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  1. Unobservability of Short-Lived Particles: Ground for Skepticism About Observational Claims in Elementary Particle Physics.Marcoen J. T. F. Cabbolet - manuscript
    The physics literature contains many claims that elementary particles have been observed: such observational claims are, of course, important for the development of existential knowledge. Regarding claimed observations of short-lived unstable particles in particular, the use of the word 'observation' is based on the convention in physics that the observation of a short-lived unstable particle can be claimed when its predicted decay products have been observed with a significance of 5 sigma. This paper, however, shows that this 5 sigma convention (...)
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  2. Expanding the Empirical Realm: Constructive Empiricism and Augmented Observation.Finnur Dellsén - forthcoming - In Michael Frauchiger (ed.), Themes from van Fraassen (Lauener Library of Analytical Philosophy). De Gruyter.
    Manifestationalism holds that science aims only to give us theories that are correct about what has been observed thus far. Several philosophers, including Bas van Fraassen, have argued that manifestationalism cannot make sense of the scientific impetus to make new observations, since such observations only risk turning manifestationally adequate theories into inadequate ones. This paper argues that a strikingly similar objection applies to van Fraassen’s own constructive empiricism, the view that science aims only to find theories that are empirically adequate. (...)
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  3. Magnifying Grains of Sand, Seeds, and Blades of Grass: Optical Effects in Robert Grosseteste’s De Iride (On the Rainbow).Rebekah C. White, Giles E. M. Gasper, Tom C. B. McLeish, Brian K. Tanner, Joshua S. Harvey, Sigbjørn O. Sønnesyn, Laura K. Young & Hannah E. Smithson - 2021 - Isis 112 (1):93-107.
  4. How to Study Animal Minds.Kristin Andrews - 2020 - Cambridge University Press.
    Comparative psychology, the multidisciplinary study of animal behavior and psychology, confronts the challenge of how to study animals we find cute and easy to anthropomorphize, and animals we find odd and easy to objectify, without letting these biases negatively impact the science. In this Element, Kristin Andrews identifies and critically examines the principles of comparative psychology and shows how they can introduce other biases by objectifying animal subjects and encouraging scientists to remain detached. Andrews outlines the scientific benefits of treating (...)
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  5. Experiment and Quantification of Weight: Late-Renaissance and Early Modern Medical, Mineralogical and Chemical Discussions on the Weights of Metals.Silvia Manzo - 2020 - Early Science and Medicine 25 (4):388-412.
    This paper explores how a set of observations on the weight of lead were interpreted and assessed between the 1540s and the 1630s across three different interconnecting disciplines: medicine, mineralogy and chemistry. The epistemic import of these discussions will be demonstrated by showing: 1) the changing role and articulation of experience and quantification in the investigation of metals; and 2) the notions associated with weight in different disciplinary frameworks. In medicine and mineralogy, weight was not considered as a specific subject (...)
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  6. Kusch and van Fraassen on Microscopic Experience.Alessio Gava - 2019 - Revista Latinoamericana de Filosofia 45 (1):7-31.
    Martin Kusch has recently defended Bas van Fraassen’s controversial view on microscopes, according to which these devices are not ‘windows on an invisible world’, but rather ‘image generators’. The two authors also claim that, since in a microscopic detection it is not possible to empirically investigate the geometrical relations between all the elements involved, one is entitled to maintain an agnostic stance about the reality of the entity allegedly represented by the produced image. In this paper I argue that, contrary (...)
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  7. Van Fraassen, a inferência da melhor explicação e a Matrix realista.Alessio Gava - 2019 - Problemata 10 (1):267-283.
    In a recent work published in this journal, “Van Fraassen e a inferência da melhor explicação” (2016), Minikoski and Rodrigues da Silva identify four critical lines proposed by Bas van Fraassen against the form of abductive reasoning known as ‘inference to the best explanation’ (IBE). The first one, put forward by the Dutch philosopher in his seminal book The Scientific Image (1980), concerns the distinction between observable and unobservable entities. Minikoski and Rodrigues da Silva consider that the distinction is of (...)
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  8. Uma reflexão sobre o objeto de uma percepção ‘bem sucedida’.Alessio Gava - 2017 - Aufklärung 4 (3):89-100.
