Philosophy of Science 78 (3):333-352 (2011)

Marc Lange
University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill
A conservation law in physics can be either a constraint on the kinds of interaction there could be or a coincidence of the kinds of interactions there actually are. This is an important, unjustly neglected distinction. Only if a conservation law constrains the possible kinds of interaction can a derivation from it constitute a scientific explanation despite failing to describe the causal/mechanical details behind the result derived. This conception of the relation between “bottom-up” scientific explanations and one kind of “top-down” scientific explanation is motivated by several examples from classical and modern physics.
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DOI 10.1086/660299
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References found in this work BETA

The Science of Mechanics. [REVIEW]Ernst Mach - 1903 - Ancient Philosophy (Misc) 13:317.
Laws and Meta-Laws of Nature: Conservation Laws and Symmetries.Marc Lange - 2007 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part B: Studies in History and Philosophy of Modern Physics 38 (3):457-481.
Laws and Meta-Laws of Nature.Marc Lange - 2007 - The Harvard Review of Philosophy 15 (1):21-36.

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Citations of this work BETA

What Makes a Scientific Explanation Distinctively Mathematical?Marc Lange - 2013 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 64 (3):485-511.
Minimal Models and the Generalized Ontic Conception of Scientific Explanation.Mark Povich - 2018 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 69 (1):117-137.

View all 19 citations / Add more citations

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