Alternative Models of Scientific Explanation

Wesley C. Salmon and Merrilee H. Salmon

in Causality and Explanation

Published in print May 1998 | ISBN: 9780195108644
Published online November 2003 | e-ISBN: 9780199833627 | DOI:
Alternative Models of Scientific Explanation

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Coauthored with Merrilee Salmon, addresses archaeologists and other anthropologists interested in the nature of scientific explanation. A group called the new archaeologists, concerned to assure the scientific status of archaeology, had become convinced that a sine qua non of science is the construction of explanations conforming to Hempel's D‐N model. The authors aim was to show that a much wider class of covering law models of explanation is available, and that others in this set are more suitable than the D‐N model for archaeology and anthropology. At the same time, they show that the so‐called systems approach, advocated by other archaeologists, has all of the shortcomings of the D‐N model without offering improvements in exchange.

Keywords: anthropology; archaeology; covering law model; deductive–nomological model; explanation; Salmon; systems approach

Chapter.  7313 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Philosophy of Science

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