Theory-ladenness and scientific instruments in experimentation
David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
Learn more about PhilPapers
Since the late 1950s one of the most important and influential views of post-positivist philosophy of science has been the theory-ladenness of observation. It comes in at least two forms: either as a psychological law pertaining to human perception (whether scientific or not) or as conceptual insight concerning the nature and functioning of scientific language and its meaning. According to its psychological form, perceptions of scientists, as perceptions of humans generally, are guided by prior beliefs and expectations, and perception has a peculiar holist character. In its conceptual form it maintains that scientists’ observations rest on the theories they accept and that the meaning of the observational terms involved depends upon the theoretical context in which they occur. Frequently, these two versions are combined with each other and give rise to a constructivist view of scientific knowledge (I shall use the term “constructivism” roughly in the same way as Golinski [1998, chap. 1]). According to this outlook, our experience is categorized and preconditioned by prior belief since the process of gaining knowledge through science always involves the use of concepts from some theory or other. This view can easily be strengthened to serve as the cornerstone of a constructivist and anti-empiricist account of science: The categories in terms of which we carve up our experience are not read off from the external world but follow from prior theoretical commitments.
|Keywords||No keywords specified (fix it)|
|Categories||categorize this paper)|
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.
Citations of this work BETA
Otávio Bueno (2012). Styles of Reasoning: A Pluralist View. Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 43 (4):657-665.
Similar books and articles
Koray Karaca, Theory Construction and Experimentation in High Energy Particle Physics, Circa 1960-1970.
Harold I. Brown (1987). Observation And Objectivity. Oxford University Press.
Robert Nola (1986). Observation and Growth in Scientific Knowledge. PSA: Proceedings of the Biennial Meeting of the Philosophy of Science Association 1986:245 - 257.
Matthias Adam, Theoriebeladenheit Und Objektivität. Zur Rolle Von Beobachtungen in den Naturwissenschaften.
Jaakko Hintikka (1992). Theory-Ladenness of Observations as a Test Case of Kuhn's Approach to Scientific Inquiry. PSA: Proceedings of the Biennial Meeting of the Philosophy of Science Association 1992:277 - 286.
Marco Buzzoni (1997). Erkenntnistheoretische Und Ontologische Probleme der Theoretischen Begriffe. Journal for General Philosophy of Science 28 (1):19-53.
Michael A. Bishop (1992). Theory-Ladenness of Perception Arguments. PSA: Proceedings of the Biennial Meeting of the Philosophy of Science Association 1992:287 - 299.
Ragnar Fjelland (1991). The Theory-Ladenness of Observations, the Role of Scientific Instruments, and the Kantian a Priori. International Studies in the Philosophy of Science 5 (3):269 – 280.
William F. Brewer & Bruce L. Lambert (2001). The Theory-Ladenness of Observation and the Theory-Ladenness of the Rest of the Scientific Process. Philosophy of Science 3 (September):S176-S186.
Added to index2009-01-28
Total downloads25 ( #65,527 of 1,096,413 )
Recent downloads (6 months)0
How can I increase my downloads?