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Studies in the Methodology of Science

Igor Hanzel

The book discusses methodological issues relating to the philosophy of science and the natural and social sciences. It reconstructs the methods of measurement and scientific explanation, the relation of data, phenomena and mechanisms, the problem of theory-ladenness of explanation and the problem of historic explanation. From the sciences chosen for methodological analysis are those of early classical mechanics, early thermodynamics, Bohr’s theory of atom, early quantum mechanics, research into great apes and political economy.
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Chapter 4: Kantian and Post-Kantian Themes in Early Quantum Mechanics

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The aim of this chapter is to deal with some Kantian themes in early quantum mechanics, where by these themes I understand certain aspects of Kant’s epistemology presented primarily in the Critique of Pure Reason which reappeared in the course of the formulation and discussion in early quantum mechanics in the second half of 1920’s. At the same time I shall try to show that an adequate epistemological treatment of early quantum mechanics requires a further development and change of the framework and content of Kant’s epistemology.

My approach to early quantum mechanics is based on the view that one can discern in a natural-science discipline an experimento-conceptual dimension, that is, the dimension where it practically encounters nature and where it tries to treat certain problems which it faces when intervening into nature by treating them in conceptual systems. In addition to this dimension, I identify two more: a meta-conceptual dimension, where the choice of certain concepts in the first dimension is subjected to a specific reflective endeavor, and a methodological dimension, where issues like methods of explanation, and prediction employed in the conceptual dimension are subjected to a special analysis. With respect to the meta-conceptual dimension I will try to show that Kantian themes like intuitiveness (Anschaulichkeit), observability, the existence of a thing-in-itself, the applicability/nonapplicability of space and time as forms of intuition loomed large in the 1920’s.

In my approach I shall unify the epistemological analysis of the meta-conceptual dimension of early...

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