Framework confirmation by Newtonian abduction

Synthese 198 (Suppl 16):3813-3851 (2019)
  Copy   BIBTEX

Abstract

The analysis of theory-confirmation generally takes the deductive form: show that a theory in conjunction with physical data and auxiliary hypotheses yield a prediction about phenomena; verify the prediction; provide a quantitative measure of the degree of theory-confirmation this yields. The issue of confirmation for an entire framework (e.g., Newtonian mechanics en bloc, as opposed, say, to Newton’s theory of gravitation) either does not arise, or is dismissed in so far as frameworks are thought not to be the kind of thing that admits scientific confirmation. I argue that there is another form of scientific reasoning that has not received philosophical attention, what I call Newtonian abduction, that does provide confirmation for frameworks as a whole, and does so in two novel ways. (In particular, Newtonian abduction is not inference to the best explanation, but rather is closer to Peirce’s original idea of abduction.) I further argue that Newtonian abduction is at least as important a form of reasoning in science as standard deductive and inductive forms. The form is beautifully summed up by Maxwell (Proc Camb Philos Soc II:292–294, 1876): “The true method of physical reasoning is to begin with the phenomena and to deduce the forces from them by a direct application of the equations of motion.”

Links

PhilArchive



    Upload a copy of this work     Papers currently archived: 92,991

External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server

Through your library

Similar books and articles

Analytics

Added to PP
2021-07-15

Downloads
30 (#549,970)

6 months
15 (#185,373)

Historical graph of downloads
How can I increase my downloads?

Author's Profile

Erik Curiel
Ludwig Maximilians Universität, München

Citations of this work

Add more citations

References found in this work

The Structure of Scientific Revolutions.Thomas S. Kuhn - 1962 - Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press. Edited by Ian Hacking.
Testability and Meaning.Rudolf Carnap - 2011 - Literary Licensing, LLC.

View all 30 references / Add more references