Chapter

The Experimental Philosophy

Philip Kitcher

in The Advancement of Science

Published in print August 1995 | ISBN: 9780195096538
Published online November 2003 | e-ISBN: 9780199833351 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/0195096533.003.0007
The Experimental Philosophy

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Discusses the major questions that arise about the knowledge of the individual scientist. First, the problems of the theory‐ladenness of observation are distinguished and discussed. Second, the traditional issues in the theory of confirmation are addressed by articulating an eliminativist view of scientific inference. This view faces obvious difficulties stemming from the alleged underdetermination of theory by evidence. It is suggested that some forms of this problem are less intractable than is usually supposed, but that related questions are at the heart of worries about the rational resolution of scientific revolutions. To tackle these worries, some historical episodes—one focused on the chemical revolution of the eighteenth century, the other on Darwin's arguments from biogeography—are discussed in some detail.

Keywords: inference; observation; rationality; scientific theory

Chapter.  43438 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Philosophy of Science

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