Introduction to scientific explanation

26th November 2020

Scientific Explanation on Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy

How do scientific theories achieve the task of explaining science?
The explanatory power of scientific theory relies on the laws it’s built upon.

From a practical point of view

An example: how is explainable that the displayed temperature of a thermometer inserted in a hot glass of water slightly decreases before rising.
How can we describe the explanation that a scientist gives about the experiment?

Two types of statement:

  • a statement which includes a series of contingent conditions -a couple of more general statements:
    • the conductivity of glass
    • the coefficient of expansion of mercury

Together, these statements allow us to account for what we see.



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