From rocks to graphs — the shaping of phenomena

Synthese 89 (1):111 - 133 (1991)
Assuming an essential difference between scientific data and phenomena, this paper argues for the view that we have to understand how empirical findings get transformed into scientific phenomena. The work of scientists is seen as largely consisting in constructing these phenomena which are then utilized in more abstract theories. It is claimed that these matters are of importance for discussions of theory choice and progress in science. A case study is presented as a starting point: paleomagnetism and the use of paleomagnetic data in early discussions of continental drift. Some general features of this study are presented in formalized language. It is suggested that the presentation given is particularly suited for a semantic conception of theories. Even though the construction of scientific phenomena is the main topic of this paper, the view presented here is more adapted to realism than social constructivism.
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References found in this work BETA
Clark Glymour (1980). Theory and Evidence. Princeton University Press.
Jim Woodward (1989). Data and Phenomena. Synthese 79 (3):393 - 472.
Citations of this work BETA
Mauricio Suárez & Nancy Cartwright (2007). Theories: Tools Versus Models. Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part B 39 (1):62-81.
O. Bueno (1997). Empirical Adequacy: A Partial Structures Approach. Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 28 (4):585-610.

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