Can Theories be Refuted?: Essays on the Duhem-Quine Thesis by Pierre Duhem (auth.), Sandra G. Harding (eds.)

By Pierre Duhem (auth.), Sandra G. Harding (eds.)

According to a view assumed by way of many scientists and philosophers of technology and standardly present in technological know-how textbooks, it really is managed ex­ perience which supplies the root for distinguishing among appropriate and unacceptable theories in technology: applicable theories are these which may move empirical checks. It has frequently been notion definite type of try out is very major: 'crucial experiments' supply assisting empiri­ cal facts for one idea whereas delivering conclusive facts opposed to one other. despite the fact that, in 1906 Pierre Duhem argued that the falsification of a conception is inevitably ambiguous and as a result that there are not any an important experiments; you will by no means make sure it's a given idea instead of auxiliary or historical past hypotheses which test has falsified. w. V. Quine has concurred during this judgment, arguing that "our statements in regards to the exterior global face the tribunal of feel event now not indi­ vidually yet basically as a company body". a few philosophers have proposal that the Duhem-Quine thesis gra­ tuitously increases perplexities. Others see it as doubly major; those philosophers imagine that it presents a base for feedback of the foundational view of information which has ruled a lot of western inspiration considering the fact that Descartes, they usually imagine that it opens the door to a brand new and fruitful approach to conceive of medical development specifically and of the character and progress of information in general.

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CRITICISM OF THE NEWTONIAN METHOD (CONTINUED). SECOND EXAMPLE: ELECTRODYNAMICS Nobody after Newton except Ampere has more clearly declared that all PHYSICAL THEORY AND EXPERIMENT 17 physical theory should be derived from experience by induction only; no work has been more closely modelled after Newton's Philosophiae naturalis Principia mathematica than Ampere's Theorie mathematique des phenomenes electrodynamiques uniquement deduite de l'experience. The epoch marked by the works of Newton in the history of the sciences is not only one of the most important discoveries that man has made concerning the causes of the great phenomena of nature, but it is also the epoch in which the human mind opened a new route in the sciences whose object is the study of these phenomena.

The epoch marked by the works of Newton in the history of the sciences is not only one of the most important discoveries that man has made concerning the causes of the great phenomena of nature, but it is also the epoch in which the human mind opened a new route in the sciences whose object is the study of these phenomena. These are the lines with which Ampere began the exposition of his Theorie mathematique; he continued in the following terms: "Newton was far from thinking" that the law of universal weight could be discovered by starting from more or less plausible abstract considerations.

In order to pass from the experimental law noted to the law stated we play on the word interior. Mraid to base electrostatics on a postulate, we base it on a pun. If we simply turn the pages of the treatises and manuals of physics we can collect any number of fictitious experiments; we should find there abundant illustrations of the various forms that such an experiment can assume, from the merely unperformed experiment to the absurd experiment. Let us not waste time on such a fastidious task. What we have said suffices to warrant the following conclusion: The teaching of physics by the purely inductive method such as Newton defined it is a chimera.

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