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Scientific Evidence: Creating and Evaluating Experimental Instruments and Research Techniques

William Bechtel
PSA: Proceedings of the Biennial Meeting of the Philosophy of Science Association
Vol. 1990, Volume One: Contributed Papers (1990), pp. 559-572
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/192732
Page Count: 14
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Since scans are not currently available to screen readers, please contact JSTOR User Support for access. We'll provide a PDF copy for your screen reader.
Scientific Evidence: Creating and Evaluating Experimental Instruments and Research Techniques
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Abstract

The production of evidence for scientific hypotheses and theories often depends upon complex instruments and techniques for employing them. An important epistemological question arises as to how the reliability of these instruments and techniques is assessed. To address that question, this paper examines the introduction of electron microscopy and cell fractionation in cell biology. One important claim is that scientists often arrive at their techniques for employing instruments like the electron microscope and the ultracentrifuge by tinkering and that they evaluate the resulting techniques in part by whether they produce plausible data given developing theories.

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