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Explaining Laws by Reduction

  • Erik Weber
Chapter
Part of the Synthese Library book series (SYLI, volume 320)

Abstract

Scientific explanations have been intensively studied by philosophers of science during the last five decades. Explanations of laws did not receive as much attention as explanations of particular facts. In this article, I present a model for one type of explanations of laws: reductions of laws to phenomena at a micro-level. Examples of such reductions can be found in the natural sciences (the ideal gas law is probably the most famous example here) and in the social sciences (e.g., reduction of macroeconomic laws to the behaviour of individual economic agents).

Keywords

Reduction Model Aggregation Step Transformation Step Reductive Explanation Ontological Claim 
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.

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References

  1. Hempel, C. G. (1965). Aspects of Scientific Explanation and Other Essays in the Philosophy of Science. The Free Press, New York.Google Scholar
  2. Hausman, D. M. (1998). Causal Asymmetries. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Humphreys, P. (1989). The Chances of Explanation. Princeton University Press, New Jersey.Google Scholar
  4. Mackie, J. (1974). The Cement of the Universe. Clarendon Press, Oxford.Google Scholar
  5. Weber, E. (1998). The practical functions and epistemology of causal beliefs. Communication Cognition, 31: 297–324.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2003

Authors and Affiliations

  • Erik Weber
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of PhilosophyGhent UniversityBelgium

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