The concept of observation in science and philosophy

Philosophy of Science 49 (4):485-525 (1982)
Through a study of a sophisticated contemporary scientific experiment, it is shown how and why use of the term 'observation' in reference to that experiment departs from ordinary and philosophical usages which associate observation epistemically with perception. The role of "background information" is examined, and general conclusions are arrived at regarding the use of descriptive language in and in talking about science. These conclusions bring out the reasoning by which science builds on what it has learned, and, further, how that process of building consists not only in adding to our substantive knowledge, but also in increasing our ability to learn about nature, by extending our ability to observe it in new ways. The argument of this paper is thus a step toward understanding how it is that all our knowledge of nature rests on observation
Keywords No keywords specified (fix it)
Categories (categorize this paper)
DOI 10.1086/289075
 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: 15,879
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
D. Tulodziecki (2007). Breaking the Ties: Epistemic Significance, Bacilli, and Underdetermination. Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C 38 (3):627-641.

View all 32 citations / Add more citations

Similar books and articles
Jerry A. Fodor (1984). Observation Reconsidered. Philosophy of Science 51 (March):23-43.
James Bogen (2002). Experiment and Observation. In Peter K. Machamer & Michael Silberstein (eds.), The Blackwell Guide to the Philosophy of Science. Cambridge: Blackwell 128--148.
Robert Nola (1986). Observation and Growth in Scientific Knowledge. PSA: Proceedings of the Biennial Meeting of the Philosophy of Science Association 1986:245 - 257.
Toby Linden (1992). Shapere on Observation. Philosophy of Science 59 (2):293-299.
Robert Nola (1990). Some Observations on a Popperian Experiment Concerning Observation. Journal for General Philosophy of Science / Zeitschrift für Allgemeine Wissenschaftstheorie 21 (2):329-346.
Jutta Schickore (1999). Sehen, Sichtbarkeit Und Empirische Forschung. Journal for General Philosophy of Science / Zeitschrift für Allgemeine Wissenschaftstheorie 30 (2):273-287.

Monthly downloads

Added to index


Total downloads

163 ( #9,690 of 1,725,164 )

Recent downloads (6 months)

10 ( #64,836 of 1,725,164 )

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.