“Hempel’s views now are often contemptuously described as the ‘received view` meaning the ‘not received by anyone who has read my latest article view`. “

An entry by Prof Michael Ruse on Carl HempelFrom The Oxford Companion to Philosophy. I particularly like the second paragraph…

Hempel, Carl Gustav ( 1905 – 97 ). One of the leaders of the logical empiricist movement in the philosophy of science, which flourished for about three decades after the Second World War, Hempel saw the task of science as that of showing phenomena to be the consequence of unbroken laws . A major implication was the so-called covering-law model of scientific understanding, stressing that there is a symmetry between explanation and prediction, where the only difference is temporal-in the case of explanation, that which you are explaining has already occurred, whereas in the case of prediction, that which you are predicting has yet to occur.

With today’s move from prescriptive philosophy of science to a more descriptive stance, not to mention the switch from an exclusive concern with the physical sciences to a more general interest in such areas as biology and psychology. Hempel’s views now are often contemptuously described as the ‘received view` meaning the ‘not received by anyone who has read my latest article view`. Whether this will prove to be the end of such an approach to science will presumably be the topic of many future Ph.D. theses.

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