The status of hypothesis and theory

Nowadays, it is a truism that hypotheses and theories play an essential role in scientific practice. This, however, was far from an obvious given in seventeenth-century British natural philosophy. Different natural philosophers had different views on the role and status of hypotheses and theories, ranging from fierce promotion to bold rejection, and to both they ascribed varying meanings and connotations. The guiding idea of this chapter is that, in seventeenth-century British natural philosophy, the terms ‘hypothesis’/‘hypothetical’ and ‘theory’/‘theoretical’ were imbedded in a semantic network of interconnected epistemological and methodological notions – such as ‘knowledge’, ‘method’, ‘probability’, ‘certainty’, ‘induction’, ‘deduction’, ‘experimental philosophy’, ‘speculative philosophy’, and the like). As these semantic networks changed overtime, the meaning and significance of ‘hypothesis’ and ‘theory’ likewise shifted. Without pretence of completeness, this chapter highlights chronologically some of the defining moments in the semantic transformation of these two terms within the context of seventeenth-century natural philosophy.
Keywords No keywords specified (fix it)
Categories No categories specified
(categorize this paper)
 Save to my reading list
Follow the author(s)
My bibliography
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Revision history Request removal from index
Download options
PhilPapers Archive

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy on self-archival     Papers currently archived: 16,667
External links
Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library
References found in this work BETA

No references found.

Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

No citations found.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles
Louis C. Charland (2002). The Natural Kind Status of Emotion. British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 53 (4):511-37.
Elliott Sober & Steven Hecht Orzack (2003). Common Ancestry and Natural Selection. British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 54 (3):423-437.
D. Evans (2002). The Search Hypothesis of Emotions. British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 53 (4):497-509.
Josh Dever (2006). Compositionality. In Ernest Lepore & Barry Smith (eds.), The Oxford Handbook of Philosophy of Language. Oxford University Press 633--666.
David Braddon-Mitchell (2005). The Subsumption of Reference. British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 56 (1):157-178.
Hylarie Kochiras, Locke's Philosophy of Science. Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.

Monthly downloads

Added to index


Total downloads

21 ( #137,372 of 1,726,249 )

Recent downloads (6 months)

2 ( #289,836 of 1,726,249 )

How can I increase my downloads?

My notes
Sign in to use this feature

Start a new thread
There  are no threads in this forum
Nothing in this forum yet.