Feyerabend, brownian motion, and the hiddenness of refuting facts

Philosophy of Science 44 (2):225-247 (1977)

Authors
Ronald Laymon
Ohio State University
Abstract
In this paper, I will develop a nontrivial interpretation of Feyerabend's concept of a hidden anomalous fact. Feyerabend's claim is that some anomalous facts will remain hidden in the absence of alternatives to the theories to be tested. The case of Brownian motion is given by Feyerabend to support this claim. The essential scientific difficulty in this case was the justification of correct and relevant descriptions of Brownian motion. These descriptions could not be simply determined from the available observational data. An examination, however, of this case shows that no alternative theory is or historically was thought to be necessary in order to justify descriptions of Brownian motion that "directly" refutre thermodynamics. While Feyerabend's appraisal of this case therefore is incorrect, a sense is developed in which successful alternatives lend inductive support to the correctness of refuting experimental descriptions. Crucial though to the explanation of this support is the notion of arguments that show the possibilities for improving experimental fit
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DOI 10.1086/288740
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Paul Feyerabend Und Thomas Kuhn.Paul Hoyningen-Huene - 2002 - Journal for General Philosophy of Science / Zeitschrift für Allgemeine Wissenschaftstheorie 33 (1):61-83.
Substitutional Quantification and Mathematics. [REVIEW]Charles Parsons - 1982 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 33 (4):409-421.
Experimentation and the Legitimacy of Idealization.Ronald Laymon - 1995 - Philosophical Studies 77 (2-3):353 - 375.
Feyerabend on Observation and Empirical Content. [REVIEW]Elie Zahar - 1982 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 33 (4):397-408.

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