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Studies in the Methodology of Science

Igor Hanzel

The book discusses methodological issues relating to the philosophy of science and the natural and social sciences. It reconstructs the methods of measurement and scientific explanation, the relation of data, phenomena and mechanisms, the problem of theory-ladenness of explanation and the problem of historic explanation. From the sciences chosen for methodological analysis are those of early classical mechanics, early thermodynamics, Bohr’s theory of atom, early quantum mechanics, research into great apes and political economy.
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Chapter 11: Open Problems: Categories, Types of Thought Objects and the Historical Method

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In the previous chapters I dealt in various ways with the scientific, metascientific, and methodological levels of the issue of scientific explanation. Thus, in Chapter 1 I proposed a variety of possible explanation procedures, some of which involved heuristic moments. Even if these procedures differed from one another, still they shared a common feature, namely, that of mediation. For example, Figure 1.3 represented the situation when the derivation of an antecedently given scientific law from an explanans law requires the discovery of modification conditions which can serve as mediating links between the explanans-law and the explanandum-law.

Similarly, in Chapter 2, the whole sequence represented in Figure 2.2 can be viewed as a sequence of mediating links involved in the development of cognition from data to the laws of manifestations and individual manifestations. In Chapter 7 I dealt with Tomasello’s three-phase evolutionary hypothesis, where Phase 2 should serve as a mediating link between Phase 1 and Phase 3. Finally, Chapter 8 reconstructed Marx’s derivation of the various forms of profit as being accomplished on the basis of the law of value plus the introduction of mediating categories like surplus value, constant capital, and variable capital.

Accordingly, I view these explanation procedures as a variety of thought operations, part of which is also the introduction of the respective mediating links. Let me now try to find out what types of thought objects are involved in these various explanation procedures.

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