Science & Education

, Volume 4, Issue 1, pp 1–22 | Cite as

The nature of scientific thought

  • W. A. Suchting

Abstract

‘Scientific thought’ is regarded here as both a type of goal-directed behaviour (practice) and its product, and the question of its ‘nature’ posed in terms of that goal and of means appropriate for achieving it, preferably with regard to an existing paradigm (exemplar) such as the ‘Galilean-Newtonian’. ‘Empiricism’, a widely received view of the nature of science, is examined and rejected, as is the general idea that scientific thought has ‘philosophical foundations’. The question of the actual or possible scientific status of ‘the human sciences’ is raised and some methodological guidelines for an answer to it suggested.

References

  1. Althusser, L.: 1969, For Marx, Allen Lane, The Penguin Press, London.Google Scholar
  2. Althusser, L.: 1990, Philosophy and the Spontaneous Philosophy of the Scientists, Verso, London.Google Scholar
  3. Althusser, L. and Balibar, E.: 1970, Reading Capital, New Left Books, London.Google Scholar
  4. Bachelard, G.: 1986, The New Scientific Spirit, Beacon Press, Boston.Google Scholar
  5. Balibar, E.: 1978, ‘From Bachelard to Althusser: the Concept of “Epistemological Break”’, Economy and Society 7, 207–237.Google Scholar
  6. Boyd, R., Gasper, P., and Trout, J. D. (eds.): 1991, The Philosophy of Science, MIT Press, Cambridge, Mass..Google Scholar
  7. Cartwright, N.: 1983, How the Laws of Physics Lie, Clarendon Press, Oxford.Google Scholar
  8. Chalmers, A. F.: 1982, What is this Thing Called Science? (2nd ed.), University of Queensland Press, St Lucia, Queensland, Australia.Google Scholar
  9. Cromer, A.: 1993, Uncommon Sense. The Heretical Nature of Science, Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  10. Dewey, J.: 1938, Logic, the Theory of Inquiry, Holt, Rinehart and Winston, New York.Google Scholar
  11. Feyerabend, P. K.: 1981, Philosophical Papers, 2 vols, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge.Google Scholar
  12. Galileo: 1962, Dialogue Concerning the Two Chief World Systems — Ptolemaic and Copernican (trans. S. Drake), University of California Press, Berkeley and Los Angeles.Google Scholar
  13. Galileo: 1974, Two New Sciences (trans. S. Drake), University of Wisconsin Press, Madison, Wisconsin.Google Scholar
  14. Hacking, I.: 1983, Representing and Intervening, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge.Google Scholar
  15. Huxley, T. H.: 1893/1968, Collected Papers, 4 vols, Greenwood Press, New York.Google Scholar
  16. Lakatos, I.: 1978, Philosophical Papers, 2 vols, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge.Google Scholar
  17. Lecourt, D.: 1975, Marxism and Epistemology, New Left Books, London.Google Scholar
  18. Lewin, K.: 1935, ‘The Conflict between Aristotelian and Galilean Modes of Thought in Contemporary Psychology’, in K. Lewin (ed.), A Dynamic Theory of Personality, McGraw-Hill, New York, 1–42.Google Scholar
  19. Miller, R. W.: 1987, Fact and Method, Princeton University Press, Princeton.Google Scholar
  20. Mittelstrass, J.: 1972, ‘The Galilean Revolution. The Historical Fate of a Methodological Insight’, Studies in History and Philosophy of Science 2, 297–328.Google Scholar
  21. Nowak, L.: 1980, The Structure of Idealization, D. Reidel, Dordrecht.Google Scholar
  22. Pinker, S.: 1994, The Language Instinct, Allen Lane, The Penguin Press, Harmondsworth.Google Scholar
  23. Popper, K. R.: 1972, The Logic of Scientific Discovery (3rd ed.), Hutchinson, London.Google Scholar
  24. Rorty, R.: 1979, Philosophy and the Mirror of Nature, Princeton University Press, Princeton.Google Scholar
  25. Ruby, J. E.: 1986, ‘The Origins of Scientific “Law”’, Journal of the History of Ideas 47, 341–359.Google Scholar
  26. Sambursky, S. (ed.): 1975, Physical Theory, Pica Press, New York.Google Scholar
  27. Suchting, W. A.: 1986, Marx and Philosophy, Macmillan, London.Google Scholar
  28. Suchting, W. A.: 1992, ‘Constructivism Deconstructed’, Science & Education 1, 223–254.Google Scholar
  29. Suchting, W. A.: 1994, ‘Notes on the Cultural Significance of the Sciences’, Science & Education 3, 1–56.Google Scholar
  30. Tiles, M.: 1984, Bachelard: Science and Objectivity, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge.Google Scholar
  31. Waldrop, M. M.: 1994, Complexity, Penguin Books, Harmondsworth.Google Scholar
  32. Weber, M.: 1949, The Methodology of the Social Sciences, The Free Press, New York.Google Scholar
  33. Westfall, R. S.: 1980, Never at Rest. A Biography of Isaac Newton, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge.Google Scholar
  34. Wittgenstein, L.: 1953, Philosophical Investigations, Blackwell, Oxford.Google Scholar
  35. Zilsel, E.: 1942, ‘The Genesis of the Concept of Physical Law’, Philosophical Review 51, 245–279.Google Scholar
  36. Wolpert, L.: 1992, The Unnatural Nature of Science, Faber and Faber, London.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 1995

Authors and Affiliations

  • W. A. Suchting
    • 1
  1. 1.UltimoAustralia

Personalised recommendations