Erkenntnis

, Volume 44, Issue 1, pp 1–23 | Cite as

Explaining, understanding and scientific theories

  • Erik Weber
Article

Abstract

One of the functions of scientific knowledge is to provide the theories and laws we need in order to understand the world. My article deals with the epistemic aspect of understanding, i.e., with understanding as unification. The aim is to explicate what we have to do in order to make our scientific knowledge contribute to an increase of the degree to which the particular events we have observed, fit into our world-picture. The analysis contains two parts. First I define the concept of scientific epistemic explanation. Explanations of these type are the appropriate instruments for increasing the degree of unification of the particular events we have observed. In the second, largest part of the article I analyze the construction process of scientific epistemic explanations, focusing on the application of scientific theories.

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References

  1. Hardin, G.: 1966, Biology. Its Principles and Implications (Second Edition), W.H. Freedman & Co, San Francisco and London.Google Scholar
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  3. Kitcher, P.: 1989, ‘Explanatory Unification and the Causal Structure of the World’, in P. Kitcher and W. Salmon, (eds.), Scientific Explanation, University of Minnesota Press, Minneapolis, pp. 283–306.Google Scholar
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  6. Stansfield, W.: 1983, Theory and Problems of Genetics (Second Edition), McGraw-Hill Book Company, New York.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 1996

Authors and Affiliations

  • Erik Weber
    • 1
  1. 1.Vakgroep Wijsbegeerte-MoraalwetenschappenUniversiteit GentGentBelgium

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