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SpeculationWithin and About Science$
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Peter Achinstein

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780190615055

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: December 2018

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780190615055.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 24 January 2022

Scientific Speculation

Scientific Speculation

A Pragmatic Approach

(p.1) 1 Scientific Speculation

Peter Achinstein

Oxford University Press

The chapter presents a definition of speculation in terms of concepts of evidence the author has introduced in other works. This definition is used to examine three popular views about scientific speculation: never speculate (Newton), speculate freely but test (Whewell), and speculate freely even without testing (Feyerabend). All three views are rejected, and in their place a pragmatic position, suggested by the work of James Clerk Maxwell, is defended. According to the latter, whether and how a scientist should speculate depends on the aims of the investigation and on standards, both epistemic and non-epistemic, different from those utilized for experimental proof.

Keywords:   Feyerabend, Maxwell, Newton, pragmatic, speculation, Whewell

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