SCIENTIFIC EXPLANATION The phenomena of nature and natural sciences’

 

SCIENTIFIC EXPLANATION

The phenomena of nature and natural sciences’ account laid
down by scientific methods and thinking and knowledge are not just a simple
explanation of what the world around us is like but instead it is a more of an
extensive and systematic description that consists of both empirical and non-empirical
evidence of these phenomena. According to Hempel, not all “description” and
“explanation” are “scientific explanations.

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Hempel based his criteria on having a set of true
propositions that correspond to facts (E statement)
According to Hempel, the relationship can be expressed as:

 

Initial
conditions: C1, C2,…..Cn

Laws:
L1, L2, …, Ln

Explained
event: E

To show this how the
D-N model works, for example in a situation where event E represent that the leaves fell from the tree. It is possible that
the initial conditions could be that the weather was windy, it was really hot
and dry which weakens the stem and later causes the leaves to fall, change of
season and when leaves start photosynthesizing. The natural law could be the
temperature rising above 90 degrees or dropping below 0 degrees and pressure
falls below that level. Hempel’s required that every scientific explanation
will be covered by at least one law of nature, and the explanation will then
‘cover’ the initial conditions and the explained event. To get a little more
complex, Hempel requires more, such as; the laws must have a mechanism, the
truth of all propositions to the scientific explanation must follow deductively
from the proposition in the condition, the terms must have empirical import
etc.

   According to
Hempel’s scientific explanation criteria, the explanation given by Mayo’s
clinic for post-traumatic stress disorder is not a scientific explanation. I
classify it to be very vague without a solid scientific structure. If at all it
is, then it is not a solid one. The problem I have with Hempel’s criteria and
PTSD and most psychological disorders is that according to the DN model of
explanation, theoretical explanation is not aimed at intuitive and subjective
kind of understanding but an objective kind of insight that is achieved by a
systematic unification (Pg. 83). With psychology, you cannot escape the
subjective aspect and probabilities of the field and also the individualistic
cases.

   He said
explanations and predictions are actually the same and the only difference is
in respect to when the particular explanandum occurs. (Sec 5.2) Then if that
was the case, It can be said that if the DN is an account of scientific
explanation, therefore anything that can be explained can be equally predicted.
That is the part where some issues come in. What about the situations whereby explanations
are scientifically acceptable but do not have natural laws to back them up or
explain them? Hempel will say, “Then they are not scientifically acceptable or
explained.” The same goes for PTSD and the unknown laws

     The scientific
data and criteria for diagnosing PTSD is not accurate or better still complete
according to Hempel’s scientific explanation. It is also missing fundamental
principles that necessitate the conditions for “scientific explanation” such
as; an explanation that contains at least one proposition expressing a general
of nature, it also says that the explanandum should not follow from the non-lawful
proposition of the condition alone. The biggest one I think that the PTSD
explanation is missing is that “the law as given in the scientific explanation
should not only be tru but also in fact is/are law(s) of nature according to
our best science.  Mayo’s clinic explanations
for PTSD satisfy the deductive aspect of Hepel’s criteria but are weak and did
not necessarily satisfy the nomological part.

  The data for diagnosing PTSD and most
psychological disorder does not have background laws that give it the full
“scientific explanation.” There is no law for PTSD just assumptions based on
subjectivity and inter-subjectivity. The methodology of the diagnostic process
is weak which somewhat depended on the subjectivity of the psychologist or
medical professional doing the diagnosis. These bring about the question if
natural science can be applied to all aspects of psychology or if some of the
areas in psychology are just plain pseudoscience.

   Main symptoms of
PTSD like intrusive memory, avoidance, change in emotional reactions can be
well justified by research, brain chemistry and other subjective observation
but other symptoms and causes are no based on fundamental natural laws that would
make PTSD scientifically acceptable to Hempel. These methods will not give
profound result in all cases which jeopardizes the prediction clause of
Hempel’s criteria. There are certain correlations but it is not proven to be
the causation.