Four Decades of Scientific Explanation

Author: Wesley C. Salmon
Publisher: University of Pittsburgh Press
ISBN: 9780822973027
Release Date: 2006-06-15
Genre: Philosophy

As Aristotle stated, scientific explanation is based on deductive argument--yet, Wesley C. Salmon points out, not all deductive arguments are qualified explanations. The validity of the explanation must itself be examined. Four Decades of Scientific Explanation provides a comprehensive account of the developments in scientific explanation that transpired in the last four decades of the twentieth century. It continues to stand as the most comprehensive treatment of the writings on the subject during these years. Building on the historic 1948 essay by Carl G. Hempel and Paul Oppenheim, "Studies in the Logic of Explanation,” which introduced the deductive-nomological (D-N) model on which most work on scientific explanation was based for the following four decades, Salmon goes beyond this model's inherent basis of describing empirical knowledge to tells us “not only what, but also why.” Salmon examines the predominant models in chronological order and describes their development, refinement, and criticism or rejection. Four Decades of Scientific Explanation underscores the need for a consensus of approach and ongoing evaluations of methodology in scientific explanation, with the goal of providing a better understanding of natural phenomena.

Four Decades of Scientific Explanation

Author: Wesley C. Salmon
Publisher: University of Pittsburgh Press
ISBN: 9780822959267
Release Date: 2006-06-28
Genre: Philosophy

As Aristotle stated, scientific explanation is based on deductive argument--yet, Wesley C. Salmon points out, not all deductive arguments are qualified explanations. The validity of the explanation must itself be examined. Four Decades of Scientific Explanation provides a comprehensive account of the developments in scientific explanation that transpired in the last four decades of the twentieth century. It continues to stand as the most comprehensive treatment of the writings on the subject during these years. Building on the historic 1948 essay by Carl G. Hempel and Paul Oppenheim, "Studies in the Logic of Explanation,” which introduced the deductive-nomological (D-N) model on which most work on scientific explanation was based for the following four decades, Salmon goes beyond this model's inherent basis of describing empirical knowledge to tells us “not only what, but also why.” Salmon examines the predominant models in chronological order and describes their development, refinement, and criticism or rejection. Four Decades of Scientific Explanation underscores the need for a consensus of approach and ongoing evaluations of methodology in scientific explanation, with the goal of providing a better understanding of natural phenomena.

Scientific Explanation

Author: Philip Kitcher
Publisher: U of Minnesota Press
ISBN: 0816617732
Release Date: 1989
Genre: Science

The first half of the book (up to p.219) reproduces identically the title noted at Q174 (Four decades of scientific explanation). The remainder is given over to eight essays by diverse experts in the field. Carefully edited and very attractively produced. Of enduring value to students of the philosophy of science. (NW) Annotation copyrighted by Book News, Inc., Portland, OR

The Foundations of Scientific Inference

Author: Wesley C. Salmon
Publisher: University of Pittsburgh Press
ISBN: 9780822982944
Release Date: 2017-07-14
Genre: Science

After its publication in 1967, The Foundations of Scientific Inference taught a generation of students and researchers about the problem of induction, the interpretation of probability, and confirmation theory. Fifty years later, Wesley C. Salmon’s book remains one of the clearest introductions to these fundamental problems in the philosophy of science. With The Foundations of Scientific Inference, Salmon presented a coherent vision of the nature of scientific reasoning, explored the philosophical underpinnings of scientific investigation, and introduced readers to key movements in epistemology and to leading philosophers of the twentieth century—such as Karl Popper, Rudolf Carnap, and Hans Reichenbach—offering a critical assessment and developing his own distinctive views on topics that are still of central importance today. This anniversary edition of Salmon’s foundational work in the philosophy of science features a detailed introduction by Christopher Hitchcock, which examines the book’s origins, influences, and major themes, its impact and enduring effects, the disputes it raised, and its place in current studies, revisiting Salmon’s ideas for a new audience of philosophers, historians, scientists, and students.

Scientific Explanation and the Causal Structure of the World

Author: Wesley C. Salmon
Publisher: Princeton University Press
ISBN: 9780691101705
Release Date: 1984-12-21
Genre: Biography & Autobiography

The philosophical theory of scientific explanation proposed here involves a radically new treatment of causality that accords with the pervasively statistical character of contemporary science. Wesley C. Salmon describes three fundamental conceptions of scientific explanation--the epistemic, modal, and ontic. He argues that the prevailing view (a version of the epistemic conception) is untenable and that the modal conception is scientifically out-dated. Significantly revising aspects of his earlier work, he defends a causal/mechanical theory that is a version of the ontic conception. Professor Salmon's theory furnishes a robust argument for scientific realism akin to the argument that convinced twentieth-century physical scientists of the existence of atoms and molecules. To do justice to such notions as irreducibly statistical laws and statistical explanation, he offers a novel account of physical randomness. The transition from the "reviewed view" of scientific explanation (that explanations are arguments) to the causal/mechanical model requires fundamental rethinking of basic explanatory concepts.

