Article

Hypotheses

Desmond M. Clarke

in The Oxford Handbook of Philosophy in Early Modern Europe

Published in print January 2011 | ISBN: 9780199556137
Published online May 2011 | | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/oxfordhb/9780199556137.003.0013

Series: Oxford Handbooks in Philosophy

Hypotheses

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This article thinks about changes in the conception of hypothesis during the early modern period. It explains that during this period there was an urgency to redefine human knowledge so that uncertainty became one of its inevitable and acceptable features, and certainty was replaced by probability as an adequate achievement in knowledge of the natural world. It discusses Isaac Newton's deep-seated rejection of hypotheses and the assumption that their use in natural philosophy would compromise its status as genuine scientific knowledge.

Keywords: hypothesis; early modern period; human knowledge; uncertainty; probability; Isaac Newton; natural philosophy; scientific knowledge

Article.  10819 words. 

Subjects: Philosophy ; History of Western Philosophy ; Philosophy of Mathematics and Logic

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