The concept of observation in science and philosophy

Philosophy of Science 49 (4):485-525 (1982)

Abstract

Through a study of a sophisticated contemporary scientific experiment, it is shown how and why use of the term 'observation' in reference to that experiment departs from ordinary and philosophical usages which associate observation epistemically with perception. The role of "background information" is examined, and general conclusions are arrived at regarding the use of descriptive language in and in talking about science. These conclusions bring out the reasoning by which science builds on what it has learned, and, further, how that process of building consists not only in adding to our substantive knowledge, but also in increasing our ability to learn about nature, by extending our ability to observe it in new ways. The argument of this paper is thus a step toward understanding how it is that all our knowledge of nature rests on observation

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References found in this work

Testability and Meaning.Henry S. Leonard & Rudolf Carnap - 1937 - Journal of Symbolic Logic 2 (1):49.
Reason, Reference, and the Quest for Knowledge.Dudley Shapere - 1982 - Philosophy of Science 49 (1):1-23.

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Citations of this work

Inference to the Best Explanation.Peter Lipton - 2004 - In Martin Curd & Stathis Psillos (eds.), The Routledge Companion to Philosophy of Science. Routledge. pp. 193.
Old and New Problems in Philosophy of Measurement.Eran Tal - 2013 - Philosophy Compass 8 (12):1159-1173.
Computer Simulation, Measurement, and Data Assimilation.Wendy S. Parker - 2017 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 68 (1):273-304.
Scientific Realism.Richard Boyd - 1984 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy 21 (1&2):767-791.

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