How practical know‐how contextualizes theoretical knowledge: Exporting causal knowledge from laboratory to nature

Philosophy of Science 75 (5):707-719 (2008)
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Leading philosophical accounts presume that Thomas H. Morgan’s transmission theory can be understood independently of experimental practices. Experimentation is taken to be relevant to confirming, rather than interpreting, the transmission theory. But the construction of Morgan’s theory went hand in hand with the reconstruction of the chief experimental object, the model organism Drosophila melanogaster . This raises an important question: when a theory is constructed to account for phenomena in carefully controlled laboratory settings, what knowledge, if any, indicates the theory’s relevance to phenomena outside highly controlled settings? The answer, I argue, is found within the procedural knowledge embedded within laboratory practice. †To contact the author, please write to: Minnesota Center for Philosophy of Science, University of Minnesota, Department of Philosophy, 831 Heller Hall, 271 19th Ave., University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN 55455‐0310; e‐mail: [email protected].



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Chapman Waters
Purdue University

References found in this work

Causation.David Lewis - 1973 - Journal of Philosophy 70 (17):556-567.
Explaining Science: A Cognitive Approach. [REVIEW]Jeffrey S. Poland - 1988 - Philosophical Review 100 (4):653-656.
Causes That Make a Difference.C. Kenneth Waters - 2007 - Journal of Philosophy 104 (11):551-579.
1953 and all that. A tale of two sciences.Philip Kitcher - 1984 - Philosophical Review 93 (3):335-373.

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