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By Wesley C. Salmon

As Aristotle acknowledged, clinical rationalization is predicated on deductive argument--yet, Wesley C. Salmon issues out, now not all deductive arguments are certified causes. The validity of the reason needs to itself be tested. Four a long time of medical Explanation offers a complete account of the advancements in clinical rationalization that transpired within the final 4 many years of the 20 th century. It keeps to face because the such a lot complete therapy of the writings at the topic in the course of those years.

Building at the ancient 1948 essay via Carl G. Hempel and Paul Oppenheim, "Studies within the good judgment of Explanation,” which brought the deductive-nomological (D-N) version on which such a lot paintings on medical rationalization was once established for the subsequent 4 a long time, Salmon is going past this model's inherent foundation of describing empirical wisdom to tells us “not simply what, but in addition why.” Salmon examines the fundamental versions in chronological order and describes their improvement, refinement, and feedback or rejection.

Four many years of clinical Explanation underscores the necessity for a consensus of method and ongoing reviews of method in clinical rationalization, with the target of delivering a greater figuring out of average phenomena.

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Extra info for Four Decades of Scientific Explanation

Sample text

In 1956 Nagel seemed to claim that Merton’s brand of functional analysis would fit the same pattern as functional ex­ planation in physiology, but in 1961 he had doubts that the problem of functional equivalents could be that easily dismissed in the realm of social sciences (Nagel 1961, 533-35). It seems to me, therefore, that Nagel has not succeeded in eliminating the problem of functional equivalents for teleological or functional explanation in general. Hempel’s analysis of functions is, I think, logically impeccable.

Salmon or functional explanation—namely, the paper by Israel Scheffler (1958)25 and a characteristically clear treatment by Hempel (1959). Hempel’s discussion brings the D-N model to bear directly on the problem of functional explanation. Hempel’s philosophical concern is rather different from Braithwaite’s; he does not focus particularly on the issue of final causation—on the problem of explain­ ing present facts in terms of future goals. Given his later suggestion that subse­ quent events might sometimes explain earlier events (Hempel 1965,353-54), that issue might prove embarrassing.

Our review of the essay by Hempel and Oppenheim leaves no doubt whatever about its richness as a source of material for philosophical discussions of the na­ ture of scientific explanation in the second half of the twentieth century. Can any­ one seriously dispute the propriety of its designation as the fountainhead? 23 During this time, however, quite a good deal was written on the nature of explanation in history, stimulated, to a large degree, by Hempel's essay, ‘T he Function of General Laws in History” (1942).

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Four Decades of Scientific Explanation by Wesley C. Salmon


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