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Single Idea 21507

[catalogued under 14. Science / D. Explanation / 1. Explanation / b. Aims of explanation]

Full Idea

What theoretical scientific explanation aims at is an objective kind of insight that is achieved by a systematic unification, by exhibiting the phenomena as manifestations of common underlying structures and processes that conform to testable principles.

Gist of Idea

Scientific explanation aims at a unifying account of underlying structures and processes


Carl Hempel (Philosophy of Natural Science [1967], p.83), quoted by Laurence Bonjour - The Structure of Empirical Knowledge 5.3

A Reaction

This is a pretty good statement of scientific essentialism, and structures and processes are what I take Aristotle to have had in mind when he sought 'what it is to be that thing'. Structures and processes give stability and powers.

Book Reference

Bonjour,Laurence: 'The Structure of Empirical Knowledge' [Harvard 1985], p.99