Observation and Growth in Scientific Knowledge

PSA: Proceedings of the Biennial Meeting of the Philosophy of Science Association 1986:245 - 257 (1986)
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Abstract

In the writings of scientists we find claim to the effect that we can observe items such as pulsars, gravity waves, quarks, electrons, etc. An epistemological theory, originally developed by Dretske and modified by Jackson, is used to give an account of such claims and the extent to which they may be deemed correct. The theory eschews talk of the theory-ladenness of observation while giving an account of how our observation reports may evolve with growth in scientific knowledge. The theory is partially linked to Shapere's recent account of observation in science.

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Robert Nola
University of Auckland

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