Single Idea 16184

[catalogued under 14. Science / D. Explanation / 2. Types of Explanation / c. Explanations by coherence]

Full Idea

To explain a phenomenon is to find a model that fits it into the basic framework of the theory and that thus allows us to derive analogues for the messy and complicated phenomenological laws that are true of it.

Gist of Idea

An explanation is a model that fits a theory and predicts the phenomenological laws


Nancy Cartwright (How the Laws of Physics Lie [1983], 8.3)

Book Reference

Cartwright,Nancy: 'How the Laws of Physics Lie' [OUP 2002], p.152

A Reaction

This summarises the core of her view in this book. She is after models rather than laws, and the models are based on causes.