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The World in the Head$
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Robert Cummins

Print publication date: 2010

Print ISBN-13: 9780199548033

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2015

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:osobl/9780199548033.001.0001

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‘How does it Work?’ vs. ‘What are the Laws?’

‘How does it Work?’ vs. ‘What are the Laws?’

Two Conceptions of Psychological Explanation

(p.282) 16 ‘How does it Work?’ vs. ‘What are the Laws?’
The World in the Head

Robert Cummins

Oxford University Press

This chapter discusses the deductive nomological (DN) model of explanation and ‘capacities’, as the two primary concepts of psychological explanation. The DN model, developed by Carl G. Hempel and Paul Oppenheim, implies that scientific explanation is subsumption under natural law and that explanation of scientific data requires appeal to certain hypothesis. On the other hand, capacities and their associated incidental effects are developed by appeal to a combination of functional analysis and realization, and formation of influential explanatory frameworks in psychology to generate scientific explanation.

Keywords:   deductive nomological model, DN model, capacities, psychological explanation, Carl G. Hempel, Paul Oppenheim, subsumption, natural law, influential explanatory frameworks

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