Overview[ edit ] In the scientific methodan experiment is an empirical procedure that arbitrates competing models or hypotheses. However, an experiment may also aim to answer a "what-if" question, without a specific expectation about what the experiment reveals, or to confirm prior results. If an experiment is carefully conducted, the results usually either support or disprove the hypothesis.
References and Further Reading 1.
Introduction Most people, philosophers included, think of explanation in terms of causation. Very roughly, to explain an event or phenomenon is to identify its cause.
The nature of causation is one of the perennial problems of philosophy, so on the basis of this connection one might reasonably attempt to trace thinking about the nature of explanation to antiquity. Among the ancients, for example, Aristotle's theory of causation is plausibly regarded as a theory of explanation.
But the idea that the concept of explanation warrants independent analysis really did not begin to take hold until the 20th century.
Generally, this change occurred as the result of the linguistic turn in philosophy. More specifically, it was the result of philosophers of science attempting to understand the nature of modern theoretical science.
Of particular concern were theories that posited the existence of unobservable entities and processes for example, atoms, fields, genes, etc. These posed a dilemma. On the one hand, the staunch empiricist had to reject unobservable entities as a matter of principle; on the other hand, theories that appealed to unobservables were clearly producing revolutionary results.
A way was needed to characterize the obvious value of these theories without abandoning the empiricist principles deemed central to scientific rationality. In this context it became common to distinguish between the literal truth of a theory and its power to explain observable phenomena.
Although the distinction between truth and explanatory power is important, it is susceptible to multiple interpretations, and this remains a source of confusion even today.
The problem is this: In philosophy the terms " truth " and "explanation" have both realist and epistemic interpretations. On a realist interpretation the truth and explanatory power of a theory are matters of the correspondence of language with an external reality.
A theory that is both true and explanatory gives us insight into the causal structure of the world. On an epistemic interpretation, however, these terms express only the power of a theory to order our experience.
A true and explanatory theory orders our experience to a greater degree than a false non-explanatory one. Hence, someone who denies that scientific theories are explanatory in the realist sense of the term may or may not be denying that they are explanatory in the epistemic sense.
Conversely, someone who asserts that scientific theories are explanatory in the epistemic sense may or may not be claiming that they are explanatory in the realist sense.
The failure to distinguish these senses of "explanation" can and does foster disagreements that are purely semantic in nature. One common way of employing the distinction between truth and explanation is to say that theories that refer to unobservable entities may explain the phenomena, but they are not literally true.
A second way is to say that these theories are true, but they do not really explain the phenomena. Although these statements are superficially contradictory, they can both be made in support of the same basic view of the nature of scientific theories.
This, it is now easy to see, is because the terms 'truth' and 'explanation' are being used differently in each statement. In the first, 'explanation' is being used epistemically and 'truth' realistically; in the second, 'explanation' is being used realistically and 'truth' epistemically.
But both statements are saying roughly the same thing, namely, that a scientific theory may be accepted as having a certain epistemic value without necessarily accepting that the unobservable entities it refers to actually exist.
This view is known as anti-realism. One early 20th century philosopher scientist, Pierre Duhem, expressed himself according to the latter interpretation when he claimed: A physical theory is not an explanation. It is a system of mathematical propositions, deduced from a small number of principles, which aim to represent as simply, as completely, and as exactly as possible a set of experimental laws.
To explain is to strip the reality of the appearances covering it like a veil, in order to see the bare reality itself. Science, according to Duhem, does not comprehend reality, but only gives order to appearance. However, the subsequent rise of analytic philosophy and, in particular, logical positivism made Duhem's acceptance of classical metaphysics unpopular.
The conviction grew that, far from being explanatory, metaphysics was meaningless insofar as it issued claims that had no implications for experience. By the time Carl Hempel who, as a logical positivist, was still fundamentally an anti-realist about unobservable entities articulated the first real theory of explanation the explanatory power of science could be stipulated.
To explain the phenomena in the world of our experience, to answer the question "Why? Hempel and Oppenheim Hempel employs the epistemic sense of explanation. For him the question "Why? Hempel's Theory of Explanation According to Hempel, an explanation is: Their premises each contain statements of two types:Introduction to Sensation and Perception.
Although intimately related, sensation and perception play two complimentary but different roles in how we interpret our world. This chapter will describe various theories related to these two concepts and explain the important role they play in the field of psychology.
1. The Ordinary Conception of Perceptual Experience. In this section we spell out the ordinary conception of perceptual experience. There are two central aspects to .
The Australian Institute of Parapsychological Research, Incorporated (AIPR, Inc., or Parapsychology Institute) was established in and is a non-profit community attheheels.com AIPR is based in Sydney, New South Wales, and its membership is world-wide.
Theories of Explanation. Within the philosophy of science there have been competing ideas about what an explanation is. Historically, explanation has been associated with causation: to explain an event or phenomenon is to identify its cause. Pygmalion: Bernard Shaw: Based on classical myth, Bernard Shaw’s Pygmalion plays on the complex business of human relationships in a social world.
Phonetics Professor Henry Higgins tutors the very Cockney Eliza Doolittle, not only in the refinement of speech, but also in the refinement of her manner.
Learning Theories and Transfer of Learning. There are lots of different learning theories that can be used to help guide a teaching/learning process.