, Volume 26, Issue 4, pp 411–427 | Cite as

Mechanisms, Experiments, and Theory-Ladenness: A Realist–Perspectivalist View

  • Marco BuzzoniEmail author
Original Paper


The terms “perspectivism” and “perspectivalism” have been the focus of an intense philosophical discussion with important repercussions for the debate about the role of mechanisms in scientific explanations. However, leading exponents of the new mechanistic philosophy have conceded more than was necessary to the radically subjectivistic perspectivalism, and fell into the opposite error, by retaining not negligible residues of objectivistic views about mechanisms. In order to remove this vacillation between the subjective-cultural and the objective-natural sides of mechanisms, we shall raise the question about theory-ladenness over again and interpret it in its connection with the technical–experimental nature of scientific knowledge, as affirming the perspectival character of scientific knowledge: It is because of the character at once theory-laden and practice-laden, i.e. technique-laden, of our putting questions to nature that empirical reality must be investigated from particular perspectives: nature can be known scientifically only from a potentially infinite (not determinable a priori) number of perspectives or theoretical points of view, concretely exemplified by mechanisms or experimental ‘machines’ that allow specific access to specific aspects of sensible reality.


Craver Experiment Giere Mechanism New mechanistic philosophy Perspectivalism Perspectivism Realism Technics Theory-ladenness 


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© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Humanistic StudiesUniversity of MacerataMacerataItaly

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