Going Amiss in Experimental Research (Boston Studies in the Philosophy of Science)


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By analyzing key episodes in the transformation of venom research, Schickore is able to draw out the factors that have shaped methods discourse. About Method shows that methodological advancement throughout history has not been simply a steady progression towards better, more sophisticated and improved methodologies of experimentation. Rather, it was a progression in awareness of the obstacles and limitations that scientists face in developing strategies to overcome the myriad unknown complexities of nature.

The first long-term history of this development and of snake venom research, this is a major contribution to integrated history and philosophy of science. Ansichtssachen : von der wissenschaftlichen Beobachtung, von ihrer Rolle in der Naturwissenschaft und von den Schwierigkeiten, diese zu bestimmen by Jutta Schickore Book 8 editions published in in German and held by 37 WorldCat member libraries worldwide. Revisiting discovery and justification : workshop at the Max Planck Institute, 28 February - 2 March Book 2 editions published in in English and held by 9 WorldCat member libraries worldwide.

Going Amiss in Experimental Research. Boston Studies in the Philosophy of Science, Volume 1 edition published in in English and held by 5 WorldCat member libraries worldwide Like any goal-oriented procedure, experiment is subject to many kinds of failures. These failures have a variety of features, depending on the particulars of their sources.

Nature of Science

For the experimenter these pitfalls should be avoided and their effects minimized. For the historian-philosopher of science and the science educator, on the other hand, they are instructive starting points for reflecting on science in general and scientific method and practice in particular. Often more is learned from failure than from confirmation and successful application. The identification of error, its source, its context, and its treatment shed light on both practices and epistemic claims. This book shows that it is fruitful to bring to light forgotten and lost failures, subject them to analysis and learn from their moral.

The study of failures, errors, pitfalls and mistakes helps us understand the way knowledge is pursued and indeed generated. The book presents both historical accounts and philosophical analysis of failures in experimental practice. It covers topics such as 'error as an object of study', 'learning from error', 'concepts and dead ends', 'instrumental artifacts', and 'surprise and puzzlement'. This book will be of interest to historians, philosophers, and sociologists of science as well as to practicing scientists and science educators. Revisiting Discovery and Justification Historical and philosophical perspectives on the context distinction by Jutta Schickore 2 editions published in in English and held by 3 WorldCat member libraries worldwide.

S Cohen 1 edition published in in English and held by 2 WorldCat member libraries worldwide. Test objects for microscopes by Jutta Schickore 2 editions published in in English and held by 2 WorldCat member libraries worldwide. Ab Using the past for present purposes : exposing contextual and trans-contextual features of error by Jutta Schickore 1 edition published in in English and held by 1 WorldCat member library worldwide. Ansichtssachen : von der wissenschaftlichen Beobachtung, von ihrer Rolle in der Naturwissenschaft und von den Schwierigkeiten, diese zu bestimmen by Jutta Schickore Visual 1 edition published in in German and held by 1 WorldCat member library worldwide.

The task of explaining sight : Helmholtz's writings on vision as a test case for models of science popularization by Jutta Schickore 1 edition published in in English and held by 1 WorldCat member library worldwide. In such cases, we become ambivalent—divided against ourselves about what to do next. In other words, inhibition creates ambivalence, and ambivalence makes possible new ways of considering alternatives; crude, physical situations take on qualitatively new complexities of meaning. Thus, Dewey wrote, sentiency or feeling.

EN , LW1: At this stage, the new relationships are not yet known ; they do, however, provide the conditions for knowing. Symbolization, language, is the next step in liberating these noticed relationships using intellectual tools including abstraction, memory, and imagination EN , LW1: Dewey rejected both traditional accounts of mind-as-substance or container and more contemporary schemes reducing mind to brain states EN , LW1: — Rather, mind is activity, a range of dynamic processes of interaction between organism and world.

Consider the range connoted by mind: as memory I am re mind ed of X ; attention I keep her in mind , I mind my manners ; purpose I have an aim in mind ; care or solicitude I mind the child ; paying heed I mind the traffic stop. It is. It never denotes anything self-contained, isolated from the world of persons and things, but is always used with respect to situations, events, objects, persons and groups. AE , LW — As Wittgenstein entry on Wittgenstein, section on rule-following and private language pointed out 30 years later, no private language see entry on private language is possible given this account of meaning.

