Science and Hypothesis

Science and Hypothesis - Science and Hypothesis (Copi and...

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Science and Hypothesis (Copi and Cohen 2005: 515-529) 14.1 The values of science There are two kinds of values one can attribute to science: 1. Practical values: technological benefits resulting from a scientific discovery or engineering innovation. 2. Intrinsic values: science furthers our understanding of the world, by: a. Finding a general pattern in which phenomena occur and systematizing the relations between these patterns b. Explaining these general patterns through theories, in particular laws 14.2 Explanations, scientific and unscientific What is a scientific explanation? Here it is helpful to distinguish between: 1. The explanandum ( e ) : the fact that needs to be explained; and 2. The explanans ( h ) : the hypothesis/hypotheses that do the explaining For example, in the following explanation “John has lung cancer because he was a chronic smoker,” the explanandum is that John has lung cancer and the explanans is that John was a chronic smoker. A theory of explanation will specify the relationship between explanandum and explanans (this relation is sometimes called explanatory relevance ). Typically when one seeks an explanation, one knows that the explanandum is the case but not why this is so. One account of explanatory relevance holds that: (E) h explains e if and only if: 1) e can be inferred from h ; and 2) e and h are true; For example: Many chronic smokers contract lung cancer. John is a chronic smoker. So (probably) John contracts lung cancer. However, this does not distinguish between scientific and unscientific explanations. Typically scientific explanations (as opposed to their unscientific counterparts) explain all of the events of some given kind . For example, Newton sought to explain all events involving moving bodies. Additionally, some unscientific explanations are accepted
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This note was uploaded on 08/25/2009 for the course BIO 325 taught by Professor Crowley during the Summer '08 term at Kentucky.

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Science and Hypothesis - Science and Hypothesis (Copi and...

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