Explanation by Idealized Theories

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Niiniluoto , I 2018 , ' Explanation by Idealized Theories ' , Kairos , vol. 20 , no. 1 , pp. 43-63 . https://doi.org/10.2478/kjps-2018-0003

Title: Explanation by Idealized Theories
Author: Niiniluoto, Ilkka
Contributor organization: Department of Philosophy, History and Art Studies
Date: 2018-06
Language: eng
Number of pages: 21
Belongs to series: Kairos
ISSN: 1521-2300
DOI: https://doi.org/10.2478/kjps-2018-0003
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/10138/243081
Abstract: The use of idealized scientific theories in explanations of empirical facts and regularities is problematic in two ways: they don't satisfy the condition that the explanans is true, and they may fail to entail the explanandum. An attempt to deal with the latter problem was proposed by Hempel and Popper with their notion of approximate explanation. A more systematic perspective on idealized explanations was developed with the method of idealization and concretization by the Poznan school (Nowak, Krajewski) in the 1970s. If idealizational laws are treated as counterfactual conditionals, they can be true or truthlike, and the concretizations of such laws may increase their degree of truthlikeness. By replacing Hempel's truth requirement with the condition that an explanatory theory is truthlike one can distinguish several important types of approximate, corrective, and contrastive explanations by idealized theories. The conclusions have important consequences for the debates about scientific realism and anti-realism.
Subject: 611 Philosophy
Philosophy of Science
Peer reviewed: Yes
Rights: cc_by_nc_nd
Usage restriction: openAccess
Self-archived version: publishedVersion

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