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Ideological "Assumptions" in Physics: Social Determinations of Internal Structures

Aristides Baltas
PSA: Proceedings of the Biennial Meeting of the Philosophy of Science Association
Vol. 1986, Volume Two: Symposia and Invited Papers (1986), pp. 130-151
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/192796
Page Count: 22
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Ideological "Assumptions" in Physics: Social Determinations of Internal Structures
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Abstract

The paper attempts to walk some first steps toward a unified and empirically oriented theory of both the structure and the history of physics. Physics is considered a structured whole made up of three interconstitutive elements (conceptual system, object, experimental procedures). This conceptual system is always already interpreted while it is this interpretation which ties the system to our overall experience thereby making it understood. It is argued that our experience is always ideologically (and thence socially) determined and that this interpretation inevitably harbours the ideological element in the form of scientifically unwarranted ideological "assumptions." The character of such "assumptions" is discussed, some examples are given and some consequences for the history of physics are drawn.

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