    Observation and observability represent a crucial topic in the philosophy of science, as the huge production of papers and books on the subject attests. Philosophy of perception, on the other hand, is a field of study that took root effectively in the last decades. Even then, apparently, the main theories on observation have neglected the issue of determining which is the object of a successful perception. As a consequence, some theses that have recently been proposed are actually paradoxical, despite deriving (...)
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  9. Why van Fraassen Should Amend His Position on Instrument-Mediated Detections.Alessio Gava - 2016 - Analysis and Metaphysics 15:55–76.
    Constructive empiricism is a prominent anti-realist position whose aim is to make sense of science. As is well known, it also crucially depends on the distinction between what is observable and what scientific theories postulate but is unobservable to us. Accordingly, adopting an adequate notion of observability is in order, on pain of failing to achieve the goal of grasping science and its aim. Bas van Fraassen, the originator of constructive empiricism, identifies observation with unaided (at least in principle) human (...)
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  10. On the Definition of Observation as Justified True Perception.Alessio Gava - 2015 - Scientiae Studia 13 (1):123-141.
    The primacy of the act of observation, one of the hallmarks of empiricism, found new life in the centrality of the distinction, made in Bas van Fraassen's constructive empiricism, between observable and unobservable. As Elliott Sober have pointed out, however, it is not clear what van Fraassen understands by observing an object. Worse, the Dutch philosopher does not seem to consider that a clarification of this point is necessary. This, of course, represents an important lacuna in a position generally considered (...)
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  11. Por uma reformulação do empirismo construtivo a partir de uma reavaliação do conceito de observabilidade.Alessio Gava - 2015 - Dissertation, Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais
    The concept of observability is of key importance for a consistent defense of Constructive Empiricism. This anti-realist position, originally presented in 1980 by Bas van Fraassen in his book The Scientific Image, crucially depends on the observable/unobservable dichotomy. Nevertheless, the question of what it means to observe has been faced in an unsatisfactory and inadequate manner by van Fraassen and this represents an important lacuna in his philosophical position. The aim of this work is to propose a characterization of the (...)
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  12. Consequências para o empirismo construtivo da adoção de um padrão internalista na caracterização do processo de observação.Alessio Gava - 2015 - In Fátima R. Évora Marcelo Carvalho Jr (ed.), Filosofia da Ciência e da Natureza. Coleção XVI Encontro ANPOF. São Paulo, Brazil: ANPOF. pp. 239-250.
    Discutindo acerca das centenas de detecções de planetas extrassolares, que supostamente aconteceram desde 1989 e que ele considera (incorretamente) como instâncias de observações, Peter Kosso disse, justamente, que segundo os parâmetros de Bas van Fraassen esses objetos celestes seriam observáveis. Ora, tais astros poderiam sem dúvida ser observados diretamente (sem a necessidade de instrumentos), nas condições apropriadas. Mas, acrescenta Kosso, “esse tipo de epistemologia externalista, que permite que a justificação se baseie em informação que não temos a disposição (nós não (...)
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  13. Perception and Observation Unladened.Ioannis Votsis - 2015 - Philosophical Studies 172 (3):563-585.
    Let us call ‘veridicalism’ the view that perceptual beliefs and observational reports are largely truthful. This paper aims to make a case for veridicalism by, among other things, examining in detail and ultimately deflating in import what many consider to be the view’s greatest threat, the so-called ‘theory-ladenness’ of perception and/or observation. In what follows, it is argued that to the extent that theoretical factors influence the formation of perceptual beliefs and observational reports, as theory-ladenness demands, that influence is typically (...)
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  14. Theory-Ladenness Special Issue: Introduction.Ioannis Votsis, Michela Tacca & Gerhard Schurz - 2015 - Journal for General Philosophy of Science / Zeitschrift für Allgemeine Wissenschaftstheorie 46 (1):83-86.
    Are sensory experiences, perceptual beliefs and observation reports faithful encoders of truthful information about the world? The theory-ladenness thesis poses an important challenge to answering this question in the affirmative. Roughly the thesis holds that theoretical factors affect the content of those experiences, beliefs and reports. In other words, it holds that their content is laden with theory. Theoretical factors here are construed broadly so as to include scientific theories, beliefs and cognitive processes. Two crucial questions arise in relation to (...)
