Some Remarks on the Logic of Explanation in the Social Sciences

  • Albrecht Wellmer
Part of the Royal Institute of Philosophy Lectures book series

Abstract

If one were to write a history of the philosophy of science in the spirit of T. S. Kuhn, one would have to consider the model of scientific explanation which Popper proposed and Hempel and Oppenheim developed1 to be one of the great paradigms of contemporary analytical philosophy of science. This analogue to the historically important paradigms of the individual sciences seems to me to be justifiable for the following reasons: first, the Hempel-Oppenheim model (or HO-model, as I shall call it) claims universal methodological validity; second, discussions on the problem of explanation have centred on this model for some time; third, the recent cognitive progress in this field has been largely the result of the interrelation between criticism of this model on the one hand and its improvement and explication on the other hand; and lastly, this model stands for a particular comprehension of the problems and possibilities of science, a concept of quite important practical consequence.

Keywords

Europe 

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Notes

  1. 1.
    Karl R. Popper, Logik der Forschung (Vienna, 1935); Carl G. Hempel and Paul Oppenheim, ‘The Logic of Explanation’, Philosophy and Science, xv (1948), reprinted inCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. H. Feigl and May Brodbeck (eds), Readings in the Philosophy of Science (New York, 1953). This is to mention only the two important works, which stood at the beginning of an extensive discussion.Google Scholar
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    N. Goodman, ‘The Problem of Counterfactual Conditionals’, in L. Linsky (ed.), Semantics and the Philosophy of Language (Urbana, Ill., 1952).Google Scholar
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    P. Winch, The Idea of a Social Science (London, 1958).Google Scholar
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    Cf. A. C. Danto, Analytical Philosophy of History (Cambridge, 1965) p. 221.Google Scholar
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    W. Dray, Laws and Explanation in History (Oxford, 1957) pp. 122–42.Google Scholar
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    Cf. W. Stegmüller, Wissenschaftliche Erklarüng und Begründung (Berlin, Heidelberg, New York, 1969) p. 396.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
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  10. Iikewise Habermas, Erkenntnis und Interesse (Frankfurt, 1968) Kap. iii h.;Google Scholar
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© The Royal Institute of Philosophy 1971

Authors and Affiliations

  • Albrecht Wellmer

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