Scientific Theories

  • David Papineau


We were all once taught that scientific conclusions gain their authority from careful observation and experiment. It was this empirical component in scientific method that was held up as making science superior to such superstitions as astrology, alchemy, divination and magic. The idea was that the one thing we could be certain of were the results of experiments and other observable phenomena. Science guaranteed its conclusions by sticking to what could be proved from such data.


Scientific Theory Hard Core Theoretical Term Independent Reality Scientific Term 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. 5.
    See A. J. Ayer, The Problem of Knowledge (Penguin, 1956), pp. 73–4, for a succinct statement of this point.Google Scholar
  2. 9.
    P. Bridgman, The Logic of Modern Physics (Macmillan, 1927 ).Google Scholar
  3. 14.
    N. R. Hanson, Patterns of Discovery (Cambridge University Press, 1965 ), Chapter 1.Google Scholar
  4. 18.
    P. Feyerabend, ‘Consolations for the Specialist’, in I. Lakatos and A. Musgrave (eds.), Criticism and the Growth of Knowledge (Cambridge University Press, 1970 ), p. 219.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© David Papineau 1978

Authors and Affiliations

  • David Papineau
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of History and Philosophy of ScienceUniversity of CambridgeUK

Personalised recommendations