Explaining Laws by Reduction
Scientific explanations have been intensively studied by philosophers of science during the last five decades. Explanations of laws did not receive as much attention as explanations of particular facts. In this article, I present a model for one type of explanations of laws: reductions of laws to phenomena at a micro-level. Examples of such reductions can be found in the natural sciences (the ideal gas law is probably the most famous example here) and in the social sciences (e.g., reduction of macroeconomic laws to the behaviour of individual economic agents).
KeywordsReduction Model Aggregation Step Transformation Step Reductive Explanation Ontological Claim
Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.
- Hempel, C. G. (1965). Aspects of Scientific Explanation and Other Essays in the Philosophy of Science. The Free Press, New York.Google Scholar
- Humphreys, P. (1989). The Chances of Explanation. Princeton University Press, New Jersey.Google Scholar
- Mackie, J. (1974). The Cement of the Universe. Clarendon Press, Oxford.Google Scholar
- Weber, E. (1998). The practical functions and epistemology of causal beliefs. Communication Cognition, 31: 297–324.Google Scholar