While meanings might be privately entertained, they are not privately invented; meanings are social and emerge from symbol systems arising through collective communication and action EN , LW1: Active, complex animals are sentient due to the variety of distinctive connections they have with their environment.

With language, creatures can identify and differentiate feelings as feelings, objects as objects, etc. Without language, the qualities of organic action that are feelings are pains, pleasures, odors, colors, noises, tones, only potentially and proleptically. With language they are discriminated and identified. No longer our spark of divinity, as some ancients held, it is also rescued from merely being a ghost in a machine. Mind becomes vital , investigating and addressing problems, and inventing new tools, aims, and ideals.

Like mind, consciousness is also a verb—the brisk transitioning of felt, qualitative events. In the end, however, Dewey did not believe a fully adequate account of consciousness could be captured in words. Dewey, then, did not define consciousness, but evoked it using contrasts and instances. Given the processual, active nature of our psychology, Dewey was forced to depict consciousness with a dynamic, organismic vocabulary. Consciousness is thinking-in-motion, an ever-reconfiguring event series that is qualitatively felt as experience transforms. Consciousness is drama; mind is the indispensable back story.

This back story is not radically subjective; it is social, constituted by communities past and present. Dewey also tried to get at consciousness performatively, so to speak; he provoked the reader to consider the nature of consciousness while reading. Initially, it contributed to his idealism and psychology. Dewey advanced this in the Carus Lectures, revised and expanded in his metaphysical magnum opus, Experience and Nature , revised edition, ; EN , LW1. Keep three influences in mind.

Second, recall that Dewey took from James a radically empirical approach to philosophy—the insistence that perspectival experience, including that called personal , emotional , or temperamental , was philosophically relevant and worth factoring into abstract and logical theories.

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Finally, recall that Dewey accepted from Hegel experience as manifested in particular social, historical, and cultural modes. Not only is the self constituted through experiential transactions with the community, but this recognition vitiates the Cartesian model of the simple, atomic self and methods based upon that presumption. Philosophy may start where we start, personally — with complex, symbolic, and cultural forms—and then articulate further emergences from them.

More than just another node in a system, experience also amounted to a metaphilosophical method , a way of doing philosophy. Within this Weltanschauung , philosophy was not a rational bridge to transcend life, but was equipment for living. Thus, clarifying what experience meant assumed the greatest importance, insofar as this was vital to philosophy earning back its status as a wisdom which might aid survival, growth, and flourishing.

Dewey recognized this and commented about it toward the end of his life. It was typical for many philosophers to construe experience narrowly, as the private contents of consciousness. These contents might be perceptions sensing , or reflections calculating, associating, imagining done by the subjective mind.

Some, such as Plato and Descartes, denigrated experience as a flux which confused or diverted rational inquiry. Others, such as Hume and Locke, thought that experience as atomic sensations provided the mind at least some resources for knowing, albeit with reduced ambitions. Both general philosophical approaches agreed that percepts and concepts were different and in tension; they agreed that sensation was perspectival and context-relative; they also agreed that this relativity problematized the assumed mission of philosophy—to know with certainty—and differed only about the degree of the problem.

Dewey disputed the shared empiricist conviction that sensations are categorically separable contents of consciousness. Regarding the phenomenon of mental privacy, Dewey argued that while we have episodes of what might be called mental interiority, it a latter human development. Regarding sensorial atomicity, discussed previously in the section on psychology , Dewey explained sensation as embedded in a larger sensori-motor circuit, a transaction which should not be quarantined to any single phase—nor to consciousness.

Dewey levied similar criticisms against traditional accounts of reflective thought. Mind is neither static nor a substance which stands, somehow, apart from the body—or from history, from culture. Rather, reasoning is always permeated with both feelings and practical exigencies.

Going Amiss in Experimental Research (E-Book, PDF)

First, experience exhibits a fundamentally experimental character. This was impressed upon Dewey in a variety of his educational roles. Dewey calls such experience direct, primary, or had. Known experience abstracts away from had or direct experience in purposeful and selective ways; knowing isolates certain relations or connections. Some take place with only a minimum of regulation, with little foresight, preparation and intent.

