Advertisement

Synthese

, Volume 81, Issue 3, pp 271–282 | Cite as

The Born-Einstein debate: Where application and explanation separate

  • Nancy Cartwright
Article

Abstract

Application in science has its own structure, distinct from the structure of theoretical science, and therefore needs its own philosophy. The covering power of a formal scientific theory is no guide to its explanatory power. Explanation is too much to ask of a fundamental scientific theory. This is seen by considering two strands of the Born-Einstein debate: first the explanatory power of quantum mechanics and second, the reality of unobserved properties. The function of theoretical physics is to describe rather than to explain. Some techniques are a standard part of theory; while some aread hoc to the problems at hand. Very few of the derivations in mathematical physics are explanatory. This shows distinctly separate structures for theory and for application.

Keywords

Quantum Mechanic Mathematical Physic Theoretical Physic Explanatory Power Scientific Theory 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

Preview

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 1989

Authors and Affiliations

  • Nancy Cartwright
    • 1
  1. 1.Stanford UniversityStanfordU.S.A.

Personalised recommendations