Instrumentalism in Science
For the astronomer’s job consists of the following: To gather together the history of the celestial movements [i.e. the observable apparent movements of the planets] by means of painstakingly and skillfully made observations, and then — since he cannot by any line of reasoning reach the true causes of these movements — to think up or construct whatever hypotheses he pleases such that, on their assumption, the self-same movements, past and future both, can be calculated by means of the principles of geometry.... It is not necessary that these hypotheses be true. They need not even be likely. This one thing suffices, that the calculations to which they lead agree with the results of observation.
KeywordsPhysical Theory Natural Classification Vienna Circle Underlying Reality Metaphysical System
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- 1.Pierre Duhem, To Save the Phenomena (University of Chicago Press, 1969; first published in French, 1908), pp. 68f.Google Scholar
- 3.For two rather different accounts see Jerome J. Langford, Galileo, Science, and the Church ( Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 1971 )Google Scholar
- Giorgio de Santillana, The Crime of Galileo (University of Chicago Press, 1955).Google Scholar
- 5.Pierre Duhem, The Aim and Structure of Physical Theory (New York: Atheneum Press, 1962; first published in French, 1914).Google Scholar
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- see Paul K. Feyerabend, `Problems of Microphysics’, in R.G. Colodny, (ed)., Frontiers of Science and Philosophy (University of Pittsburgh Press, 1962 ).Google Scholar