Hempel, Carnap, and the Covering Law Model

  • Erich H. ReckEmail author
Part of the Boston Studies in the Philosophy and History of Science book series (BSPS, volume 273)


Carl Gustav Hempel was one of the most influential figures in the development of scientific philosophy in the twentieth century, particularly in the English-speaking world. While he made a variety of contributions to the philosophy of science, he is perhaps most remembered for his careful formulation and detailed elaboration of the “Covering Law model” for scientific explanation. In this essay I consider why the CL model was, and still is, so influential, in spite of the fact that it has been subjected to many criticisms and is usually seen as superseded by alternative models. Answering this question involves a reexamination of Hempel’s relationship to other influential scientific philosophers, especially Rudolf Carnap. It also sheds new light on issues concerning the notions of analysis, explication, and modeling that remain relevant today.


Scientific Practice Scientific Explanation Reductive Analysis Vienna Circle Descriptive Accuracy 
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© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht. 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PhilosophyUniversity of CaliforniaRiversideUSA

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