The paper examines differences of styles of experimentation in the history of science. It presents arguments for a historization of our historial and philosophical notion of "experimentation," which question the common view that "experimental philosophy" was the only style of experimentation in the eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries. It argues, in particular, that "experimentalhistory" and technological inquiry were accepted styles of academic experimentation at the time. These arguments are corroborated by a careful analysis of a (...) case study, which is embedded in a comparative historical overview. (shrink)
In the early eighteenth century, chemistry became the main academic locus where, in Francis Bacon's words, Experimenta lucifera were performed alongside Experimenta fructifera and where natural philosophy was coupled with natural history and 'experimentalhistory' in the Baconian and Boyleian sense of an inventory and exploration of the extant operations of the arts and crafts. The Dutch social and political system and the institutional setting of the university of Leiden endorsed this empiricist, utilitarian orientation toward the sciences, (...) which was forcefully propagated by one of the university's most famous representatives in the first half of the eighteenth century, the professor of medicine, botany and chemistry Herman Boerhaave. Recent historical investigations on Boerhaave's chemistry have provided important insights into Boerhaave's religious background, his theoretical and philosophical goals, and his pedagogical agenda. But comparatively little attention has been paid to the chemical experiments presented in Boerhaave's famous chemical textbook, the Elementa chemiae, and to the question of how these experiments relate not only to experimental philosophy but also to experimentalhistory and natural history, and to contemporary utilitarianism. I argue in this essay that Boerhaave shared a strong commitment to Baconian utilitarianism and empiricism with many other European chemists around the middle of the eighteenth century, in particular to what Bacon designated 'experimentalhistory' and I will provide evidence for this claim through a careful analysis of Boerhaave's plant-chemical experiments presented in the Elementa chemiae. (shrink)
This article critically examines the views that psychology first came into existence as a discipline ca. 1879, that philosophy and psychology were estranged in the ensuing decades, that psychology finally became scientific through the influence of logical empiricism, and that it should now disappear in favor of cognitive science and neuroscience. It argues that psychology had a natural philosophical phase (from antiquity) that waxed in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, that this psychology transformed into experimental psychology ca. 1900, that (...) philosophers and psychologists collaboratively discussed the subject matter and methods of psychology in the first two decades of the twentieth century, that the neobehaviorists were not substantively influenced by the Vienna Circle, that the study of perception and cognition in psychology did not disappear in the behaviorist period and so did not reemerge as a result of artificial intelligence, linguistics, and the computer analogy, that although some psychologists adopted the language-of-thought approach of traditional cognitive science, many did not, and that psychology will not go away because it contributes independently of cognitive science and neuroscience. (shrink)
Recent years have seen a continual rise of interest in the empirical study of questions traditionally located in moral philosophy, i.e., studies in Experimental Ethics. In this chapter we briefly outline the recent history of this field. To do so we have to cross disciplinary borders to quite some extent. Tracing the beginnings of Experimental Ethics back to early works in moral psychology, we delineate a sequence of theories which eventually flow into current Experimental Ethics. We (...) then briefly review four topics which are intensively investigated in Experimental Ethics at the moment: moral relativism, individual and cross-cultural differences in moral judgment, and interactions of moral evaluation with other philosophical concepts. We conclude with a short historically informed comment on the demarcation problem of Experimental Ethics. (shrink)
Contemporary experimental philosophers sometimes use versions of an argument from the history of philosophy to defend the claim that what they do is philosophy. Although experimental philosophers conduct surveys and carry out what appear to be experiments in psychology, making them methodologically different from most analytic philosophers working today, techniques like theirs were not out of the ordinary in the philosophy of the past, early modern philosophy in particular. Or so some of them argue. This paper disputes (...) the argument, citing important differences between early modern philosopher-scientists – Descartes, Hobbes and Boyle – and their supposed modern counterparts. Although there is some continuity between early modern philosopher-scientists and the contemporary experimentalists, it is mostly a continuity of interest in empirically informed philosophy, not a distinctively experimental philosophy. (shrink)
In this paper I investigate the prospects of integrated history and philosophy of science, by examining how philosophical issues concerning experimental practice and scientific realism can enrich the historical investigation of the careers of "hidden entities", entities that are not accessible to unmediated observation. Conversely, I suggest that the history of those entities has important lessons to teach to the philosophy of science. My overall aim is to illustrate the possibility of a fruitful two-way traffic between (...) class='Hi'>history and philosophy of science. (shrink)
This is a slightly longer version of an entry prepared for the 2nd edition of The New Palgrave Dictionary of Economics, edited by Steven Durlauf and Lawrence Blume (Palgrave-Macmillan, forthcoming). Since the New Palgrave does not include acknowledgments, I should use this chance to thank Roger Backhouse, Philippe Fontaine, Daniel Kahneman, Kyu Sang Lee, Ivan Moscati, and Vernon Smith for their help and suggestions in preparing this paper.