Causality and Explanation

Author: Wesley C. Salmon
Publisher: Oxford University Press
ISBN: 019802682X
Release Date: 1998-01-22
Genre: Science

For over two decades Wesley Salmon has helped to shape the course of debate in philosophy of science. He is a major contributor to the philosophical discussion of problems associated with causality and the author of two influential books on scientific explanation. This long-awaited volume collects twenty- six of Salmon's essays, including seven that have never before been published and others difficult to find. Part I comprises five introductory essays that presuppose no formal training in philosophy of science and form a background for subsequent essays. Parts II and III contain Salmon's seminal work on scientific explanation and causality. Part IV offers survey articles that feature advanced material but remain accessible to those outside philosophy of science. Essays in Part V address specific issues in particular scientific disciplines, namely, archaeology and anthropology, astrophysics and cosmology, and physics. Clear, compelling, and essential, this volume offers a superb introduction to philosophy of science for nonspecialists and belongs on the bookshelf of all who carry out work in this exciting field. Wesley Salmon is renowned for his seminal contributions to the philosophy of science. He has powerfully and permanently shaped discussion of such issues as lawlike and probabilistic explanation and the interrelation of explanatory notions to causal notions. This unique volume brings together twenty-six of his essays on subjects related to causality and explanation, written over the period 1971-1995. Six of the essays have never been published before and many others have only appeared in obscure venues. The volume includes a section of accessible introductory pieces, as well as more advanced and technical pieces, and will make essential work in the philosophy of science readily available to both scholars and students.

Statistical Explanation and Statistical Relevance

Author: Wesley C. Salmon
Publisher: University of Pittsburgh Pre
ISBN: 9780822974116
Release Date: 1971-09-15
Genre: Philosophy

According to modern physics, many objectively improbable events actually occur, such as the spontaneous disintegration of radioactive atoms. Because of high levels of improbability, scientists are often at a loss to explain such phenomena. In this main essay of this book, Wesley Salmon offers a solution to scientific explanation based on the concept of statistical relevance (the S-R model). In this vein, the other two essays herein discuss “Statistical Relevance vs. Statistical Inference,” and “Explanation and Information.”

Favela

Author: Janice Perlman
Publisher: Oxford University Press
ISBN: 9780199709557
Release Date: 2010-06-10
Genre: Social Science

Janice Perlman wrote the first in-depth account of life in the favelas, a book hailed as one of the most important works in global urban studies in the last 30 years. Now, in Favela, Perlman carries that story forward to the present. Re-interviewing many longtime favela residents whom she had first met in 1969--as well as their children and grandchildren--Perlman offers the only long-term perspective available on the favelados as they struggle for a better life. Perlman discovers that while educational levels have risen, democracy has replaced dictatorship, and material conditions have improved, many residents feel more marginalized than ever. The greatest change is the explosion of drug and arms trade and the high incidence of fatal violence that has resulted. Yet the greatest challenge of all is job creation--decent work for decent pay. If unemployment and under-paid employment are not addressed, she argues, all other efforts will fail to resolve the fundamental issues. Foreign Affairs praises Perlman for writing "with compassion, artistry, and intelligence, using stirring personal stories to illustrate larger points substantiated with statistical analysis."

The Philosophy of Carl G Hempel

Author: Carl Gustav Hempel
Publisher: Oxford University Press on Demand
ISBN: 9780195141580
Release Date: 2001
Genre: Philosophy

Editor James Fetzer presents an analytical and historical introduction and a comprehensive bibliography together with selections of many of Carl G. Hempel's most important studies to give students and scholars an ideal opportunity to appreciate the enduring contributions of one of the most influential philosophers of science of the 20th century.

Theories of explanation

Author: Joseph C. Pitt
Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA
ISBN: UOM:39015013363307
Release Date: 1988
Genre: Language Arts & Disciplines

Since the publication of Carl Hempel and Paul Oppenheim's ground-breaking work "Studies in the Logic of Explanation," the theory of explanation has remained a major topic in the philosophy of science. This valuable collection provides readers with the opportunity to study some of the classic essays on the theory of explanation along with the best examples of the most recent work being done on the topic. In addition to the original Hempel and Oppenheim paper, the volume includes Scriven's critical reaction to it, Wilfrid Sellars's discussion of the problem of theoretical txplanation, and pieces by Salmon, Railton, van Fraassen, Friedman, Kitcher, and Achinstein in which they demonstrate the vitality of the subject by extending the scope of the discussion.

