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Computation, Dynamics, and Cognition$
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Marco Giunti

Print publication date: 1997

Print ISBN-13: 9780195090093

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: November 2020

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780195090093.001.0001

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Galilean Models and Explanations

Galilean Models and Explanations

Chapter:
Three Galilean Models and Explanations
Source:
Computation, Dynamics, and Cognition
Author(s):

Marco Giunti

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/oso/9780195090093.003.0007

Given a natural kind K (for example, mechanical, chemical, biological, cognitive, etc.), I say that a real system is a K -system if and only if it has some K-property. The main goal of this chapter is to analyze a particular type of scientific explanation, which I call a Galilean explanation. This analysis is based on a more general view of scientific explanation, according to which scientific explanations are solutions of problems of a special type. This type of problem essentially consists of two parts: first, considering a certain K-system and, second, setting the goal of scientifically explaining some K -property of this system. A scientific explanation of a K -property of a K -system is an explanation obtained by studying a model of the K -system, and the type of scientific explanation we construct in general depends on the type of model that we are going to study. Galilean explanations are a particular type of scientific explanations, for they are based on the study of models of a special type. I call a model of this special type a Galilean model of a K -system. The next four sections of this chapter explain, exactly, what I mean by a Galilean model of a K-system. A Galilean explanation of a K -property of a K -system is an explanation obtained by studying a Galilean model of the K -system. But if we need to study a Galilean model of the K -system, we must first specify or describe the model in such a way that we are able to use the model for constructing the explanation we seek. Therefore, the problem of constructing a Galilean explanation of a K -property of a K -system presupposes the problem of specifying a Galilean model of the K -system. we will see in section 6 that this second problem is equivalent to that of producing a correct Galilean framework of the K -system. Thus, if our main goal is to produce a Galilean explanation of a particular K -property P of a fixed K -system KRS, we must first construct a correct Galilean framework of KRS. Furthermore, this correct framework must also be P-explanatory, in the sense that it must specify a Galilean model of KRS whose study will then allow us to produce an explanation of the particular K -property P we want to explain.

Keywords:   K-aspect, dependence on a magnitude, function of time, law, magnitude, parameter, structure, generated

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