The Spirit of the Enterprise

  • Karl Rogers


In this chapter I shall describe how experimental physics is an inherently realist enterprise to discover the “natural mechanisms” and “natural laws” that are presupposed to pre-exist the attempt to discover them. To this end, I shall describe in detail the operational metaphysics of mechanical realism that makes experimental physics conceptually possible as a means to obtain knowledge about the structures, mechanisms, laws, and content of Nature. This metaphysics provides a unifying conception of “the physical” that underwrites the foundational principles and assumptions justifying the whole epistemological enterprise of experimental physics as a natural science. It is premised upon the following set of operational precepts that provide principles of action and function as a technical guide for the conceptual establishment of a methodology to explore Nature:
  1. (i)

    Natural and technological phenomena both share a unitary origin;

  2. (ii)

    Both natural processes and machine performances come into being by the same causal principles;

  3. (iii)

    There is a unique, eternal, and universal cause for every effect (or set of effects);

  4. (iv)

    The connections between causes and effects are the fundamental mechanisms of Nature;

  5. (v)

    The realization of any mechanism is governed by a Natural Law and, consequently, the performance of any machine is governed by Natural Law;

  6. (vi)

    The mathematical descriptions of the motions of mechanical devices, and machines, are mathematical descriptions of Natural Law; and,

  7. (vii)

    The only distinction between natural phenomena and machine performances is that the latter require human intervention to come into being whilst the former do not.



Experimental Physic Experimental Science Empirical Regularity Predictive Success Empirical Adequacy 
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Copyright information

© Karl A. Rogers 2005

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  • Karl Rogers

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