The Philosophy of Science

Author: Richard Boyd
Publisher: MIT Press
ISBN: 0262521563
Release Date: 1991
Genre: Philosophy

Using formal logic, Reconstructing the Past seeks to clarify and resolve themethodological issues that arise when biologists try to answer such questions as whether humanbeings are more closely related to chimps than they are to gorillas. It explores the case forconsidering the philosophical idea of simplicity/parsimony as a useful principle for evaluatingtaxonomic theories of evolutionary relationships. Bringing together philosophy, biology, andstatistics, Sober builds a general framework for understanding the circumstances in which parsimonymakes sense as a tool of phylogenetic inference.Elliott Sober is Professor of Philosophy at theUniversity of Wisconsin, Madison, and the author of The Nature of Selection.

Scientific Explanation

Author: Erik Weber
Publisher: Springer Science & Business Media
ISBN: 9789400764460
Release Date: 2014-07-08
Genre: Science

When scientist investigate why things happen, they aim at giving an explanation. But what does a scientific explanation look like? In the first chapter (Theories of Scientific Explanation) of this book, the milestones in the debate on how to characterize scientific explanations are exposed. The second chapter (How to Study Scientific Explanation?) scrutinizes the working-method of three important philosophers of explanation, Carl Hempel, Philip Kitcher and Wesley Salmon and shows what went wrong. Next, it is the responsibility of current philosophers of explanation to go on where Hempel, Kitcher and Salmon failed. However, we should go on in a clever way. We call this clever way the pragmatic approach to scientific explanation and clarify briefly what this approach consists in. The third chapter (A Toolbox for Describing and Evaluating Explanatory Practices) elaborates the pragmatic approach by presenting a toolbox for analysing scientific explanation. In the last chapter (Examples of Descriptions and Evaluations of Explanatory Practices) the approach is illustrated with real-life examples of scientists aiming at explaining. This book can be used as a textbook for intermediate philosophy of science courses and is also valuable as “suggested reading” for introductory courses in philosophy of science. The way the book is set up makes it an excellent study and research guide for advanced (MA and PhD) students that work on the topic of scientific explanation. Finally, it is a handy source and reference book for senior researchers in the field of scientific explanations and – more generally – for all philosophers of science. ​

Massive

Author: Ian Sample
Publisher: Basic Books
ISBN: 9780465031696
Release Date: 2012-04-03
Genre: Science

The biggest science story of our time, Massive spans four decades, weaving together the personal narratives and international rivalries behind the search for the “God" particle, or Higgs boson. A story of grand ambition, intense competition, clashing egos, and occasionally spectacular failures, Massive is the first book that reveals the science, culture, and politics behind the biggest unanswered question in modern physics—what gives things mass? Drawing upon his unprecedented access to Peter Higgs, after whom the particle is named, award-winning science writer Ian Sample chronicles the multinational and multibillion-dollar quest to solve the mystery of mass. For scientists, to find the God particle is to finally understand the origin of mass, and until now, the story of their search has never been told.

The Extended Case Method

Author: Michael Burawoy
Publisher: Univ of California Press
ISBN: 0520943384
Release Date: 2009-05-27
Genre: Social Science

In this remarkable collection of essays, Michael Burawoy develops the extended case method by connecting his own experiences among workers of the world to the great transformations of the twentieth century—the rise and fall of the Soviet Union and its satellites, the reconstruction of U.S. capitalism, and the African transition to post-colonialism in Zambia. Burawoy's odyssey began in 1968 in the Zambian copper mines and proceeded to Chicago's South Side, where he worked as a machine operator and enjoyed a unique perspective on the stability of advanced capitalism. In the 1980s, this perspective was deepened by contrast with his work in diverse Hungarian factories. Surprised by the collapse of socialism in Hungary in 1989, he journeyed in 1991 to the Soviet Union, which by the end of the year had unexpectedly dissolved. He then spent the next decade studying how the working class survived the catastrophic collapse of the Soviet economy. These essays, presented with a perspective that has benefited from time and rich experience, offer ethnographers a theory and a method for developing novel understandings of epochal change.

Lost in Math

Author: Sabine Hossenfelder
Publisher: Basic Books
ISBN: 9780465094264
Release Date: 2018-06-12
Genre: Science

A contrarian argues that modern physicists' obsession with beauty has given us wonderful math but bad science Whether pondering black holes or predicting discoveries at CERN, physicists believe the best theories are beautiful, natural, and elegant, and this standard separates popular theories from disposable ones. This is why, Sabine Hossenfelder argues, we have not seen a major breakthrough in the foundations of physics for more than four decades. The belief in beauty has become so dogmatic that it now conflicts with scientific objectivity: observation has been unable to confirm mindboggling theories, like supersymmetry or grand unification, invented by physicists based on aesthetic criteria. Worse, these "too good to not be true" theories are actually untestable and they have left the field in a cul-de-sac. To escape, physicists must rethink their methods. Only by embracing reality as it is can science discover the truth.