© 2013

Scientific Explanation


  • Elaborated and illustrated with examples taken from actual scientific practices

  • A presentation of core concepts of Scientific Explanation

  • Investigates problems for Hempel, Salmon Kitcher and others


Part of the SpringerBriefs in Philosophy book series (BRIEFSPHILOSOPH)

Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-x
  2. Erik Weber, Jeroen Van Bouwel, Leen De Vreese
    Pages 1-24
  3. Erik Weber, Jeroen Van Bouwel, Leen De Vreese
    Pages 25-37
  4. Erik Weber, Jeroen Van Bouwel, Leen De Vreese
    Pages 39-69
  5. Erik Weber, Jeroen Van Bouwel, Leen De Vreese
    Pages 71-93

About this book


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.  ​


Carl Hempel Philip Kitcher Wesley Salmon causal explanation models of explanation scientific explanation

Authors and affiliations

  1. 1.GentBelgium
  2. 2., Logic and Philosophy of ScienceCentre for Univeristy of GhentGhentBelgium
  3. 3., Centre for Logic and Philosophy of ScienUniveristy of GhentGhentBelgium

Bibliographic information

  • Book Title Scientific Explanation
  • Authors Erik Weber
    Jeroen Van Bouwel
    Leen De Vreese
  • Series Title SpringerBriefs in Philosophy
  • Series Abbreviated Title SpringerBriefs Philosophy
  • DOI
  • Copyright Information The Author(s) 2013
  • Publisher Name Springer, Dordrecht
  • eBook Packages Humanities, Social Sciences and Law Philosophy and Religion (R0)
  • Softcover ISBN 978-94-007-6445-3
  • eBook ISBN 978-94-007-6446-0
  • Series ISSN 2211-4548
  • Series E-ISSN 2211-4556
  • Edition Number 1
  • Number of Pages X, 93
  • Number of Illustrations 1 b/w illustrations, 0 illustrations in colour
  • Topics Philosophy of Science
    Philosophy, general
  • Buy this book on publisher's site