By Rom Harré (auth.)
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Extra resources for An Introduction to the Logic of the Sciences
IV. Analogical Explanation. By bringing in an analogy we do not dispense with the formal requirements of explanation but express them in a different way, a way that leads to their being a basis for understanding something. Understanding is usually facilitated by the use of a familiar rather than an unfamiliar mode of expression. In the case of a single happening for example, understanding would obviously be facilitated by the replacement of a relevancy 28 The Logic of the Sciences generalization that was expressed in the theoretical terms of an unfamiliar science by one which expressed the same relation concretely in terms with which we were familiar.
The logical requirements are the same for the general as for the particular linear explanation. An antecedent, preferably the minimum relevant set of conditions for the class of happenings, should be given while the generalizations linking explanatory antecedent and class of happenings are understood. They are implicit in the selection of such and such conditions as the set necessary and sufficient to bring about happenings of the kind to be explained. The requirement that explanation and happening should be ofthe same logical status is satisfied by our giving as the explanation a class of antecedent happenings.
E1sn ... eksm giving a functional law of the same form but differing in numerical constant. At this point a second stage of generalization can be undertaken, but now two moves are open to us. (a) The numerical constant, differing with each experimentalsituation can be generalized into an algebraical variable, an experimental parameter, and we say that it represents a special property of the experimental-situation. 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.
An Introduction to the Logic of the Sciences by Rom Harré (auth.)