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The Research of Ian Hacking’s Thoughts on the New Experimentalism

Author: ChenYuanLei
Tutor: YanLi
School: Nanjing Agricultural College
Course: Philosophy of Science and Technology
Keywords: Ian Hacking Experiment Reality Realism
CLC: N02
Type: Master's thesis
Year: 2011
Downloads: 16
Quote: 0
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Abstract


Experimental science is an important pillar of the scientific development since modern times. However, for a long time, the philosophers of science have seemed largely ignored the philosophical research for experiment. They usually prefer to explore the theory and realism of representation while pay little attention to the operational problems about experiments, technology and how to use knowledge to change the world. The famous philosophers like Duhem, Popper, Kuhn, Lakatos, Feyerabend and so on can not make a convincing real judgment about the experiment because of the hobby of theory and the ignorance of the operational issues. This science look of "theory-dominated" is the natural result of ancient Greece Plato’s idea, modern Descartes’ rationalism and modern representational science.Therefore, some philosophers of science begin to find a relatively reliable basis for science in the field of experimental science so as to save the scientific progress and rationality based on scientific practice. Thus, the New Experimentalism has come into being. This school of thought involves a large number of philosophers of science, for example, Ian Hacking, Franklin, Galison, Gooding, Mayo, Baetens, Fan The Dege Mu, Robert·Ackerman, Booker Wald, Hyperion Wahlberg, Stein Le and so on. No doubt. Ian Hacking is the pioneer and founder of the New Experimentalism, whose foundational work "Representing and Intervening" was first published in 1983 and was printed many times in the following time.This paper mainly focuses on Ian Hacking’s experimental thoughts based on introducing the background of the New Experimentalising being coming into being and its history of development. He puts forward the metaphorical proposition "Experiment has its own life" by firstly criticizing "theory-loaded", then pointing out that there are complicated and multiple relationships between experiments and theories and deeply researching on the science of experiment. Furthermore, he points out that the traditional dispute between realism and anti-realism can not reach an agreement in the level of theory representation and it is nonsense. But the scientific realism is inevitable in the experimental activities. At last, he put forward the reality (experiment) realism so as to prove the rationality of science.He deeply discusses the elementary status and significance of experiment, digs the practical features of the experimental structure, tries to correct the tendency of "theory-dominated", appeals from representing to intervening and from theory to experiment in order to go forward to the science of "practice-dominated" instead of "theory-dominated".

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