From Carl Hempel’s “Philosophy of Natural Science” (1966)

hempel
“Scientific explanation is not aimed at creating a sense of at-homeness or of familiarity with the phenomena of nature. That kind of feeling may well be evoked even by metaphorical accounts that have no explanatory value at all, such as the ‘natural affinity’ construal of gravitation or the conception of biological processes as being directed by vital forces. What scientific explanation, especially theoretical explanation, aims at is not this intuitive and highly subjective kind of understanding, but an objective kind of insight that is achieved by a systematic unification, by exhibiting the phenomena as manifestations of common underlying structures and processes that conform to specific, testable, basic principles. If such an account can be given in terms that show certain analogies with familiar phenomena, then very well. Otherwise, science will not hesitate to explain even the familiar by reduction to the unfamiliar by means of concepts and principles of novel kinds that may at first be repugnant to our intuition.”

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From Carl Hempel’s “Philosophy of Natural Science” (1966)

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