Single Idea 16280

[catalogued under 14. Science / D. Explanation / 2. Types of Explanation / g. Causal explanations]

Full Idea

Sometimes the pursuit of explanation is more the pursuit of unified and general fundamental laws than of information about the causal histories of events.

Gist of Idea

Often explanaton seeks fundamental laws, rather than causal histories


David Lewis (On the Plurality of Worlds [1986], 2.7)

Book Reference

Lewis,David: 'On the Plurality of Worlds' [Blackwell 2001], p.131

A Reaction

It is hard to disagree, given the 'sometimes'. I don't think that Newton's Law of Gravity (say), with its lovely equation, actually explained anything at all about gravity. Finding the law closes the quest for an accurate description of what happens.