Theory and observation: The experimental nexus

Abstract Philosophical discussions of experiment usually focus exclusively on testing predictions. In this paper I compare G. Morpurgo's experimental test of the Gell?Mann/ Zweig quark hypothesis with two neglected uses of experiment: constructing representations of new phenomena and inventing the instruments that produce such phenomena. These roles are illustrated by J. B. Biot's 1821 observations of electromagnetism and by Michael Faraday's invention of the first electromagnetic motor, also in 1821. The comparison identifies similarities between observation and experiment, showing how both observation and experiment actively engage the natural world and how each engagement shapes representation and subsequent empirical work. This challenges the post?empiricist assumption of the sufficiency of knowing only the outcomes of experiments. I conclude that traditional views of observational access have looked in the wrong place for empirical constraints on theorizing. The active character of observation implies that a realist interpretation of experimenters? discourse should be grounded in the fine structure of experimental practice rather than the supposedly decisive, golden events favoured by hypothetico?deductive methodology
Keywords No keywords specified (fix it)
Categories (categorize this paper)
DOI 10.1080/02698599008573353
 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: 15,974
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

View all 18 references / Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

No citations found.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles

Monthly downloads

Added to index


Total downloads

18 ( #151,097 of 1,725,806 )

Recent downloads (6 months)

1 ( #348,716 of 1,725,806 )

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.