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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Causality in science Kampe, Cornelius

Abstract

The concept of causality understood as law-like regularity, pervades science from the applied or practical to the theoretical sciences, from its early days to the present. But, workers like Russell and Hanson have correctly observed that explicit mention of causes tends to disappear in advanced and strictly theoretical sciences like physics and gravitational astronomy. The concept of prediction or explanation in accordance with general laws, replaces the earlier, causal concepts. The limiting form of this process is a science where Hempel-Oppenheim explanation is achieved. Here the controversial symmetry between explanations and predictions, as implied by Hempel's view, does exist even if it does not in a more primitive scientific work. Only quantum mechanics casts doubts on this thesis, but contrary to views advanced by Hanson, the symmetry thesis can be extended into that discipline.

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