SCIENTIFIC EXPLANATION The phenomena of nature and natural sciences’ account laiddown by scientific methods and thinking and knowledge are not just a simpleexplanation of what the world around us is like but instead it is a more of anextensive and systematic description that consists of both empirical and non-empiricalevidence of these phenomena.
According to Hempel, not all “description” and”explanation” are “scientific explanations.Hempel based his criteria on having a set of truepropositions that correspond to facts (E statement)According to Hempel, the relationship can be expressed as: Initialconditions: C1, C2,…..
CnLaws:L1, L2, …, LnExplainedevent: ETo show this how theD-N model works, for example in a situation where event E represent that the leaves fell from the tree. It is possible thatthe initial conditions could be that the weather was windy, it was really hotand dry which weakens the stem and later causes the leaves to fall, change ofseason and when leaves start photosynthesizing. The natural law could be thetemperature rising above 90 degrees or dropping below 0 degrees and pressurefalls below that level. Hempel’s required that every scientific explanationwill 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 morecomplex, Hempel requires more, such as; the laws must have a mechanism, thetruth of all propositions to the scientific explanation must follow deductivelyfrom the proposition in the condition, the terms must have empirical importetc. According toHempel’s scientific explanation criteria, the explanation given by Mayo’sclinic for post-traumatic stress disorder is not a scientific explanation. Iclassify it to be very vague without a solid scientific structure. If at all itis, then it is not a solid one.
The problem I have with Hempel’s criteria andPTSD and most psychological disorders is that according to the DN model ofexplanation, theoretical explanation is not aimed at intuitive and subjectivekind of understanding but an objective kind of insight that is achieved by asystematic unification (Pg. 83). With psychology, you cannot escape thesubjective aspect and probabilities of the field and also the individualisticcases. He saidexplanations and predictions are actually the same and the only difference isin respect to when the particular explanandum occurs. (Sec 5.
2) Then if thatwas the case, It can be said that if the DN is an account of scientificexplanation, therefore anything that can be explained can be equally predicted.That is the part where some issues come in. What about the situations whereby explanationsare scientifically acceptable but do not have natural laws to back them up orexplain them? Hempel will say, “Then they are not scientifically acceptable orexplained.” The same goes for PTSD and the unknown laws The scientificdata and criteria for diagnosing PTSD is not accurate or better still completeaccording to Hempel’s scientific explanation.
It is also missing fundamentalprinciples that necessitate the conditions for “scientific explanation” suchas; an explanation that contains at least one proposition expressing a generalof nature, it also says that the explanandum should not follow from the non-lawfulproposition of the condition alone. The biggest one I think that the PTSDexplanation is missing is that “the law as given in the scientific explanationshould not only be tru but also in fact is/are law(s) of nature according toour best science. Mayo’s clinic explanationsfor PTSD satisfy the deductive aspect of Hepel’s criteria but are weak and didnot necessarily satisfy the nomological part. The data for diagnosing PTSD and mostpsychological disorder does not have background laws that give it the full”scientific explanation.” There is no law for PTSD just assumptions based onsubjectivity and inter-subjectivity.
The methodology of the diagnostic processis weak which somewhat depended on the subjectivity of the psychologist ormedical professional doing the diagnosis. These bring about the question ifnatural science can be applied to all aspects of psychology or if some of theareas in psychology are just plain pseudoscience. Main symptoms ofPTSD like intrusive memory, avoidance, change in emotional reactions can bewell justified by research, brain chemistry and other subjective observationbut other symptoms and causes are no based on fundamental natural laws that wouldmake PTSD scientifically acceptable to Hempel. These methods will not giveprofound result in all cases which jeopardizes the prediction clause ofHempel’s criteria. There are certain correlations but it is not proven to bethe causation.