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Finally, a few words about the broader epistemological/ methodological background to the models described below. Many philosophers think of concepts like “explanation”, “law”, “cause”, and “support for counterfactuals” as part of an interrelated Chemical equation family or circle of concepts that are “modal” in character . For familiar “empiricist” reasons, Hempel and many other early defenders of the DN model regarded these concepts as not well understood, at least prior to analysis. It was assumed that it would be “circular” to explain one concept from this family in terms of others from the same family and that they must instead be explicated in terms of other concepts from outside the modal family — Ufology concepts that more obviously satisfied (what were taken to be) empiricist standards of intelligibility and testability. For example, in Hempel's version of the DN model , the notion of a “law” plays a key role in explicating the concept of “explanation”, the assumption being that laws are just regularities that meet certain further conditions that are also acceptable to empiricists. As we shall see, these empiricist standards (and an accompanying unwillingness to employ modal concepts as primitives) have continued to play a central role in the models of explanation developed subsequent to the DN model.
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