Theory-laden experimentation

Abstract
The thesis of theory-ladenness of observations, in its various guises, is widely considered as either ill-conceived or harmless to the rationality of science. The latter view rests partly on the work of the proponents of New Experimentalism who have argued, among other things, that experimental practices are efficient in guarding against any epistemological threat posed by theory-ladenness. In this paper I show that one can generate a thesis of theory-ladenness for experimental practices from an influential New Experimentalist account. The notion I introduce for this purpose is the concept of ‘theory-driven data reliability judgments’, according to which theories which are sought to be tested with a particular set of data guide reliability judgments about those very same data. I provide various prominent historical examples to show that TDRs are used by scientists to resolve data conflicts. I argue that the rationality of the practices which employ TDRs can be saved if the independent support of the theories driving TDRs is construed in a particular way
Keywords Theoretical virtues  Theory-ladenness  Experiment
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DOI 10.1016/j.shpsa.2012.07.010
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References found in this work BETA
Two Dogmas of Empiricism.Willard V. O. Quine - 1951 - Philosophical Review 60 (1):20–43.
Observation Reconsidered.Jerry A. Fodor - 1984 - Philosophy of Science 51 (March):23-43.
Explanatory Unification.Philip Kitcher - 1981 - Philosophy of Science 48 (4):507-531.
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Citations of this work BETA
The Kuhnian Mode of HPS.Samuel Schindler - 2013 - Synthese 190 (18):4137-4154.
Novelty, Coherence, and Mendeleev’s Periodic Table.Samuel Schindler - 2014 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 45 (1):62-69.
What Counts as Scientific Data? A Relational Framework.Sabina Leonelli - 2015 - Philosophy of Science 82 (5):810-821.

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