Journal Article

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

J Worrall

in The British Journal for the Philosophy of Science

Published on behalf of British Society for the Philosophy of Science

Volume 51, issue 1, pages 45-80
Published in print March 2000 | ISSN: 0007-0882
Published online March 2000 | e-ISSN: 1464-3537 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/bjps/51.1.45
The scope, limits, and distinctiveness of the method of 'deduction from the phenomena': some lessons from Newton's 'demonstrations' in optics

More Like This

Show all results sharing these subjects:

  • Philosophy of Science
  • Science and Mathematics

GO

Show Summary Details

Preview

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.

Journal Article.  0 words. 

Subjects: Philosophy of Science ; Science and Mathematics

Full text: subscription required

How to subscribe Recommend to my Librarian

Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content. Please, subscribe or login to access all content.