The physicist and philosophy

The central thesis of this paper is that physicists have as much to learn from scientifically oriented philosophy as philosophers have to learn from physics. To begin with, any discussion of basic physical ideas and procedures is bound to be conducted in the light of some philosophy or other. Now, the standard philosophy of physics of our century is operationism. And philosophers, with the help of recent developments in semantics, epistemology and the theory of scientific inference, have shown that operationism is untenable. Thus most physicists are dragging a dead philosophy that may not be of any help in conceiving of new ideas and procedures. This, then, is a first contribution philosophy can make to physics, namely to overhaul its philosophy. A second contribution is to the organization of physics, in particular to the axiomatic reconstruction of physical theories and the analysis and validation of empirical procedures. The various theses and antitheses discussed in the article are illustrated with examples taken from contemporary physics
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DOI 10.1007/BF01801726
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K. R. Popper (1966). Conjectures and Refutations. Les Etudes Philosophiques 21 (3):431-434.

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