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Others occur because, in part, of the prior occurrence of intelligent action. Both kinds are had ; they are undergone, enjoyed or suffered. The first are not known; they are not understood; they are dispensations of fortune or providence. The second have, as they are experienced, meanings that present the funded outcome of operations that substitute definite continuity for experienced discontinuity and for the fragmentary quality due to isolation. QC , LW4: [ 12 ]. Much in experience is unknown to us without being illusory or merely apparent; we are not trapped in a cave full of illusions with only rational dialectic to yank us upwards.

Rather, we engage and cope with a world which is not completely meaningful. We strive to make the world more meaningful, but while some of the meanings devised assist in prediction and control of circumstances, others are simply enjoyed—but that does not make them less real. Philosophy, too, is a form of activity—which means that we need to do philosophy differently; we need pay attention to where and how we start; in this sense, experience is a method.

If Dewey says that experience happens in both primary felt, had and secondary reflective, known ways, why not start with theory? Is that not experience, too? As we live our lives, we confront problems which invoke the need for inquiry and, often, there is a need to devise a tool of explanation and amelioration. Theory is that tool, generated by these encounters; it does not come first. As did James and Peirce before him, Dewey challenged not only the theories of previous philosophers, but the assumptions informing their methods.

In his philosophical work, Dewey criticized any number of these presuppositions, but here his point is metaphilosophical—how these conceptions enter into the practice of philosophy as presuppositions. Too often philosophy puts the theoretical cart before the practical horse. We simply cannot know—and should not assume—which terms and theories are necessary for an analysis of a novel situation. Nevertheless, much philosophy has assumed such necessities. It has produced endless dialectical exchanges; it has caricatured and hollowed out many complex and changeable subject matters.

Intellectual products come, then, from earlier inquiries, which possessed their own parameters and purposes. Whatever theory is eventually devised for a new situation—and Dewey is not against theory, to be very clear—it must be checked against ordinary experience EN , LW1: The experiential or denotative method tells us that we must go behind the refinements and elaborations of reflective experience to the gross and compulsory things of our doings, enjoyments and sufferings—to the things that force us to labor, that satisfy needs, that surprise us with beauty, that compel obedience under penalty.

Such a method is truly critical , because it forces inquirers to check previous interpretations and judgments against their live encounters in a new situation EN , LW1: This entails that philosophy as a practice impose upon itself a much more radical and dynamic model of theorizing, one pressed into much closer transactions with existing practices and problems. From the beginning, Dewey sought to critique and reconstruct metaphysical concepts e.

Like his fellow pragmatists Peirce, James, and Mead, Dewey sought to transform not eradicate metaphysics. His dormant interest in metaphysics was revivified at Columbia by his colleague F. Unlike other metaphysics, Dewey explicitly said that metaphysics served something further —criticism. EN looks to existing characteristics of human culture, anthropologically, to see what they reveal, more generally, about nature. While this entry lacks space for even a bare summary, it is worth noting that EN begins with an extensive discussion of method and experience as a new starting point for philosophy.

An extensive presentation of the generic traits follows, which, in due course, evokes and informs discussions regarding science, technology, body, mind, language, art, and value. Since Dewey is a pragmatist and meliorist, it is worth asking: How can metaphysics contribute to the world beyond academic philosophy? EN , LW1: Dewey raises the issue, prophylactically:.

As a statement of the generic traits manifested by existences of all kinds without regard to their differentiation into physical and mental, [metaphysics] seems to have nothing to do with criticism and choice, with an effective love of wisdom. The activity of metaphysical map-making fits in with the more engaged role Dewey envisioned for philosophers.

Metaphysical maps draw from contemporary circumstances and purposes, so they would not promise certainty or permanency. Just as physical maps must be redrawn based on changing needs and purposes, so would metaphysical maps; in the meantime, hopefully, criticism is sharpened and value is more effectively secured. Critics often overlooked that his position was aiming to undercut prevailing metaphysical genres; often, his view was just aligned with one or another existing position.

He was taken, variously, as in league with realism, idealism, relativism, subjectivism, etc. See Hildebrand Qualities are immediate, while relations are mediate; how could both coexist in the same item of experience? In recent years, some specialists in pragmatism and American philosophy have debated whether Dewey should have engaged in metaphysics at all. Others have argued that Dewey invented a genuinely new approach to metaphysics which avoided old problems while contributing something salutary to culture at large Myers forthcoming, Garrison , Boisvert a, Alexander forthcoming.

