Uniqueness and historical laws

Philosophy of Science 47 (2):260-276 (1980)

Evan Fales
University of Iowa
This paper presents an argument for the claim that historical events are unique in a nontrivial sense which entails the inapplicability of the Hempelian D-N model to historical explanations. Some previous criticisms of Hempel are shown to be general criticisms of the D-N model which can be outflanked in cases where a reduction to fundamental laws is available. I then survey grounds for denying that explanations by reasons can be effectively reduced to causal explanations, and for rejecting methodological individualism. I conclude with some positive remarks concerning the structure of historical explanations and sense in which historical events are unique.
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DOI 10.1086/288932
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Laws and Natural History in Biology.Wim J. van der Steen & Harmke Kamminga - 1991 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 42 (4):445-467.
A Theory of Historiography as a Pre-Science.Aviezer Tucker - 1993 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 24 (4):633-667.
Reasons, Causes, and the 'Strong Programme' in the Sociology of Knowledge.Warren Schmaus - 1985 - Philosophy of the Social Sciences 15 (2):189-196.

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