Tuesday, 23 October 2007
On Scientific Observation
Delphine Chapuis-Schmitz, College de France
12:05 pm, 817R Cathedral of Learning
Abstract: The idea that observation is distinct from theory has been the target of many criticisms in the post positivist era of the philosophy of science and it is now a widespread idea that observation is theory laden. However what this phrase exactly means requires further examination, notably in so far as the very notion of "observation" remains unspecified. The aim of this talk is (1) to disentangle the different senses of "observation" which are appealed to in discussions on this topic; (2) to suggest a conception of scientific observation which does not blur the distinction between observation and theory on the one hand, while making good sense of the relationship between the two on the other hand. It will turn out that the logical empiricists were not as far off the right approach as one might have thought.