FOM: Hempel

Robert Black Robert.Black at
Thu Jan 27 13:31:22 EST 2000

Steve Stevenson:

>It wasn't until 1948 that philosophy of science
>first asked (Hempel) what the scientists themselves taught in the way
>of the basics of science and how they (scientists) actually go about
>doing theory. Much suprise.... It took another 30 years for philosophy
>to act on the 1948 insights.

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_ ?

Robert Black
Dept of Philosophy
University of Nottingham
Nottingham NG7 2RD

tel. 0115-951 5845
home tel. 0115-947 5468
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