ERIC Number: EJ925128
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2004-Feb
Abstractor: As Provided
Carl Hempel's Philosophy of Science: How to Avoid Epistemic Discontinuity and Pedagogical Pitfalls
Vemulapalli, G. Krishna; Byerly, Henry C.
Science & Education, v13 n1-2 p85-98 Feb 2004
Mathematical theories are essential for explanations in physics, chemistry and engineering. These theories often incorporate functions that are defined by the irrelation to other variables in the theory but not with reference to experimental observations. The wave function in quantum mechanics is perhaps one of the best known example of such function, even though classical theories also provide many examples of such functions. These functions, which seem to hang in thin air disconnected to experimental data, offer a daunting challenge to the instructor. In this article we consider the epistemic status of such functions and a method of introducing them to the students, a method that does not distort the original theory. We build our model for explanation on Hempel's analysis of relation between theory and experiment and refine it further to show their roles in concept formation.
Descriptors: Quantum Mechanics, Concept Formation, Epistemology, Science Education, Science Instruction, Theories, Experiments, Mathematics, Teaching Methods
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: N/A
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