Theory-ladenness of evidence: A case study from history of chemistry


Abstract
This paper attempts to argue for the theory-ladenness of evidence. It does so by employing and analysing an episode from the history of eighteenth century chemistry. It delineates attempts by Joseph Priestley and Antoine Lavoisier to construct entirely different kinds of evidence for and against a particular hypothesis from a set of agreed upon observations or (raw) data. Based on an augmented version of a distinction, drawn by J. Bogen and J. Woodward, between data and phenomena it is shown that the role of theoretical auxiliary assumptions is very important in constructing evidence for (or against) a theory from observation or (raw) data. In revolutionary situations, rival groups hold radically different theories and theoretical auxiliary assumptions. These are employed to construct very different evidence from the agreed upon set of observations or (raw) data. Hence, theory resolution becomes difficult. It is argued that evidence construction is a multi-layered exercise and can be disputed at any level. What counts as unproblematic observation or (raw) data at one level may become problematic at another level. The contingency of these constructions and the (un)problematic nature of evidence are shown to be partially dependent upon the scientific knowledge that the scientific community possesses.
Keywords No keywords specified (fix it)
Categories (categorize this paper)
Options
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Request removal from index
Revision history

Download options

PhilArchive copy


Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy     Papers currently archived: 56,016
External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library

References found in this work BETA

No references found.

Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

No citations found.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles

Analytics

Added to PP index
2009-01-28

Total views
24 ( #430,325 of 2,403,690 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
1 ( #550,229 of 2,403,690 )

How can I increase my downloads?

Downloads

My notes