What exactly is stabilized when phenomena are stabilized?

Synthese 182 (1):57-71 (2011)
The last two decades have seen a rising interest in (a) the notion of a scientific phenomenon as distinct from theories and data, and (b) the intricacies of experimentally producing and stabilizing phenomena. This paper develops an analysis of the stabilization of phenomena that integrates two aspects that have largely been treated separately in the literature: one concerns the skills required for empirical work; the other concerns the strategies by which claims about phenomena are validated. I argue that in order to make sense of the process of stabilization, we need to distinguish between two types of phenomena: phenomena as patterns in the data ( surface regularities ) and phenomena as underlying (or hidden ) regularities. I show that the epistemic relationships that data bear to each of these types of phenomena are different: Data patterns are instantiated by individual data, whereas underlying regularities are indicated by individual data, insofar as they instantiate a data pattern. Drawing on an example from memory research, I argue that neither of these two kinds of phenomenon can be stabilized in isolation. I conclude that what is stabilized when phenomena are stabilized is the fit between surface regularities and hidden regularities
Keywords Data  Phenomena  Stabilization  Validation  Bogen/Woodward  Hacking  Epistemology of experimentation
Categories (categorize this paper)
DOI 10.1007/s11229-009-9616-7
 Save to my reading list
Follow the author(s)
Edit this record
My bibliography
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Mark as duplicate
Request removal from index
Revision history
Download options
Our Archive
Through your library
References found in this work BETA
The Structure of Scientific Revolutions.Thomas S. Kuhn - 1962 - University of Chicago Press.
The Structure of Scientific Revolutions.Thomas S. Kuhn - 1962 - University of Chicago Press.
Fact, Fiction, and Forecast.Nelson Goodman - 1955 - Harvard University Press.

View all 13 references / Add more references

Citations of this work BETA
Mutant Mice: Experimental Organisms as Materialised Models in Biomedicine.Lara Huber & Lara K. Keuck - 2013 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C: Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences 44 (3):385-391.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles
Added to PP index

Total downloads
162 ( #29,684 of 2,193,590 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
9 ( #21,373 of 2,193,590 )

How can I increase my downloads?

Monthly downloads
My notes
Sign in to use this feature