second problem with naive inductivism is that observation is seldom
objective and free of preheld assumptions. This is because:
Observations are not determined solely by our senses.
For example, visual experiences are not determined solely by the
images on the retina. The brain processes the images and interprets
them, often without our being aware of it. Similarly what we experience
with our other senses (hearing, taste, feel etc) can vary from person
Observation statements presuppose theory.
For observations to become observation statements we need to use
words and those words incorporate theories. For example if we say
the table is red, we have a theory about what the colour red and
how it looks.
Observation and theory are guided by experiment.
Theory precedes observation in science. First a scientist has a
hypothesis and then s/he tests it with observations. Otherwise the
scientist would not know what to observe, that is, which observations
were relevant. Also scientists use equipment to measure and observe
and these indirect observations require theory to read and interpret.
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Chalmers, What is this thing called Science, 2nd edition,
University of Queensland Press, St. Lucia, 1982, chapter 3.
Objectivity and the Theory-Dependence Thesis, 1997.
experience are not determined by the images on the retina, 1998.
statements presuppose theory, 1998.
its problems, and the theory dependence of observation, 1999.
and the Theory-Dependence of Observation, 2000.
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