Newton's experimentum crucis vs. Goethe's series of experiments: Implications for the underdetermination thesis

In the seventeenth century, Newton published his famous experimentum crucis, in which he claimed that light is heterogeneous and is composed of (colored) rays with different refrangibilities. Experiments, especially a crucial experiment, were important for justifying Newton’s theory of light, and eventually his theory of color. Goethe conducted a series of experiments on the nature of color, especially in contradistinction to Newton, and he defended his research with a methodological principle formulated in “Der Versuch als Vermittler.” Goethe’s principle included a series of experiments and resultant higher empirical evidence as mediator between the objective (natural phenomena) and the subjective (theory or hypothesis). Although the notion of experimentum crucis became popular among scientists, even until today, in reconstructing experimental research and for justifying theories, especially for rhetorical purposes, I propose that Newton’s justification of his theory of light and color is best reconstructed in terms of Goethe’s methodological principle. Finally, Goethe’s principle has important consequences for the contemporary philosophical underdetermination thesis.
Keywords No keywords specified (fix it)
Categories (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: 15,914
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

Monthly downloads

Added to index


Total downloads

28 ( #109,559 of 1,725,584 )

Recent downloads (6 months)

7 ( #93,214 of 1,725,584 )

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.