Inference, Method and Decision pp 162-173 | Cite as

# Explanation

## Abstract

Explanatory theories are more or less efficient ways of recoding data; powerful models are characterized by the dramatic reduction in the number of information units required for data storage which they effect. But, in addition, good explanatory theories are simple (Chapter 5): they impose strong constraints on the possible results of experimentation, according high probability to what was observed and low probability to what was not observed. This chapter explores the conception of explanation as coding, and also the connection between the efficiency and simplicity of a model. I begin with some remarks on the earlier literature.

## Keywords

Scientific Explanation Explanatory Hypothesis Terminal Link Efficient Encode Individual Occurrence## Preview

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

## Bibliography

- Atneave, F.: 1954, ‘Some Informational Aspects of Visual Perception’,
*Psych. Rev.*,**61**, 183–194.CrossRefGoogle Scholar - Collins, A.: 1966, The Use of Statistics in Explanation’,
*Brit. J. Phil Sci.***17**, No. 2.Google Scholar - Feynman, R.
*et al.*: 1963, The Feynman Lectures on Physics, Vol. 1, Addison-Wesley, Reading, Mass.Google Scholar - Fine, T. L.: 1973,
*Theories of Probability*, Academic Press, New York.Google Scholar - Hempel, C. G.: 1965,
*Aspects of Scientific Explanation*, The Free Press, New York.Google Scholar - Kuhn, T. S.: 1962,
*The Structure of Scientific Revolutions*, Chicago University Press, Chicago.Google Scholar - Luce, R. D.: 1963, ‘Detection and Recognition’,
*Handbook of Mathematical Psychology*, Vol. 1 (R. D. Luce, R. R. Bush, E. Galanter, eds.), Wiley, New York, Chapter 3.Google Scholar - Post, H. R.: 1960, ‘Simplicity in Scientific Theories’,
*Brit. J. Phil. Sci.***11**, 32–41.CrossRefGoogle Scholar - Scriven, M.: 1959, ‘Explanation and Prediction in Evolutionary Theory’,
*Science***130**, 477–482 (reprinted in R. Munson (ed.),*Man**and Nature*, Dell, N.Y.).CrossRefGoogle Scholar - Suppes, P.: 1970,
*A Probabilistic Theory of Causality*, North-Holland, Amsterdam.Google Scholar