ERIC Number: EJ1039685
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2013-Jul
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 33
How Is the Ideal Gas Law Explanatory?
Woody, Andrea I.
Science & Education, v22 n7 p1563-1580 Jul 2013
Using the ideal gas law as a comparative example, this essay reviews contemporary research in philosophy of science concerning scientific explanation. It outlines the inferential, causal, unification, and erotetic conceptions of explanation and discusses an alternative project, the functional perspective. In each case, the aim is to highlight insights from these investigations that are salient for pedagogical concerns. Perhaps most importantly, this essay argues that science teachers should be mindful of the normative and prescriptive components of explanatory discourse both in the classroom and in science more generally. Giving attention to this dimension of explanation not only will do justice to the nature of explanatory activity in science but also will support the development of robust reasoning skills in science students while helping them understand an important respect in which science is more than a straightforward collection of empirical facts, and consequently, science education involves more than simply learning them.
Descriptors: Chemistry, Scientific Concepts, Science Instruction, Science Teachers, Academic Discourse, Thinking Skills, Students, Comprehension, Philosophy
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A