PSA2016: The 25th Biennial Meeting of the Philosophy of Science Association

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Learning about Unobservable Entities (Sponsored by the Committee for Integrated History and Philosophy of Science)

Thursday, 3 November 2016
09:00 - 10:30

Piedmont 3 (12th Floor)

Chair: Hasok Chang, University of Cambridge

How do scientists acquire and justify their knowledge about unobservable entities? This has long been a key issue in the philosophy of science, at the core of the scientific realism debate among others. We believe that this is a clear case in which philosophical thinking needs to be informed by a detailed sense of how scientific knowledge has actually developed. Therefore, it provides a fine showcase for integrated history and philosophy of science. 

This proposed session will present three case-studies from a wide range of sciences dealing with different types of unobservable (or difficult-to-observe) entities: electrons, the earth’s interior, and UFOs. The talks will be followed by an overall commentary addressing the commonalities and contrasts among the cases, and offering reflections on the philosophical use of case-studies.


Comments
Jutta Schickore, Indiana University,
Inaccessibility and the Growth of Knowledge about the Earth's Deep Interior
Teru Miyake
Seeing is Believing: A Historical Perspective on the Ontological Status of UFOs
Kate Dorsch, University of Pennsylvania,
Perspectival Realism about What? Tracking the Electron across Shifting Theoretical Perspectives
Theodore Arabatzis, National and Kapodistrian University of Athens,

 

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