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‘Data’ in the Royal Society's Philosophical Transactions, 1665–1886

Meyns, Chris (2019) ‘Data’ in the Royal Society's Philosophical Transactions, 1665–1886. Notes and Records: The Royal Society Journal of the History of Science. ISSN 0035-9149

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Abstract

Was there a concept of data before the so-called ‘data revolution’? This paper contributes to the history of the concept of data by investigating uses of the term ‘data’ in texts of the Royal Society's Philosophical Transactions for the period 1665–1886. It surveys how the notion enters the journal as a technical term in mathematics, and charts how over time it expands into various other scientific fields, including Earth sciences, physics and chemistry. The paper argues that in these texts the notion of data is not used merely as a rhetorical category, and also cannot strictly be identified with the category of evidence. Instead, the notion comes with an associated epistemic structure, one that is in line with its development from an early mathematical use.


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Item Type: Published Article or Volume
Creators:
CreatorsEmailORCID
Meyns, Chris
Keywords: Royal Society data evidence Philosophical Transactions epistemology
Subjects: General Issues > History of Philosophy of Science
Depositing User: Dr Chris Meyns
Date Deposited: 12 Oct 2019 20:20
Last Modified: 12 Oct 2019 20:20
Item ID: 16511
Journal or Publication Title: Notes and Records: The Royal Society Journal of the History of Science
Official URL: https://doi.org/10.1098/rsnr.2019.0024
DOI or Unique Handle: https://doi.org/10.1098/rsnr.2019.0024
Subjects: General Issues > History of Philosophy of Science
Date: 9 October 2019
ISSN: 0035-9149
URI: https://philsci-archive-dev.library.pitt.edu/id/eprint/16511

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