The interactional, organic model Dewey developed in his psychology informed his theories of learning and knowledge. Seen from this standpoint, change and transformation are natural features of the actual world, and knowledge and logic are ways to adapt, survive, and thrive. The vitality of the world in which we reason, its dynamic and biological basis, is more informative about knowledge and truth than the paradigms of physics or mathematics, historically celebrated by philosophy. The test of validity of [an] idea is its functional or instrumental use in effecting the transition from a relatively conflicting experience to a relatively integrated one.

Going Amiss in Experimental Research (Boston Studies in the Philosophy and History of Science)

Studies , MW2: Thus, instrumentalism abandons all psycho-physical dualisms and all correspondentist theories of knowing. In the logical process the datum is not just external existence, and the idea mere psychical existence. Both are modes of existence—one of given existence, the other of possible , of inferred existence…. In other words, datum and ideatum are divisions of labor, cooperative instrumentalities, for economical dealing with the problem of the maintenance of the integrity of experience.

Studies , MW2: — Classical empiricists insisted that the origins of knowledge lay in sensory experience. They were motivated, in part, by the concern that rationalistic accounts, seeking to trace knowledge to thought alone rather than particular, independent sense stimuli , were too unchecked. Without the limits imposed by sense experience, philosophy would continue to produce wild and divergent dogmatisms. There was in classical empiricism, as in Dewey, a genuine interest in scientific progress; for science to advance, it needed to escape unfettered speculation.

Rationalists, in contrast, argued that knowledge was by nature both abstract and deductively certain. Consider, for a moment, your sensory experiences: they are fluid, individualized, and permeated by the relativity borne of innumerable external conditions. How could a philosophical account of genuine knowledge—necessarily certain, self-evident, and unchanging—be derived using a method so besotted with sensorial flux? Knowledge must derive, rather, from inner concepts, which could be certain. Kant responded to the empiricist-rationalist tension by reigning in their overweening ambitions; he argued that philosophy must stop attempting to transcend the limits of thought and experience.

Kant, then, refused an originary role to either percepts or concepts, arguing instead that sense and reason are co-constitutive of knowledge. More important, Kant argued that what epistemology requires is an account of the mind as a systematic and constructive force. Any proposal premised on a disconnected mind and body—or upon one assuming that stimuli be they causes or impressions or whatever were atomic and in need of synthesis—was a non-starter for Dewey.

Chief among these assumptions was the idea that knowledge must be certain; that nature and intellect were categorically distinct; and that a noumenal realm things-in-themselves was a justified posit. Thus, for Dewey, Kant cannot achieve the philosophical perspective necessary for a dynamic synthesis of perception and conception, nature and reason, practice and theory. The missing insight was knowledge as dynamic instrument , consisting in managing predicting, controlling, guiding future experience. Dewey remains focused on these subject matters but insisted on a more empirical approach.

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How, he asked, does reasoning and learning actually happen? Throughout his career, Dewey described processes and patterns evident in active problem solving. Here, we consider three: inquiry, knowledge, and truth. Next, because what is initially present is indeterminate, 2 a problem must be specifically formulated; problems do not preexist inquiry, as typically assumed.

Next, in phase 4 , one reasons through the meanings involved in the hypothesis, sizing up the implications or possible contradictions involved; frequently, what is discovered here requires a return to an earlier phase to reformulate the hypothesis or even the problem. The inquiry pattern Dewey sketched is schematic; he noted that actual cases of reasoning often do not show such discreteness or linearity.


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Thus, the pattern is not a summary of how people always think but rather how exemplary cases of inquirential thinking unfold e. Apart from this relation, its meaning is so empty that any content or filling may be arbitrarily poured in. LTI , LW To understand a product, one must understand the process; this is what Dewey does.

Denying the importance of knowledge, qua isolable product, is effectively denying a metaphysical account of reality that makes mind-the-substance separate from everything else. Truth, too, is radically reevaluated. For too long, truth connoted an ideal—an epistemic fixity a correspondence, a coherence which could terminate all further inquiry. As this is not the actual situation human beings or philosophy inhabits, the ideal should be set aside.

In scientific inquiry, the criterion of what is taken to be settled, or to be knowledge, is being so settled that it is available as a resource in further inquiry; not being settled in such a way as not to be subject to revision in further inquiry. Truth does not stand outside of experience, but is an experienced relation, particularly one which is socially shared. In How We Think , Dewey wrote,. Truth, truthfulness, transparent and brave publicity of intercourse, are the source and the reward of friendship.

