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On Why-Questions in Physics

Székely, Gergely (2008) On Why-Questions in Physics. [Preprint]


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In natural sciences, the most interesting and relevant questions are the so-called why-questions. There are several different approaches to why-questions and explanations in the literature, however, most of the literature deals with why-questions about particular events, such as ``Why did Adam eat the apple?''. Even the best known theory of explanation, Hempel's covering law model, is designed for explaining particular events. Here we only deal with purely theoretical why-questions about general phenomena of physics, for instance ``Why can no observer move faster than light?'' or ``Why are Kepler's laws valid?''. Here we are not going to develop a whole new theory of why-questions in physics. We will just touch upon some ideas and examples relevant to our subject.

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Item Type: Preprint
Székely, Gergely
Additional Information: to appear in the proceedings of the conference "Wiener Kreis und Ungarn"
Keywords: why-questions, physics, relativity
Subjects: General Issues > Laws of Nature
General Issues > Explanation
Specific Sciences > Physics > Relativity Theory
Depositing User: Gergely Székely
Date Deposited: 04 May 2009
Last Modified: 07 Oct 2010 15:17
Item ID: 4600

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