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Framework Confirmation by Newtonian Abduction

Curiel, Erik (2019) Framework Confirmation by Newtonian Abduction. [Preprint]

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Abstract

The analysis of theory-confirmation generally takes the form: show that a theory in conjunction with physical data and auxiliary hypotheses yield a prediction about phenomena; verify the prediction; provide a quantitative measure of the degree of theory-confirmation this yields. The issue of confirmation for an entire framework (e.g., Newtonian mechanics en bloc, as opposed, say, to Newton's theory of gravitation) either does not arise, or is dismissed in so far as frameworks are thought not to be the kind of thing that admits scientific confirmation. I argue that there is another form of scientific reasoning that has not received philosophical attention, what I call 'Newtonian abduction', that does provide confirmation for frameworks as a whole, and does so in two novel ways. (In particular, Newtonian abduction is *not* IBE, but rather is much closer to Peirce's original explication of the idea of abduction.) I further argue that Newtonian abduction is at least as important a form of reasoning in science as the deductive form sketched above. The form is beautifully summed up by Maxwell (1876): "The true method of physical reasoning is to begin with the phenomena and to deduce the forces from them by a direct application of the equations of motion."


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Item Type: Preprint
Creators:
CreatorsEmailORCID
Curiel, Erikerik@strangebeautiful.com0000-0002-5812-3033
Additional Information: This version forthcoming in *Synthese*.
Keywords: confirmation scientific theories scientific reasoning scientific knowledge Newton
Subjects: General Issues > Data
Specific Sciences > Physics > Classical Physics
General Issues > Confirmation/Induction
General Issues > Explanation
General Issues > Models and Idealization
Specific Sciences > Physics
General Issues > Structure of Theories
General Issues > Theory/Observation
Depositing User: Dr. Erik Curiel
Date Deposited: 23 Nov 2019 06:51
Last Modified: 23 Nov 2019 06:51
Item ID: 16647
DOI or Unique Handle: https://doi.org/10.1007/s11229-019-02400-9
Subjects: General Issues > Data
Specific Sciences > Physics > Classical Physics
General Issues > Confirmation/Induction
General Issues > Explanation
General Issues > Models and Idealization
Specific Sciences > Physics
General Issues > Structure of Theories
General Issues > Theory/Observation
Date: 21 November 2019
URI: https://philsci-archive-dev.library.pitt.edu/id/eprint/16647

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