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Explanation classroomversion
 

Explanation classroomversion

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    Explanation classroomversion Explanation classroomversion Presentation Transcript

    • PHIL 160 PHIL 160 "Explanation"
    • PHIL 160 Goals of science: predictions manipulations explanations What is required for a good explanation?
    • Prediction vs. Explanation PHIL 160 What will happen next? Why did it happen? Prediction: Explanation:
    • PHIL 160 Why did it have to happen? How is it possible for this to happen? Why did this happen rather than something else? Why did it happen?
    • Deductive-Nomological model PHIL 160
      • An explanation is a deductive argument.
      • Conclusion = fact to be explained.
      • Premises include a “law of nature” (universal regularity).
      (from “nomos”, Greek for “law”)
    • Why is this bird black? PHIL 160
      • This bird is a raven.
      • All ravens are black.
       This bird is black.
    • Deductive-Nomological model PHIL 160
      • Reduce explanations from one theory to equivalent explanations in terms of another theory.
      • Explanation shed light on what’s really happening.
      • Often requires “bridge laws”.
      at work in “ intertheoretic reduction”
    • PHIL 160
    • PHIL 160
    • Why does the pressure of this gas sample increase? PHIL 160
      • The volume of the gas sample is decreased.
      • 2. Boyle’s law: PV= k .
       The pressure of the gas sample increases.
    • Kinetic Theory of Gases: PHIL 160
      • A gas is a collection of point particles:
      • occupying negligible volume.
      • in constant motion through entire container.
      • undergoing elastic collisions with walls of container and other particles.
    • PHIL 160
    • “ Bridge Laws” PHIL 160 Volume = space through which point particles are moving Pressure = force from collisions with walls/area Temperature = measure of the kinetic energy of the particles.
    • PHIL 160
    • PHIL 160 Volume of the gas sample is decreased (less space for particles to move through). Why does the pressure of this gas sample increase?
    • Why does the pressure of this gas sample increase? PHIL 160 Same number of particles with same kinetic energy  more frequent collisions with walls.
    • PHIL 160 More frequent collisions with walls  higher force/area (i.e., higher pressure) Why does the pressure of this gas sample increase?
    • Does D-N model work for all explanations? PHIL 160
      • Is every argument that fits the model a good explanation?
      • Does every good explanation fit the model?
    • PHIL 160  Alex didn’t get pregnant. Why didn’t Alex get pregnant?
      • Alex takes birth control pills daily according to the instructions.
      • Taken according to instructions, birth control pills are 99.9% effective at preventing pregnancy.
    • PHIL 160
    • Why did the salt dissolve? PHIL 160
      • I hexed the salt.
      • I put the (hexed) salt in water.
      • Hexed salt dissolves in water.
       The salt dissolved.
    • PHIL 160
      • I put the salt in water.
      • Salt dissolves in water.
       The salt dissolved. Hexing is not explanatorily relevant! Why did the salt dissolve?
    • Why did Nancy get lung cancer? PHIL 160
      • Nancy has smoked 2 packs of cigarettes a day for 10 years.
      • Smoking 2 packs of cigarettes a day for 10 years causes lung cancer.
       Nancy got lung cancer.
    • PHIL 160 Smoking 2 packs of cigarettes a day for 10 years causes lung cancer. Not for every smoker! Not a law of nature. Why did Nancy get lung cancer?
    • PHIL 160
    • Why did these camellias die? PHIL 160
      • The camellias were planted in hot, rich soil.
      • Hot soil damages camellia roots.
       These camellias died.
    • Why did these camellias thrive? PHIL 160
      • The camellias were planted in hot, rich soil.
      • Camellias grow well in rich soil.
       These camellias thrived.
    • Cartwright : We don’t need a law! PHIL 160 We don’t need to know a law of nature to explain the camellias dying or thriving. There might be no such law of nature! (Explanation is still good.)
    • PHIL 160
    • Why is the flagpole’s shadow 4 meters long? PHIL 160
      • Flagpole is 3 m high.
      • Sunlight strikes pole at angle  .
      • Shadow length =
      • height of pole x tan  .
       Shadow length = 4 m.
    • Good deductive argument, BAD explanation! PHIL 160
      • Shadow length is 4 m.
      • Sunlight strikes pole at angle  .
      • Shadow length =
      • height of pole x tan  .
       Height of pole = 3 m.
    • PHIL 160 What kind of explanations in science? Looking for universal regularities or statistical regularities? Possible mechanisms or how it actually happened? (Causes, or something else?)