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  15. Hermann von Helmholtz's Empirico-Transcendentalism Reconsidered: Construction and Constitution in Helmholtz's Psychology of the Object.Liesbet de Kock - 2014 - Science in Context 27 (4):709-44.
    This paper aims at contributing to the ongoing efforts to get a firmer grasp of the systematic significance of the entanglement of idealism and empiricism in Helmholtz's work. Contrary to existing analyses, however, the focal point of the present exposition is Helmholtz's attempt to articulate a psychological account of objectification. Helmholtz's motive, as well as his solution to the problem of the object are outlined, and interpreted against the background of his scientific practice on the one hand, and that of (...)
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  16. Do Constructive Empiricists See Paramecia Too?Alessio Gava - 2014 - Prolegomena 13:291-302.
    According to Bas van Fraassen, a postulated entity which can only be detected by means of some instrument should not be considered observable. In this paper I argue that (1) this is not correct; (2) someone can be a constructive empiricist, adhering to van Fraassen’s famous anti-realist position, even admitting that many entities only detectable with a microscope are observable. The case of the paramecium, a very well-known single-celled organism, is particularly instructive in this respect. I maintain that we actually (...)
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  17. Data Interpretation in the Digital Age.Sabina Leonelli - 2014 - Perspectives on Science 22 (3):397-417.
    Scientific knowledge production is currently affected by the dissemination of data on an unprecedented scale. Technologies for the automated production and sharing of vast amounts of data have changed the way in which data are handled and interpreted in several scientific domains, most notably molecular biology and biomedicine. In these fields, the activity of data gathering has become increasingly technology-driven, with machines such as next generation genome sequencers and mass spectrometers generating billions of data points within hours, and with little (...)
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  18. Constructive Empiricism: Normative or Descriptive?Moti Mizrahi - 2014 - International Journal of Philosophical Studies 22 (4):604-616.
    In this paper, I argue that Constructive Empiricism (CE) is ambiguous between two interpretations: CE as a normative epistemology of science and CE as a descriptive philosophy of science. When they present CE, constructive empiricists write as if CE is supposed to be more than a normative epistemology of science and that it is meant to be responsible to actual scientific practices. However, when they respond to objections, constructive empiricists fall back on a strictly normative interpretation of CE. This ambiguity (...)
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  19. On Two Mathematical Definitions of Observational Equivalence: Manifest Isomorphism and Epsilon-Congruence Reconsidered.Christopher Belanger - 2013 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part B: Studies in History and Philosophy of Modern Physics 44 (2):69-76.
    In this article I examine two mathematical definitions of observational equivalence, one proposed by Charlotte Werndl and based on manifest isomorphism, and the other based on Ornstein and Weiss’s ε-congruence. I argue, for two related reasons, that neither can function as a purely mathematical definition of observational equivalence. First, each definition permits of counterexamples; second, overcoming these counterexamples will introduce non-mathematical premises about the systems in question. Accordingly, the prospects for a broadly applicable and purely mathematical definition of observational equivalence (...)
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  20. A imagem reversa da observação.Alessio Gava - 2013 - Perspectiva Filosófica 1 (39):111-122.
    The problem of the justification of inductive inferences, also known as ‘Hume’s problem’, seems to have lost strength since the early 20th century, following several authors’ denial that induction is the method of science. Van Fraassen went beyond this denial and recently stated that induction does not exist. It is our aim to show that, in order to bring forward a coherent vision of science, in his reconstruction it is the observable (a crucial term for his Constructive Empiricism) that is (...)
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  21. Photographic Evidence and the Problem of Theory-Ladenness.Nicola Mößner - 2013 - Journal for General Philosophy of Science / Zeitschrift für Allgemeine Wissenschaftstheorie 44 (1):111–125.
    Scientists use visualisations of different kinds in a variety of ways in their scientific work. In the following article, we will take a closer look at the use of photographic pictures as scientific evidence. In accordance with Patrick Maynard’s thesis, photography will be regarded as a family of technologies serving different purposes in divergent contexts. One of these is its ability to detect certain phenomena. Nonetheless, with regard to the philosophical thesis of theory-ladenness of observation, we encounter certain reservations concerning (...)
