Experiment as a stage of transduction
As has been repeatedly noted, transduction in chemistry has a certain direction, at a certain stage of its deployment it reaches the stage of experiment. Unfortunately, there is an ineradicable skepticism about the philosophy of the experiment. Many researchers hold the view that the philosophy of the experiment has not yet taken place. The history of the development of philosophical ideas about the experiment shows that there really are certain grounds for the skepticism mentioned.
Etymologically, the word experiment goes back to the Greek word peira, which means test, trial. But why in the substantive sciences, for example, in chemistry, turn to trials? It is worthwhile to raise this question, as numerous difficulties arise immediately. The founder of the philosophy of the experiment is often considered to be Francis Bacon, who stands at the origins of British empiricism. He believed that the experiment protects from the delusions of the mind, peculiar cognitive idols, allows us to develop the knowledge necessary for man to dominate nature. Unfortunately, Bacon lived in an era that did not give him a chance to illustrate his requirements for the purity of the experiment conducted by references to some refined science.
The rapid development of the sciences, especially since the nineteenth century, drew attention to the philosophy of experiment, primarily positivists, in particular, O. Comte and JS Mil. It happened not by accident. The fact is that, as shown by historical studies, the achievement of theories of scientific refining, as a rule, was associated with positivist philosophy. She, in an effort to free science from speculative strata, proclaimed its slogan as a basis for the facts fixed in the experiment. It is not surprising, therefore, that it was within the framework of the positivist movement that the first philosophical theories of experiment were developed. Millu succeeded in developing methods for investigating causal connections. But his research was purely logical in nature and, in fact, did not have a significant effect on the development of the philosophy of the experiment.
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Within the framework of the second positivism, a thorough attempt to develop the philosophy of the experiment was undertaken by E. Mach, the founder of empirio-criticism. He considered the main task of science the study of the functional connections between the elements of experience, which have both a psychological and a physical nature. His research is marked by a stamp of some disregard for the theory, its conceptual merits. He wished to draw them directly from the results of observations. The studies of Mach had a significant influence on his followers, including the neo-positivists M. Shlick and R. Carnap, as well as the neo-Kantian X. Dingler.
In the theory of the experiment of neopositivists, the concept of the protocol proposal and of inductive logic carry the central load. As we can see, the linguistic component of science comes to the fore. Protocol proposals describe the most elementary facts. In each case of verification of the theory, Schlick believed, "the statements are final." Carnap tried to justify the inductive method as a way of discovering laws. The neopositivists clearly preferred the epistemological route: facts → universal laws.
X. Dingler developed a variant of operationalism. He did not think that theoretical laws could be literally extracted from experimental data. But, in his opinion, their rationale includes normative, non-theoretical requirements for unambiguous and reproducible experiments. The shadow of Kantian apriorism arises twice: a) the theoretical laws precede the experiment, b) the normative requirements imposed on the experiment have a strong-willed character. In an attempt to justify the argument along two lines, theory → experiment and experiment → theory, Dingler used a notion of a priori principles that did not were in organic connection with the theory. It can be said that he was not strict enough in observing the principle of scientific and theoretical relativity, which does not allow going beyond scientific theories. The theory he developed also lacked internal consistency.
Until the 1980s. In the philosophical literature about the status of the experiment there was a sluggish argument between neopositivists and their critics - postpositivists. This argument was mainly about ways to substantiate the theory: whether the theory should be derived from the facts obtained by experiment, or whether it is invented by the theorist without regard to the facts. This kind of dispute did not meet the requirements of many sciences, within which the experimental technique developed rapidly, which made it possible to expand the volume of scientific knowledge. Probably not by accident in the 1980s. began to appear actual works devoted, as it is now often expressed, to the philosophy of the experiment. However, in this area is not without significant difficulties.
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Of particular interest are the discussion issues of the modern stage of philosophizing on the subject of scientific experimentation. The dispute is between realists and constructivists (anti-realists), rationalists and anti-rationalists. Bright representatives of the realistic direction are, for example, A. Franklin and J. Hacking, and Constructivist - H. Collins and A. Pickering. And often realists also come from rationalist positions, and their opponents - constructivists, or supporters of the normative theory - from anti-rationalist ones. Within the framework of this book, it is not possible to examine in detail the battles that unfolded around the philosophy of the experiment. We note, however, their main content.
Realists in a sense are maximalists. They tend to bring the transduction line directly to the referents. The realist seeks to reproduce the image of reality on the basis of experimental data. In other words, in the conjunction experiment → reality is recognized the relative independence of both experiment and reality. The constructivist, as it were, includes reality in the experiment itself, and therefore the bundle under discussion does not exist for it. According to the author, constructivists are groundlessly afraid of the disconnection of the two stages of transduction under consideration. They believe that it is impossible to move from reality to reality. This is possible if you use the potential of creative imagination. It should be noted that the content of the works of professional chemists unambiguously testifies to the adherence of their absolute majority to the ideals of scientific realism, which they, by the way, do not oppose constructivism. Researchers, erecting barricades between realism and constructivism, clearly underestimate the possibility of combining one with another.
Another topical problem is the combination of rationalism and anti-rationalism. Why is rationalism questioned and even talked about the crisis of rationalism, which now and then tend to be supplemented with a fair dose of anti-rationalism? Critics of rationalism are unhappy with the level of comprehension of those rules or strategies that are considered norms of scientific experiment. Perhaps the most complete list of epistemological strategies leads Franklin.
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