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Grant number like: FT-59929-12

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Peter Achinstein
Johns Hopkins University (Baltimore, MD 21218-2608)

Summer Stipends
Research Programs

[Grant products]

$6,000 (approved)
$6,000 (awarded)

Grant period:
7/1/2012 – 8/31/2012

Evidence and Method in Science

I propose to write a book raising the philosophical question: what is meant by scientific evidence and method? I will begin by expanding definitions of evidence I have proposed in other writings, and will then raise a new question: how are these definitions to be applied to actual scientific cases? To answer I will consider whether, for this purpose, the definitions must be supplemented by rules of a scientific method such as those of Isaac Newton. I will present a new way of interpreting Newton's four rules suggested by his actual practice, and meet objections to them raised by various historical and contemporary authors. Finally,I will substantially broaden the discussion of scientific methods by examining three methods advocated by the 19th century theoretical physicist James Clerk Maxwell that are different from Newton's, and that, contrary to standard contemporary views about scientific method, can each be used legitimately to achieve different important scientific goals.