PSA 1972 pp 407-419 | Cite as

Discovery, Rationality, and Progress in Science: A Perspective in the Philosophy of Science

  • Dudley Shapere
Part of the Boston Studies in the Philosophy of Science book series (BSPS, volume 20)


If we examine some relatively sophisticated area of science at a particular stage of its development, we find that a certain body of information is, at that stage, taken to be an object for investigation. On a general level, we need only think of the subject-matters called ‘electricity’, ‘magnetism’, ‘light’, or ‘chemistry’; but both within and outside such standard fields, there are more specific examples — such as, for instance, what are taken to be subfields of the preceding subjects. Further, those general subjects themselves are, in many cases, considered to be related in certain ways. (For example, in the nineteenth century, reasons accumulated for believing that electricity, magnetism, chemistry, and light were related, and in such a manner that it was reasonable to search for a common account of all these subjects.) I will refer to such bodies of related items as domains, though we will find that, in the sense in which this concept will prove helpful in understanding the enterprise of science, more is involved than the mere relatedness of items.


Scientific Theory Periodic Table Atomic Weight Theoretical Problem Scientific Problem 
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Copyright information

© D. Reidel Publishing Company, Dordrecht-Holland 1974

Authors and Affiliations

  • Dudley Shapere
    • 1
  1. 1.University of IllinoisUrbanaUSA

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