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On Errors and Approximations

  • Thomas A. Brody

Abstract

In physics, as in other sciences, approximation is the rule of the day. The theoretical work involved in preparing an experiment and the interpretation of the experiment’s results are approximate in nature. Much purely theoretical work also involves approximation of one sort or another, while laboratory work yields results that are reproducible at best to within certain error limits (in a sense to be discussed below). The choice between different theoretical models for a given application depends critically on the degree of approximation required, and publication of an experimental datum without appropriate error limits is strongly discouraged as being essentially meaningless. It is therefore rather surprising that philosophy of science has so far paid scant attention to what is evidently a central matter in scientific practice.

Keywords

Experimental Error Ensemble Average Error Limit Theoretical Knowledge Uniform Structure 
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.

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 1993

Authors and Affiliations

  • Thomas A. Brody

There are no affiliations available

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