Advertisement

The Structure of Scientific Discovery: From a Philosophical Point of View

  • Keiichi Noé
Chapter
Part of the Lecture Notes in Computer Science book series (LNCS, volume 2281)

Abstract

The term “discovery” can be defined as “the act of becoming aware of something previously existing but unknown.” There are many kinds of discoveries from geographical to mathematical ones. Roughly speaking, we can classify discoveries into two types: the factual discovery and the conceptual one. In the historical development of scientific inquiry, the former typically occurs during the period of “normal science” in Kuhnian term. The latter emerges in the opportunity of “scientific revolution,” i.e., the time of a paradigm-shift. It is necessary for scientific discoveries to use imagination as well as reasoning. Based on the study of aphasic disturbances from a viewpoint of using figurative expressions by Roman Jakobson, we would like to discriminate between the metonymical imagination from the metaphorical one. While the former is related to discoveries of facts and laws which complete an unfinished theory, the latter is concerned with conceptual discoveries which change a viewpoint from explicit facts to implicit unknown relations. Considering these points, it is useful to examine Poincaré’s description of his own experience concerning mathematical discovery. He emphasized the working of “the subliminal ego” and “the aesthetic sensibility” in his discovery of Fuchsian function. These activities can be compared to the function of metaphorical imagination. However, it is not easy to formulate the unconscious process of “aspect-dawning” in the form of explicit rules or algorithm. This suggests the difficulty in realizing scientific discovery by computers.

Keywords

Normal Science Mathematical Entity Factual Discovery Unconscious Process Logical Positivist 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

Preview

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

References

  1. 1.
    Hanson, N., Patterns of Discovery, Cambridge, 1969[1958], p.19.Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    Hanson, N., Ibid., p. 90.Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    Jakobson, R., On Language, Cambridge Mass., 1990, p.129.Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    Koyre, A., From the Closed World to the Infinite Universe, Baltimore, 1970[1957]Google Scholar
  5. 5.
    Kuhn, T., The Structure of Scientific Revolutions, Chicago, 1970.Google Scholar
  6. 6.
    Kuhn, T., Ibid., p.94f.Google Scholar
  7. 7.
    Kuhn, T., The Essential Tension, Chicago, 1977., p. 227..Google Scholar
  8. 8.
    Kuhn, T., “What Are Scientific Revolutions?”, in Lorenz Krueger et al. (eds.), The Probabilistic Revolution, Vol. 1, Cambridge, Mass., 1987., p. 18.Google Scholar
  9. 9.
    Noé, K., “Philosophical Aspects of Scientific Discovery: A Historical Survey”, in Setsuo Arikawa and Hiroshi Motoda (eds.), Discovery Science, Berlin, 1998, p.6..Google Scholar
  10. 10.
    Poincaré, H., Science and Method, London, 1996[1914], pp. 50–51.Google Scholar
  11. 11.
    Poincaré, H., Ibid., p.51.Google Scholar
  12. 12.
    Poincaré, H., Ibid., pp.55–57.Google Scholar
  13. 13.
    Wittgenstein, L., Philosophical Investigation, Oxford, 1997[1953], p. 193..Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2002

Authors and Affiliations

  • Keiichi Noé
    • 1
  1. 1.Graduate School of Arts and LettersTohoku UniversitySendaiJapan

Personalised recommendations