University of Minnesota
School of Physics & Astronomy

History of Science and Technology/Minnesota Center for Philosophy of Science Colloquium

Friday, February 12th 2016
Speaker: Ot├ívio Bueno, Department of Philosophy, University of Miami
Subject: Visual Evidence and Styles of Scientific Reasoning
Refreshments served at 3:15 p.m.

The notion of style of scientific reasoning has been used as an analytic tool for the characterization of significant features of scientific practice (in particular, by Crombie [1994] and Hacking [2002]). Styles of scientific reasoning are different from scientific theories in a given domain of inquiry: styles are broader than theories, and they are not so dependent on features of the particular domain. In this work, I provide a characterization of the concept of style of reasoning that overcomes some difficulties that have been raised against this tool (by Bolduc [2014]). I then examine the role played by visual evidence in a characteristic style of reasoning found in much of contemporary sciences, which I call instrumental style. The implications for the normative nature of styles and some limitations of visual evidence in the sciences are finally examined.

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