Reading Guide #21

He was not a newtonian empiricist in a style of

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Unformatted text preview: substantiated by generalizing from the observations. However, the fact is that the scientists of the 19th century who saw themselves following in the Newtonian tradition read “induction” as a very strong connection between the observations and the theories – akin to the strength of a deductive connection. So, you can think of the requirement as saying the observations should be generalized to laws and theories that are, as a consequence of the reasoning, very, very likely to be true as long as the observations are accurate. Of course, exactly what kinds of inferences confer that kind of near certainty on theories was in many cases exactly what was at issue – as it was with Darwin’s theory of “descent with modification.” This might be a bit confusing because of the brevity with which it is covered in the excerpt from Hull, but there was one notable exception to philosophers who held this view of good scientific reasoning in the 19th century: William Whewell. Whewell was an influential scientist, ph...
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This document was uploaded on 11/11/2013.

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