David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Ezio Di Nucci
Jack Alan Reynolds
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Erkenntnis 47 (2):217-228 (1997)
Bogen and Woodward claim that the function of scientific theories is to account for 'phenomena', which they describe both as investigator-independent constituents of the world and as corresponding to patterns in data sets. I argue that, if phenomena are considered to correspond to patterns in data, it is inadmissible to regard them as investigator-independent entities. Bogen and Woodward's account of phenomena is thus incoherent. I offer an alternative account, according to which phenomena are investigator-relative entities. All the infinitely many patterns that data sets exhibit have equal intrinsic claim to the status of phenomenon: each investigator may stipulate which patterns correspond to phenomena for him or her. My notion of phenomena accords better both with experimental practice and with the historical development of science.
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Citations of this work BETA
Sabina Leonelli (2012). Classificatory Theory in Data-Intensive Science: The Case of Open Biomedical Ontologies. International Studies in the Philosophy of Science 26 (1):47 - 65.
Rachel A. Ankeny & Sabina Leonelli (2011). What's so Special About Model Organisms? Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 42 (2):313-323.
Boaz Miller (2014). Catching the WAVE: The Weight-Adjusting Account of Values and Evidence. Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 47:69-80.
James F. Woodward (2011). Data and Phenomena: A Restatement and Defense. Synthese 182 (1):165-179.
Jacob Stegenga (2013). Evidence in Biology and the Conditions of Success. Biology and Philosophy 28 (6):981-1004.
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