The Politics and Rhetoric of Scientific Method

Author: J. Schuster
Publisher: Springer Science & Business Media
ISBN: 9400945604
Format: PDF
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The institutionalization of History and Philosophy of Science as a distinct field of scholarly endeavour began comparatively earl- though not always under that name - in the Australasian region. An initial lecturing appointment was made at the University of Melbourne immediately after the Second World War, in 1946, and other appoint ments followed as the subject underwent an expansion during the 1950s and 1960s similar to that which took place in other parts of the world. Today there are major Departments at the University of Melbourne, the University of New South Wales and the University of Wollongong, and smaller groups active in many other parts of Australia and in New Zealand. "Australasian Studies in History and Philosophy of Science" aims to provide a distinctive publication outlet for Australian and New Zealand scholars working in the general area of history, philosophy and social studies of science. Each volume comprises a group of essays on a connected theme, edited by an Australian or a New Zealander with special expertise in that particular area. Papers address general issues, however, rather than local ones; parochial topics are avoided. Further more, though in each volume a majority of the contributors is from Australia or New Zealand, contributions from elsewhere are by no means ruled out. Quite the reverse, in fact - they are actively encour aged wherever appropriate to the balance of the volume in question.

From Discrete to Continuous

Author: K. Neal
Publisher: Springer Science & Business Media
ISBN: 940170077X
Format: PDF, Docs
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In the early modern period, a crucial transformation occurred in the classical conception of number and magnitude. Traditionally, numbers were merely collections of discrete units that measured some multiple. Magnitude, on the other hand, was usually described as being continuous, or being divisible into parts that are infinitely divisible. This traditional idea of discrete number versus continuous magnitude was challenged in the early modern period in several ways. This detailed study explores how the development of algebraic symbolism, logarithms, and the growing practical demands for an expanded number concept all contributed to a broadening of the number concept in early modern England. An interest in solving practical problems was not, in itself, enough to cause a generalisation of the number concept. It was the combined impact of novel practical applications together with the concomitant development of such mathematical advances as algebraic notation and logarithms that produced a broadened number concept.

Tools and Modes of Representation in the Laboratory Sciences

Author: U. Klein
Publisher: Springer Science & Business Media
ISBN: 9781402001000
Format: PDF
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constitutive of reference in laboratory sciences as cultural sign systems and their manipulation and superposition, collectively shared classifications and associated conceptual frameworks,· and various fonns of collective action and social institutions. This raises the question of how much modes of representation, and specific types of sign systems mobilized to construct them, contribute to reference. Semioticians have argued that sign systems are not merely passive media for expressing preconceived ideas but actively contribute to meaning. Sign systems are culturally loaded with meaning stemming from previous practical applications and social traditions of applications. In new local contexts of application they not only transfer stabilized meaning but also can be used as active resources to add new significance and modify previous meaning. This view is supported by several analyses presented in this volume. Sign systems can be implemented like tools that are manipulated and superposed with other types of signs to forge new representations. The mode of representation, made possible by applying and manipulating specific types of representational tools, such as diagrammatic rather than mathematical representations, or Berzelian fonnulas rather than verbal language, contributes to meaning and forges fine-grained differentiations between scientists' concepts. Taken together, the essays contained in this volume give us a multifaceted picture of the broad variety of modes of representation in nineteenth-century and twentieth-century laboratory sciences, of the way scientists juxtaposed and integrated various representations, and of their pragmatic use as tools in scientific and industrial practice.

The Literary Structure of Scientific Argument

Author: Peter Dear
Publisher: University of Pennsylvania Press
ISBN: 1512801593
Format: PDF, ePub
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In this volume, seven historians of science examine the historical creation and meaning of a range of scientific textual forms from the seventeenth to the late nineteenth centuries. They consider examples from the fields of chemistry, medicine, physics, zoology, physiology, and mathematics, exposing the rich possibilities for a new, historically rooted approach to our scientific cultural heritage. Peter Dear presents the case for "taking texts seriously"—asking historians of science to confront issues and techniques moving to the forefront in a number of disciplines, and asking literary scholars and literary-minded intellectual historians not to "put science quietly to one side," or treat it as a mere source of cultural metaphors, but to understand it in terms of historically specific textual construction. The Literary Structure of Scientific Argument will interest historians, philosophers, and sociologists, as well as literary scholars concerned with science.

The Science of Nature in the Seventeenth Century

Author: Peter R. Anstey
Publisher: Springer Science & Business Media
ISBN: 1402037031
Format: PDF, Docs
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One of the hallmarks of the modern world has been the stunning rise of the natural sciences. The exponential expansion of scientific knowledge and the accompanying technology that so impact on our daily lives are truly remarkable. But what is often taken for granted is the enviable epistemic-credit rating of scientific knowledge: science is authoritative, science inspires confidence, science is right. Yet it has not always been so. In the seventeenth century the situation was markedly different: competing sources of authority, shifting disciplinary boundaries, emerging modes of experimental practice and methodological reflection were some of the constituents in a quite different mélange in which knowledge of nature was by no means p- eminent. It was the desire to probe the underlying causes of the shift from the early modern ‘nature-knowledge’ to modern science that was one of the stimuli for the ‘Origins of Modernity: Early Modern Thought 1543–1789’ conference held in Sydney in July 2002. How and why did modern science emerge from its early modern roots to the dominant position which it enjoys in today’s post-modern world? Under the auspices of the International Society for Intellectual History, The University of New South Wales and The University of Sydney, a group of historians and philosophers of science gathered to discuss this issue. However, it soon became clear that a prior question needed to be settled first: the question as to the precise nature of the quest for knowledge of the natural realm in the seventeenth century.

Science in the Public Sphere

Author: Richard R. Yeo
Publisher: Variorum
ISBN:
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The common focus of these essays is the debate on the nature of science - often referred to by contemporaries as 'natural knowledge' - in Britain during the first half of the 19th century. A study of these debates allow us to see how British science of this period began to cast loose some of its earlier theological supports, but still relied on a moral framework to affirm its distinctive method, ethos and cultural value.

Conjectures and Refutations

Author: Karl Popper
Publisher: Routledge
ISBN: 1135971307
Format: PDF, Kindle
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Conjectures and Refutations is one of Karl Popper's most wide-ranging and popular works, notable not only for its acute insight into the way scientific knowledge grows, but also for applying those insights to politics and to history. It provides one of the clearest and most accessible statements of the fundamental idea that guided his work: not only our knowledge, but our aims and our standards, grow through an unending process of trial and error.