philosophy of Science 77 (1):59-72.
Anya Plutynski (2004). Explanation in Classical Population Genetics. Philosophy of Science 71 (5):1201-1214.
W. M. Goodwin (2008). Structural Formulas and Explanation in Organic Chemistry. Foundations of Chemistry 10 (2):117-127.
Erik Weber & Jeroen Van Bouwel (2002). Symposium on Explanations and Social Ontology 3: Can We Dispense with Structural Explanations of Social Facts? Economics and Philosophy 18 (2):259-275.
Lawrence Sklar (1973). Statistical Explanation and Ergodic Theory. Philosophy of Science 40 (2):194-212.
Till Grüne-Yanoff (2009). The Explanatory Potential of Artificial Societies. Synthese 169 (3):539 - 555.
Andrea I. Woody (2004). More Telltale Signs: What Attention to Representation Reveals About Scientific Explanation. Philosophy of Science 71 (5):780-793.
Stephen J. Weininger (2004). Response to ``Telltale Signs: What Common Explanatory Strategies in Chemistry Reveal About Explanation Itself''. Foundations of Chemistry 6 (1):45-48.
Added to index2009-01-28
Total downloads23 ( #81,487 of 1,139,861 )
Recent downloads (6 months)7 ( #28,326 of 1,139,861 )
How can I increase my downloads?