FOM: Hempel

Steve Stevenson steve at
Thu Jan 27 14:48:07 EST 2000

Robert Black writes:
 > Hempel was no doubt an important philosopher of science in the period of
 > watering down the doctrines of the Vienna Circle, but I just can't see him
 > as the first philosopher of science to take actual science seriously. Both
 > Mach and Popper, for example, at least thought they were doing this, and
 > the philosophies of science they developed were highly influential in the
 > scientific community - in both cases more influential than Hempel, I'd have
 > thought - so lots of practising scientists at the time(s) must have thought
 > that they were getting it roughly right. Earlier still, what about Whewell,
 > whose _Philosophy of the Inductive Sciences_' was based on his _History of
 > the Inductive Sciences_ ?

Thank you so much for this new information. As you've probably
guessed, I'm not a professional philosopher. I'm not really familiar
with Mach in any organized way. I'm looking at something different
than falsification addresses, I think: given a lot of questionable
data and computer simulation output, what can/should I conclude and
how much faith should I have in my conclusion? Being a fan of Feynman, 
I've taken the attitude he has in *The Character of Natural Law*. He
says the purpose of science is to provide explanations.

I have applied what I thought he said to the Michelson-Morley
experiment. I then asked some physicists if they thought the reasoning 
in the analysis was viable. Still chewing on the answers.

Best regards,


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