The theory-ladenness of observations, the role of scientific instruments, and the Kantian a priori

Abstract During the last decades it has become widely accepted that scientific observations are ?theory?laden?. Scientists ?see? the world with their theories or theoretical presuppositions. In the present paper it is argued that they ?see? with their scientific instruments as well, as the uses of scientific instruments is an important characteristic of modern natural science. It is further argued that Euclidean geometry is intimately linked to technology, and hence that it plays a fundamental part in the construction and operation of scientific instruments. Finally, Euclidean geometry is compared to fractal geometry, and the question of its a priori status is raised. Although the position that Euclidean geometry is a priori in the original Kantian sense is untenable, the paper concludes that in some restricted sense Euclidean geometry may be said to be a priori.
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DOI 10.1080/02698599108573399
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Patrick A. Heelan (1998). The Scope of Hermeneutics in Natural Science. Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 29 (2):273-298.

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