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  22. Observing by Hand: Sketching the Nebulae in the Nineteenth Century.Omar W. Nasim - 2013 - University of Chicago Press.
    Today we are all familiar with the iconic pictures of the nebulae produced by the Hubble Space Telescope’s digital cameras. But there was a time, before the successful application of photography to the heavens, in which scientists had to rely on handmade drawings of these mysterious phenomena. Observing by Hand sheds entirely new light on the ways in which the production and reception of handdrawn images of the nebulae in the nineteenth century contributed to astronomical observation. Omar W. Nasim investigates (...)
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  23. Experiment, Observation, Self-Observation.Carsten Zelle - 2013 - Early Science and Medicine 18 (4-5):453-470.
    This article aims to analyze the mechanisms of empirical data collection in medicine and psychology in the early Enlightenment by means of experiment, observation and self-observation, while associating them with their discursive forms of representation; namely, the case narrative. The combination of empirical and discursive anthropo-techniques leads to explanations on the anthropoietics of the Enlightenment; i.e., the question of how the habitus of man was shaped around 1750. Texts of four German ‘reasonable physicians’ will be considered: Friedrich Hoffmann, Johann Gottlieb (...)
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  24. Making the Visual Visible in Philosophy of Science.Annamaria Carusi - 2012 - Spontaneous Generations 6 (1):106-114.
    As data-intensive and computational science become increasingly established as the dominant mode of conducting scientific research, visualisations of data and of the outcomes of science become increasingly prominent in mediating knowledge in the scientific arena. This position piece advocates that more attention should be paid to the epistemological role of visualisations beyond their being a cognitive aid to understanding, but as playing a crucial role in the formation of evidence for scientific claims. The new generation of computational and informational visualisations (...)
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  25. Introduction: Making Sense of Data-Driven Research in the Biological and Biomedical Sciences.S. Leonelli - 2012 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C: Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences 43 (1):1-3.
  26. What Are the Phenomena of Physics?Brigitte Falkenburg - 2011 - Synthese 182 (1):149-163.
    Depending on different positions in the debate on scientific realism, there are various accounts of the phenomena of physics. For scientific realists like Bogen and Woodward, phenomena are matters of fact in nature, i.e., the effects explained and predicted by physical theories. For empiricists like van Fraassen, the phenomena of physics are the appearances observed or perceived by sensory experience. Constructivists, however, regard the phenomena of physics as artificial structures generated by experimental and mathematical methods. My paper investigates the historical (...)
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  27. N. R. Hanson: Observation, Discovery, And Scientific Change. [REVIEW]Jutta Schickore - 2011 - Isis 102:593-594.
  28. The Chemical Characterization of the Gene: Vicissitudes of Evidential Assessment.Jacob Stegenga - 2011 - History and Philosophy of the Life Sciences 33 (1):105-127.
    The chemical characterization of the substance responsible for the phenomenon of “transformation” of pneumococci was presented in the now famous 1944 paper by Avery, MacLeod, and McCarty. Reception of this work was mixed. Although interpreting their results as evidence that deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) is the molecule responsible for genetic changes was, at the time, controversial, this paper has been retrospectively celebrated as providing such evidence. The mixed and changing assessment of the evidence presented in the paper was due to the (...)
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  29. Imaging Technology and the Philosophy of Causality.Jon Williamson - 2011 - Philosophy and Technology 24 (2):115-136.
    Russo and Williamson (Int Stud Philos Sci 21(2):157–170, 2007) put forward the thesis that, at least in the health sciences, to establish the claim that C is a cause of E, one normally needs evidence of an underlying mechanism linking C and E as well as evidence that C makes a difference to E. This epistemological thesis poses a problem for most current analyses of causality which, in virtue of analysing causality in terms of just one of mechanisms or difference (...)
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  30. Complementary Frameworks of Scientific Inquiry: Hypothetico-Deductive, Hypothetico-Inductive, and Observational-Inductive.T. E. Eastman & F. Mahootian - 2009 - World Futures 65 (1):61-75.
    The 20th century philosophy of science began on a positivistic note. Its focal point was scientific explanation and the hypothetico-deductive (HD) framework of explanation was proposed as the standard of what is meant by “science.” HD framework, its inductive and statistical variants, and other logic-based approaches to modeling scientific explanation were developed long before the dawn of the information age. Since that time, the volume of observational data and power of high performance computing have increased by several orders of magnitude (...)
