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14. Discovery


Subject Philosophy

Key-Topics science

DOI: 10.1111/b.9780631230205.2001.00017.x


We begin with some questions. What constitutes a scientific discovery? How do we tell when a discovery has been made and whom to credit? Is making a discovery (always) the same as solving a problem? Is it an individual psychological event (an ahal experience), or something more articulated such as a logical argument or a mathematical derivation? May discovery require a long, intricate social process? Could it be an experimental demonstration? How do we tell exactly what has been discovered, given that old discoveries are often recharacterized in very different ways by succeeding generations? What kinds of items can be discovered, and how? Is the discovery of a theory accomplished in much the same way as the discovery of a new comet, or is “discovery” an inhomogeneous domain of items or activities calling for quite diverse accounts? Must a discovery be both new and true? How is discovery related to (other?) forms of innovation, such as invention and social construction? Can there be a logic or method of discovery? Just one? Many? What could such a procedure be? How is it possible that an (a priori?) logic or method available now has so much future knowledge already packed into it? How could a logic of discovery itself be discovered? How general in scope must a method of discovery be? Must it apply to all sciences, independently of the subject matter (as we might expect of a “logic”), ... log in or subscribe to read full text

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