Scientific Theories: Closing The Circle

Part of the Boston Studies in The Philosophy of Science book series (BSPS, volume 173)

Though measurement and the discovery of empirical laws presuppose the adoption of an epistemological realism, they leave untouched that aspect of realitywhich empiricists have been most concerned to avoid, namely causes that are actually productive of their effects. In the belief that such causes are truly unknowable, empiricists have either forbidden their investigation, or replaced them with ‘causes’ that are simply manifestations of the principle of the uniformity of nature, i.e. constant conjunctions. The aspect of modern science we shall consider now is precisely that which investigates the nature of real causes, and it is thus fundamentally realist in its orientation. In its paradigmatic form it involves the construction of theories intended to explain empirical laws by indicating both the regular causes underlying them, as well as how those causes operate in such a way as to be contiguous with their effects.


Causal Relation Modern Science Causal Power Empirical Regularity Constant Conjunction 
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© Springer 2007

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