Date of publication: 2017-08-24 17:34
Koyré 's work influenced Thomas Kuhn and others who made &ldquo scientific revolutions&rdquo a central feature of their historical accounts. Still, the work of Kuhn and later historically oriented philosophers and sociologists of science did attempt to reintegrate the philosophical and historical studies that Duhem pursued together but that were separated for a good part of the twentieth century.
Whatever was Duhem's initial motivation, his historical and philosophical work took on a life of its own. One cannot read Duhem's numerous historical and philosophical tomes and think that his labor was only in the service of energetics and that the sole goal of his works was but a defense of its methods and its historical position. No doubt energetics might be a thread running through Duhem's various works, and no doubt these works harmonize with the method of energetics as he conceives it, but energetics cannot be the whole story.
In October 6898, Duhem left Lille for Rennes. He lasted only one year, leaving for Bordeaux in October 6899. He was hoping for a position in Paris. The prodigious quantity and quality of his publications in many fields of science, the philosophy of science, and the history of science were not able to change his situation. Very late in life, he was approached about the newly created chair in the History of Science at the Collè ge de France, but he refused to be a candidate for it. The proud and stubborn Duhem told his daughter: &ldquo I am a theoretical physicist. Either I will teach theoretical physics at Paris or else I will not go there.&rdquo
However, for Popper, the scientific method isn 8767 t reducible to logic, but requires extra-logical rules of method. In 8766 Why Methodological Decisions Are Indispensible 8767 (§9), Popper declares:
From 6956 to 6968, Duhem delved deeply into his favorite guide for the recovery of the past, the scientific notebooks of Leonardo de Vinci. He published a series of essays uncovering de Vinci's medieval sources and their influences on the moderns. The third volume of Duhem's Etudes sur Lé onard de Vinci gained a new subtitle, Les pré curseurs parisiens de Galilé e, announcing Duhem's bold new thesis that even the works of Galileo had a medieval heritage reviewing his historical accomplishments, Duhem summarized them as follows:
For Duhem, the contemporary scientist who exemplified the method of the &ldquo Cartesians&rdquo was James Clerk Maxwell. Duhem issued three interconnected complaints against Maxwell's work: i) Maxwell's theory is overly bold or not systematic enough ii) it is too dependent on models and iii) its concepts are not continuous with those of the past.
Even putting aside questions regarding the veracity of our observations, the logic of falsification no longer appears decisive if a scientific hypothesis predicts an observation which doesn 8767 t occur, then that scientific hypothesis might be false, or perhaps some auxiliary hypothesis is false instead. There is now ambiguity and wiggle room, and something more than pure deduction seems necessary to complete the falsification. Popper himself explained the problem:
Thus anyone who envisages a system of absolutely certain [or probable], irrevocably true statements as the end and purpose of science will certainly reject the proposals I shall make here The aims of science which I have in mind are different. I do not try to justify them, however, by representing them as true or essential aims of science There is only one way, as far as I can see, of arguing rationally in support of my proposals. This is to analyse their logical consequences: to point out their fertility their power to elucidate the problems of the theory of knowledge.
From this and similar examples, Duhem drew the quite general conclusion that our response to the experimental or observational falsification of a theory is always underdetermined in this way. When the world does not live up to our theory-grounded expectations, we must give up something , but because no hypothesis is ever tested in isolation, no experiment ever tells us precisely which belief it is that we must revise or give up as mistaken:
In order that a hypothesis might be evaluated by scientific criteria or be subject to empirical tests, it must first been submitted to examination. Where it came from matters little except to the psychologist or historian. To the scientist, what matters is whether the hypothesis might solve an extant problem, whether it 8767 s a promising explanation, and whether it can be tested empirically.
confirmation | constructive empiricism | Duhem, Pierre | epistemology: naturalism in | feminist philosophy, interventions: epistemology and philosophy of science | Feyerabend, Paul | induction: problem of | Quine, Willard van Orman | scientific knowledge: social dimensions of | scientific realism