Entering new fields: Exploratory uses of experimentation

Philosophy of Science 64 (4):74 (1997)
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Starting with some illustrative examples, I develop a systematic account of a specific type of experimentation--an experimentation which is not, as in the "standard view", driven by specific theories. It is typically practiced in periods in which no theory or--even more fundamentally--no conceptual framework is readily available. I call it exploratory experimentation and I explicate its systematic guidelines. From the historical examples I argue furthermore that exploratory experimentation may have an immense, but hitherto widely neglected, epistemic significance



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Friedrich Steinle
Technical University Berlin