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University of Toronto St. George
History and Philosophy of Science and Technology

Chapter ThreePreliminary ObservationsEmpirical facts supported by direct straightforward observational evidence For example a pencil on a desk You can see feel hear taste and smell it if you wantedNow you have another pencil same situation But you put it in a drawer You cannot see it there but you believe it is there This belief cannot be the same as believing the pencil on the desk After all you cannot see touch or observe it in the drawerThis is because most of us cannot imagine that objects go out of existence when they are no longer observed Stable objects remain in existence without being observedThe pencil on the dust is direct observational evidence while the other stems from our views on the world we live inA scientific theory has relevant facts but theories from the history of science are based on philosophicalconceptual convictions about the sort of world people involved inhabitedExample from ancient Greece to the early 1600s people believed plants moved w perfectly circular and uniform motion at the same speed Our current theories for ex Mars shows that it moves in an elliptical orbit and at varying speedsAt first the initial beliefs were obvious because ether moved perfectly circular this everything within ether would do the same These facts are heavily philosophicalEmpiricalphilosophical and conceptual facts are not absolute Most beliefs are a mixture Ex People observed stars moved perfectly circular this empirical as wellIt is better to think in terms of a continuum At one end straightforward and at the other philosophicalconceptualA note on Terminology
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