Truth is having things in common. It is probably fair to say that, around the world, Dewey remains as well know for his educational theories see entry on philosophy of education, section Rousseau, Dewey, and the progressive movement as for his philosophical ones. In effect this was a call to see philosophy from the standpoint of education. Education offers a vantage ground from which to penetrate to the human, as distinct from the technical, significance of philosophic discussions….

The educational point of view enables one to envisage the philosophic problems where they arise and thrive, where they are at home, and where acceptance or rejection makes a difference in practice. If we are willing to conceive education as the process of forming fundamental dispositions, intellectual and emotional, toward nature and fellow-men, philosophy may even be defined as the general theory of education.

DE , MW9: Dewey was active in education his entire life. Besides high school and college teaching, he devised curricula, established, reviewed and administered schools and departments of education, participated in collective organizing, consulted and lectured internationally, and wrote extensively on many facets of education. This school also became a site for democratic expression by the local community. Learning deserves to be framed in this way: as a cumulative, progressive process where inquirers move from the dissatisfying phase of doubt toward another marked by the satisfying resolution of a problem.

The native and unspoiled attitude of childhood, marked by ardent curiosity, fertile imagination, and love of experimental inquiry, is near, very near, to the attitude of the scientific mind. HWT , MW6: Learning as an activity which incorporated actual problems necessitated a careful integration of lessons with specific learners. One way to do this was by identifying specific problems able to bridge curriculum and student and then create situations in which students have to work them out.

As active and creative beings, education should not fetter growth—even instruction should be subordinated to content if necessary. Content was supreme, and instruction should discipline children to ensure they are receptive. Dewey developed an interactional model to move beyond that debate. He refused to privilege either child or society.

While Romantics correctly identified the child replete with instincts, powers, habits, and histories as an indispensable starting point for pedagogy, Dewey argued that the child cannot be the only starting point. Larger social groups family, community, nation also have a legitimate stake in passing along extant interests, needs, and values as part of an educational synthesis. Still, of these two approaches, Dewey tilted more strongly against the high value placed by traditionalists on discipline and memorization.

While recognizing the legitimacy of conveying content facts, values , Dewey thought it paramount for schools to eschew indoctrination. Educating meant incorporating , with a wide berth for personal freedom, unique individuals into a changing society which—this had to remain clear—would soon be under their dominion. This is why who the child was mattered so very much. Following colleague and lifelong friend G.

Because character, rights, and duties are informed by and contribute to the social realm, schools were critical sites to learn and experiment with democracy. Democratic life consists not only in civic and economic conduct, but more crucially in habits of problem solving, compassionate imagination, creative expression, and civic self-governance. The full range of roles a child might assume in life is vast; once this is appreciated, it is incumbent upon society to make education its highest political and economic priority.

There will be almost a revolution in school education when study and learning are treated not as acquisition of what others know but as development of capital to be invested in eager alertness in observing and judging the conditions under which one lives. Yet until this happens, we shall be ill-prepared to deal with a world whose outstanding trait is change. Individuals exist in communities; as their lives change, needs and conflicts emerge that require intelligent management; we must make sense out of new experiences.

Democracy is the faith that the process of experience is more important than any special result attained, so that special results achieved are of ultimate value only as they are used to enrich and order the ongoing process.

Since the process of experience is capable of being educative, faith in democracy is all one with faith in experience and education. All ends and values that are cut off from the ongoing process become arrests, fixations. They strive to fixate what has been gained instead of using it to open the road and point the way to new and better experiences. The success or failure of democracy rests on education. Education is most determinative of whether citizens develop the habits needed to investigate problematic beliefs and situations, to communicate openly, throughout.

While every culture aims to convey values and beliefs to the coming generation, it is critical, Dewey thought, to distinguish between education which inculcates collaborative and creative hypothesizing and education which foments obeisance to parochialism and dogma. And philosophy must apply this same standard to itself. Dewey wrote extensively on ethics throughout his career; some writings were explicitly about ethics, but ethical analyses are present in works with other foci.

Dewey, in contrast, argued for a more experimental approach. Rather than a grand and final explanatory account of moral life, ethics describes intelligent methods for dealing with novel and morally perplexing situations. There are no stipulated, ultimate values, nor should any be sought.

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