The Principle-Theory-Law Model Of Scientific Explanation

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

Modern science has two basic tasks: one, the determination of what the facts are, and the other, the explanation of why they are as they are. The determination of the facts is paradigmatically accomplished through the establishment of empirical laws, the expressions ofwhich are seen to provide scientific knowledge, while the explanation of the facts is performed by theories, which provide an understanding of them. The determination of what the facts are presupposes the principle of the uniformity of nature, and their explanation consists in showing how they are but manifestations of the principles of the discipline taken as a whole, and in particular of the contiguity principle of causality. The parameters within which either knowledge or understanding can be said to have been attained are set by the principle of substance.


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© Springer 2007

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