The scope, limits, and distinctiveness of the method of 'deduction from the phenomena': Some lessons from Newton's 'demonstrations' in optics

Having been neglected or maligned for most of this century, Newton's method of 'deduction from the phenomena' has recently attracted renewed attention and support. John Norton, for example, has argued that this method has been applied with notable success in a variety of cases in the history of physics and that this explains why the massive underdetermination of theory by evidence, seemingly entailed by hypothetico-deductive methods, is invisible to working physicists. This paper, through a detailed analysis of Newton's deduction of one particular 'proposition' in optics 'from the phenomena', gives a clearer account than hitherto of the method - highlighting the fact that it is really one of deduction from the phenomena plus 'background knowledge'. It argues, that, although the method has certain heuristic virtues, examination of its putative accreditational strengths reveals a range of important problems that its defenders have yet adequately to address
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DOI 10.1093/bjps/51.1.45
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References found in this work BETA

The Scientific Image.Michael Friedman - 1982 - Journal of Philosophy 79 (5):274-283.
The Methodology of Scientific Research Programmes: Philosophical Papers.Imre Lakatos, John Worrall & Gregory Currie - 1979 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 30 (4):381-402.

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Citations of this work BETA

Demonstrative Induction and the Skeleton of Inference.P. D. Magnus - 2008 - International Studies in the Philosophy of Science 22 (3):303-315.
For Universal Rules, Against Induction.John Worrall - 2010 - Philosophy of Science 77 (5):740-753.

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