By Rom Harré (auth.)
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Extra resources for An Introduction to the Logic of the Sciences
And are given such an answer as 'The flue has become blocked' we are given one particular fact as an explanation of another. But why, it might be asked, is 'The flue has become blocked' acceptable as an explanation rather than any other particular fact in the antecedent situation, say 'I have just folded my arms'? What belief would be necessary to lead us to accept the latter as an explanation? Clearly the belief that a connection exists between armfolding and the dying down of fires. The reason that the statement of the particular happening, the blocking of the flue, is acceptable as an explanation of the dying down of the fire without further comment is that the connection 24 The Logic of the Sciences between fire, flue and draught is such a commonplace fact that its explicit statement can be dispensed with.
When we have produced narratives again and again we sometimes notice that certain successions of events repeat themselves. Such repetitions enable us to make predictions for when we have a sufficient set of examples of a certain repetition we can go on to expect the repetition of the same order again. Our knowledge of such repetitions can be expressed in statements describing the ordering of kinds of events, that is in general statements. When we were discussing the uses of generalizations we saw that we are able to make inferences with them in their conditional form.
For example the experimental parameter obtained from the above experiments on the variation of current and voltage in a conductor is called the resistance of the conductor and is adopted as an additional property of the experimental-situation. The result ofmaking this move is the function V= IR where R is the parameter for the experimental-situation. (b) The variation of the parameter with experiment can be the subject of further experiments aimed at linking its variation with 46 The Logic of the Sciences the variation in some other, hitherto secondary property of the apparatus or system; or with the variations in the conditions that had been absorbed into the background of the experimentalsituation as irrelevant to the variation in the original observables chosen for experimental study.
An Introduction to the Logic of the Sciences by Rom Harré (auth.)