Ideas from 'Philosophy of Natural Science' by Carl Hempel [1967], by Theme Structure

green numbers give full details    |     back to texts     |     unexpand this idea

14. Science / D. Explanation / 1. Explanation / b. Aims of explanation
Scientific explanation aims at a unifying account of underlying structures and processes
                        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.
                        From: 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.