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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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Introduction

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This book is a study of methods employed in the natural and social sciences. My approach to natural and social sciences is based, drawing partially on (Habermas 1981), on the view that one can discern in them a practico-conceptual dimension, that is, the dimension where they practically encounter nature and/or society and where they try to treat certain problems which they face in nature and society by intervening into nature and/or society based on the conceptualization of these problems. In addition to this dimension, I identify two more features: a metaconceptual dimension, where the choice of certain concepts in the first dimension is subjected to a specific reflective endeavor and a methodological dimension, where methods of derivation of concepts in the conceptual dimension for the purposes of, for example, explanation and prediction, employed are subjected to a special analysis.

This study is therefore accomplished by drawing on the following three resources. The first is the contemporary philosophy of science which deals with the methods of construction of conceptual systems in natural and social sciences. The second source is the epistemology of Kant’s Critique of Pure Reason as well as the philosophical categories in Hegel’s Science of Logic. I realize that it is highly unusual, to say the least, to draw on Hegel in the field of philosophy of science but as try to show in this book, the employment of these categories enables one to enlarge the conceptual framework of philosophy of science. The third source,...

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