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By Don Crewe (auth.)

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Additional resources for Becoming Criminal: The Socio-Cultural Origins of Law, Transgression, and Deviance

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Deductive nomological model The DN model of what constitutes an explanation states that an explanatory statement consists of two parts: that which is explained, and that which accounts for the phenomenon being explained – the explanandum and the explanans respectively. According to Hempel (1965: 248) ‘the explanandum must be a logical consequence of the explanans’ and ‘the sentences constituting the explanans must be true’. That is, the deductive quality of the DN explanation must provide that the occurrence of the explanandum must be deductible from the content of the explanans.

If we know the length of the pole casting a shadow and the height of the sun, we can explain and predict the length of the shadow cast by the pole. However, while knowledge of the laws involved allows us to explain why the shadow has a particular length, the same knowledge of laws and measurements in no way explains the length of the pole. We can say the shadow is of x length because the sun is at y height and the pole is of z length, but we cannot say why the pole is of any particular length from our knowledge of the length of the shadow and the height of the sun.

Similarly, if we assume it is untrue we can know nothing of the future by observing the past because there is no required similarity between past and future. In other words there is no logical foundation for our inductive 34 What Is Theory? reasoning and thus induction cannot constitute a necessary attribute of adequate theory. This has led Salmon (1965) to say it would seem that we use inductive methods, not because they enable us to make correct predictions or arrive at true explanations, but simply because we like to use them .

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