The epistemology of a spectrometer

Philosophy of Science 61 (1):25-38 (1994)
Abstract
Contrary to the assumptions of empiricist philosophies of science, the theory-laden character of data will not imply the inherent failure (subjectivity, circularity, or rationalization) of instruments to expose nature's secrets. The success of instruments is credited to scientists' capacity to create artificial technological analogs to familiar physical systems. The design of absorption spectrometers illustrates the point: Progress in designing many modern instruments is generated by analogically projecting theoretical insights from known physical systems to unknown terrain. An experimental realism is defended
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