David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
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Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C 29 (2):317-342 (1998)
My description of the cognitive processes involved in the discovery, development, and acceptance of the bacterial theory of ulcers might have left the impression that science is all in the mind (Thagard, forthcoming-b). But only part of the story of the bacterial theory of ulcers is psychological. This paper discusses the important role of physical interaction with the world by means of instruments and experiments, and the equally important role of social interactions among the medical researchers who developed the theory. The main questions I want to answer are the following: 1. What instruments contributed to the development and acceptance of the new theory? 2. What kinds of experiments contributed to the development and acceptance of the new theory? 3. How did theorizing and experimentation interact in the development of new experiments and hypotheses? 4. How did social processes such as collaboration, communication, and consensus contribute to the development and widespread acceptance of the bacterial theory of ulcers? I conclude with a sketch of science as a complex system of interacting psychological, physical, and social processes.
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