Filozofia Nauki 89 (1):5-26 (2015)

Abstract
The paper clarifies the role of idealizations in the formulation of scientific laws and scientific explanations. It starts with a differentiation between idealization, abstraction, and ceteris paribus clauses. Next, it provides a differentiated typology of idealizations and shows how the various types of idealization can be made more precise by approaching them from the point of view of their role and place in scientific laws and scientific explanations. Then it provides a model for such laws and explanations which corresponds to the practice of empirical sciences. Based on this, it dispels the myth that the “end”-point of explanations in terms of idealized laws should be factual laws in the sense assigned to them by logical empiricists. Finally, it delineates the inner boundaries beyond which the model cannot be applied any more as a tool for the analysis and explication of idealizations as they occur in scientific laws and explanations in empirical sciences.
Keywords idealization  de-idealization  ceteris paribus clauses  idealized laws  scientific explanation
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