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  31. Everyday Practice of Science: Where Intuition and Passion Meeting Objectivity and Logic.Frederick Grinnell - 2009 - New York, USA: Oxford University Press.
    This book describes how scientists bring their own interests and passions to their work, illustrates the dynamics between researchers and the research community ...
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  32. Why Was M. S. Tswett’s Chromatographic Adsorption Analysis Rejected?Jonathan Livengood - 2009 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 40 (1):57-69.
    The present paper claims that M. S. Tswett’s chromatographic adsorption analysis, which today is a ubiquitous and instrumentally sophisticated chemical technique, was either ignored or outright rejected by chemists and botanists in the first three decades of the twentieth century because it did not make sense in terms of accepted chemical theory or practice. Evidence for this claim is culled from consideration of the botanical and chemical context of Tswett’s technique as well as an analysis of the protracted debate over (...)
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  33. Observation and Experiment in Mechanistic Anatomy.Domenico Bertoloni Meli & Rebecca Wilkin - 2008 - Early Science and Medicine 13 (6):531-532.
  34. Experience Becoming Fully Literate. Van Fraassen on the Verge of Constructivism.Marie I. Kaiser, Raja Rosenhagen & Christian Suhm - 2006 - In A. Berg-Hildebrandt & C. Suhm (eds.), The Philosophy of Bas C. van Fraassen. Frankfurt/Main, GER: ontos. pp. 69-79.
    The observable/unobservable distinction, realistically construed, is a feature which lies at the very heart of van Fraassen’s constructive empiricism. The aim of this paper is to approach it by taking a close look at van Fraassen’s concept of observation. We will argue that if van Fraassen’s most recent writings about “literate experience”, especially his remarks on the status of observation reports and his general a-metaphysical stance, are taken into account, his realistic interpretation of the observable/unobservable distinction paves the road for (...)
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  35. The Development of the Intention Concept: From the Observable World to the Unobservable Mind.Jodie A. Baird & Janet Wilde Astington - 2005 - In Ran R. Hassin, James S. Uleman & John A. Bargh (eds.), The New Unconscious. Oxford Series in Social Cognition and Social Neuroscience. Oxford University Press.
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  36. Direct Observation and Unambiguous Inference.Michael Knapp & Warren Ewens - 2005 - Biology and Philosophy 20 (4):925-926.
    In science, it sometimes occurs that an event is directly observed, and on other occasions that it is not directly observed but one can make the unambiguous inference that it has occurred. Is there any difference concerning the analysis of data arising from these two situations? In this note we show that there is such a difference in one case arising frequently in genetics. The difference derives from the fact that the ability to make the unambiguous inference arises only from (...)
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  37. Early Conceptualizations of the Telescope as an Optical Instrument.Antoni Malet - 2005 - Early Science and Medicine 10 (2):237-262.
    This article focuses on some theoretical developments prompted by the use and construction of telescopes in the first half of the seventeenth century. It argues that today's notion of "scientific instrument" cannot be used to categorize these optical devices or explain their impact on natural philosophy. The article analyzes in historical terms the construction of conceptual references for the telescope as an instrument of a new kind, which possessed capabilities and working principles unlike those of traditional "mathematical instruments." It shows (...)
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  38. La Observación Científica En El Proceso de Contrastación de Hipótesis Y Teorías (Scientific Observation in the Process of Testing Hypotheses and Theories).Juan Vázquez - 2004 - Theoria 19 (1):77-95.
    En este trabajo se plantea, en primer lugar, la conveniencia de distinguir en el proceso de la contrastación empirica de hipótesis y teorías entre observación cientifíca y percepción y, en segundo lugar, se muestra como el munda procesado a través de la percepción se erige en base o soporte empírico del conocimiento científico. Una de las consecuencias del trabajo es que Ia tesis de “la carga teórica" de Ia observación ha sido mal planteada, al dar par sentado que esa carga (...)
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  39. Nick Bostrom: Anthropic Bias: Observation Selection Effects in Science and Philosophy. [REVIEW]Christian Wüthrich - 2004 - Philosophy of Science 71 (2):230-232.
