more from Robert Boyle

Single Idea 16737

[catalogued under 14. Science / D. Explanation / 3. Best Explanation / b. Ultimate explanation]

Full Idea

Explications be most satisfactory that show how the effect is produced by the more primitive affects of matter (bulk, shape and motion) but are not to be despised that deduce them from more familiar qualities such as heat, weight, fluidity, fermentation.

Gist of Idea

The best explanations get down to primary basics, but others go less deep


Robert Boyle (Certain Physical Essays [1672], II:22), quoted by Robert Pasnau - Metaphysical Themes 1274-1671 23.4

Book Reference

Pasnau,Robert: 'Metaphysical Themes 1274-1671' [OUP 2011], p.530

A Reaction

[Compressed, and continued from Idea 16736] So there is a causal structure, and the best explanations go to the bottom of it, but lesser explanations only go half way down. So a very skimpy explanation ('dormative power') is still an explanation.

Related Idea

Idea 16736 Explanation is generally to deduce it from something better known, which comes in degrees [Boyle]