|Speciale, 3. modul, 2004, id:198|
|Findes på RUb:||Ja|
In the present thesis I have intended to investigate explanations in physics and the teaching of physics. It has been my intention to point out som important aspects concerning physical explanations that may prove relevant in the discussion of why it is meaningful generally to teach physics. In order to do this I have been studying the philosophy of science, inparticular Carl G. Hempel, Bas van Fraassen and Nancy Cartwright and their specific views of scientific explanations. I have been able to point out two distinctions related to explanations that I believe are of importance to the teaching of physics and to teh general discussion of why it is important to teach physics. The first distinction stands between nomological esplanations and causal explanations. The other distinction stands between model-related and theory-based explanations on the basis of the terms used by the above three philosophers of science. The distinction between nomological and causal explanations refers to the fact that som explanations operate on a very high level of abstraction ( nomological explanations), whereas others are based on the structure an mechanisms of the phenomenon of interest (causal explanations). The distinction between model-related and theory-based explanations refers to the fact that theory and phenomenon are very closely and deductively related for som explanations (theory-based explanations), while other explanations are in the need for a model of the phenomenon to establish a relation between the theory and the phenomenon (model-related explanations). It is my conception that the attention to these different kinds of explanations are of great importance to the teaching of physics as well as to the discussion of why the teaching of physics is important. On the basis of the distinction between nomological and causale explanations, it will be easier to put more emphasis on teaching the students how to use a method based on abstraction and genereal laws when solving problems. When focusing on the distinctions between model-related and theory-based explanations, it will be easier for the teacher to navigate between the radical conceptions of the relation between theory and nature in general. Based on this, it is my belief that the two distinctions also are of interest to the discusion of why it is important to teach physics. Focusing on what it is possible to learn when working with physical explanations helps making clear that it is possible for the students to learn how to use the nomological method when solving problems and not only the causal method. The distinction between model-related and theory-based explanations points our attention to the fact that through physics, the students are able to get a more differentiated picture of the relation between theory and nature.