Reading Guide #21

In the history of science few laws or theories have

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Unformatted text preview: , most scientists and philosophers of science of the 19th century rejected theories as unscientific. One of the things that seemingly caused confusion for the scientists of this period and for we who try to interpret their views on proper scientific method is that, as you will remember, in the General Scholium to the Principia Newton argued for something stronger by way of inference of laws and theories from the phenomena. He said that he had deduced the law of universal gravitation from the celestial observations (essentially Kepler’s laws). If the “generalization” is actually a deduction, then theory follows necessarily from the phenomena, i.e., it was deduced just as we deduce geometric theorems from Euclid’s axioms. In the history of science, few laws or theories have been shown to be deductive consequences of observations. So, the 19th locution that laws and theories follow “inductively” from observations makes sense. That is, the laws and theories are guaranteed to be true 1 given the observations, they are only...
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This document was uploaded on 11/11/2013.

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