  40. Kepler and the Telescope.Antoni Malet - 2003 - Annals of Science 60 (2):107-136.
    There is an uncanny unanimity about the founding role of Kepler's Dioptrice in the theory of optical instruments and for classical geometric optics generally. It has been argued, however, that for more than fifty years optical theory in general, and Dioptrice in particular, was irrelevant for the purposes of telescope making. This article explores the nature of Kepler's achievement in his Dioptrice . It aims to understand the Keplerian 'theory' of the telescope in its own terms, and particularly its links (...)
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  41. Book Review: Anthropic Bias: Observation Selection Effects in Science and Philosophy. By Nick Bostrom. Routledge, New York and London, 2002, Xiii+224 Pp., $70 (Hardcover). ISBN 0-415-93858-9. [REVIEW]Milan M. Ćirković - 2002 - Foundations of Physics 32 (11):1797-1801.
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  42. Error Types.Douglas Allchin - 2001 - Perspectives on Science 9 (1):38-58.
    : Errors in science range along a spectrum from those relatively local to the phenomenon (usually easily remedied in the laboratory) to those more conceptually derived (involving theory or cultural factors, sometimes quite long-term). One may classify error types broadly as material, observational, conceptual or discoursive. This framework bridges philosophical and sociological perspectives, offering a basis for interfield discourse. A repertoire of error types also supports error analytics, a program for deepening reliability through strategies for regulating and probing error.
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  43. Testability.Elliott Sober - 1999 - Proceedings and Addresses of the American Philosophical Association 73 (2):47-76.
    That some propositions are testable, while others are not, was a fundamental idea in the philosophical program known as logical empiricism. That program is now widely thought to be defunct. Quine’s (1953) “Two Dogmas of Empiricism” and Hempel’s (1950) “Problems and Changes in the Empiricist Criterion of Meaning” are among its most notable epitaphs. Yet, as we know from Mark Twain’s comment on an obituary that he once had the pleasure of reading about himself, the report of a death can (...)
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  44. Observational Concomitance.Paul Needham - 1996 - In R. Sliwinski and J. Österberg S. Lindström (ed.), Odds and Ends: Philosophical Essays Dedicated to Wlodek Rabinowicz on the occasion of his 50th birthday. Uppsala,: pp. 285-298.
  45. Experimental Evidence Vs. Experimental Practice? [REVIEW]J. E. Tiles - 1992 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 43 (1):99-109.
  46. From Vicious Circle to Infinite Regress, and Back Again.Bas C. van Fraassen - 1992 - PSA: Proceedings of the Biennial Meeting of the Philosophy of Science Association 1992:6-29.
    The attempt to formulate a viable empiricist and non-foundationalist epistemology of science faces four problems here confronted. The first is an apparent loss of objectivity in science, in the conditions of use of models in applied science. The second derives from the theory-infection of scientific language, with an apparent loss of objective conditions of truth and reference. The third, often cited as objection to The Scientific Image, is the apparent theory-dependence of the distinction between what is and is not observable. (...)
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  47. Observation, Experiment, and Hypothesis in Modern Physical Science by Peter Achinstein; Owen Hannaway. [REVIEW]Ian Hacking - 1986 - Isis 77:692-693.
  48. Observation: Theory-Laden, Theory-Neutral or Theory-Free?William A. Rottschaefer - 1976 - Southern Journal of Philosophy 14 (4):499-509.
  49. Feigl on Raw Feels, the Brain, and Knowledge Claims: Some Problems Regarding Theoretical Concepts.Paul Tibbetts - 1972 - Dialectica 26 (3‐4):247-66.
  50. The Theory-Ladenness of Observation.Carl R. Kordig - 1971 - Review of Metaphysics 24 (3):448 - 484.
    Feyerabend claims that what is perceived depends upon what is believed ; and he maintains that among really efficient alternative theories "each theory will possess its own experience, and there will be no overlap between these experiences". According to Feyerabend "scientific theories are ways of looking at the world; and their adoption affects our general beliefs and expectations, and thereby also our experiences...". Toulmin, Hanson, and Kuhn concur with this view. Toulmin claims that men who accept different "ideals" and "paradigms" (...)
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