Abstract
It is a widely shared view among philosophers of science that the theory-dependence (or theory-ladenness) of observations is worrying, because it can bias empirical tests in favour of the tested theories. These doubts are taken to be dispelled if an observation is influenced by a theory independent of the tested theory and thus circularity is avoided, while (partially) circular tests are taken to require special attention. Contrary to this consensus, it is argued that the epistemic value of theory-dependent tests has nothing to do with the circularity or non-circularity of the test, but is instead based on the minimal empiricality and reliability of observations. Since theory-dependence does not in general prevent observations fulfilling these requirements, it should not be regarded as a phenomenon that is basically detrimental, but as neutral with respect to successful scientific knowledge gathering.
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DOI 10.1080/0269859042000296486
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References found in this work BETA

The Fate of Knowledge.Helen E. Longino - 2001 - Princeton University Press.
Representing and Intervening.Ian Hacking - 1984 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 35 (4):381-390.
Saving the Phenomena.James Bogen & James Woodward - 1988 - Philosophical Review 97 (3):303-352.
Representing and Intervening.Ian Hacking - 1987 - Revue de Métaphysique et de Morale 92 (2):279-279.
Representing and Intervening.Adam Morton - 1986 - Philosophical Review 95 (4):606-611.

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Citations of this work BETA

Ostensive Learnability as a Test Criterion for Theory-Neutral Observation Concepts.Gerhard Schurz - 2015 - Journal for General Philosophy of Science / Zeitschrift für Allgemeine Wissenschaftstheorie 46 (1):139-153.
Two Notions of Scientific Justification.Matthias Adam - 2007 - Synthese 158 (1):93 - 108.
Perception: Mirror-Image or Action?Anna Storozhuk - 2007 - Journal for General Philosophy of Science / Zeitschrift für Allgemeine Wissenschaftstheorie 38 (2):369-382.

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