more from Robert Boyle

Single Idea 15960

[catalogued under 14. Science / D. Explanation / 2. Types of Explanation / i. Explanations by mechanism]

Full Idea

Explicating a phenomenon is to deduce it from something else in nature more known to us than the thing to be explained by it.

Gist of Idea

Explanation is deducing a phenomenon from some nature better known to us


Robert Boyle (The Origin of Forms and Qualities [1666], p.46?), quoted by Peter Alexander - Ideas, Qualities and Corpuscles

Book Reference

Alexander,Peter: 'Ideas, Qualities and Corpuscles' [CUP 1985], p.59

A Reaction

Interesting that the word 'deduce' is here, beloved of the 'covering law' view. But this may be deduced from the behaviour of other substances, as the iron filing behaviour may be explained by the magnet itself (or perhaps 'laws' of magnetism).

Related Idea

Idea 17075 Scientific explanation tends to reduce things to the unfamiliar (not the familiar) [Smart]