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Explanatory Irrelevancies. A derivation can satisfy the DN criteria and yet be a defective explanation because it contains irrelevancies besides those associated with the directional features of explanation. Consider an example due to Wesley Salmon (Salmon, Equation editor 1971, p.34):
It is arguable that (L) meets the criteria for lawfulness imposed by Hempel and many other writers. (If one wants to deny that L is a law one needs some principled, generally accepted basis for this judgment and, as explained above, it is unclear what this basis is.) Moreover, (2.5.2) is certainly a sound deductive argument in which L occurs as an essential premise. Nonetheless, most people Scientific software judge that (L ) and (K) are no explanation of E. There are many other similar illustrations. For example (Kyburg 1965), it is presumably a law (or at least an exceptionless, counterfactual supporting generalization) that all samples of table salt that have been hexed by being touched with the wand of a witch dissolve when placed in water. One may use this generalization as a premise in a DN derivation which has as its conclusion that some particular hexed sample of salt has dissolved in water. But again the hexing is irrelevant to the dissolving and such a derivation is no explanation.