Whewell’s tidal researches: scientific practice and philosophical methodology

Abstract

Primarily between 1833 and 1840, William Whewell attempted to accomplish what natural philosophers and scientists since at least Galileo had failed to do: to provide a systematic and broad-ranged study of the tides and to attempt to establish a general scientific theory of tidal phenomena. I document the close interaction between Whewell’s philosophy of science and his scientific practice as a tidologist. I claim that the intertwinement between Whewell’s methodology and his tidology is more fundamental than has hitherto been documented.Keywords: William Whewell; Tidology; History of HPS; Scientific methodology; Whewell papers.

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