Alexander L. Nikiforov
Institute of Philosophy, Russian Academy of Sciences
William Whewell and modern philosophy of science
Abstract. The article discusses the methodological conception of the Scottish thinker William Whewell, created in the middle of the twentieth century. Whewell believed that man has some innate ideas, which imposing on sensory perceptions generate knowledge. Among the fundamental ideas that guide human knowledge, Whewell distinguishes the ideas of space, time and number. They are studied and developed by «pure» sciences. In other sciences, these fundamental ideas are complemented with the ideas of causality, environment, similarities, etc. In his methodological constructions, Whewell relied on a thorough study of the history of practically all the developed sciences of his time, therefore he anticipated a turn towards the history of the philosophy of science, which took place in the second half of the twentieth century. The conception of Whewell included of idea of a hypothetical-deductive structure of scientific knowledge, the idea of «theory-ladeness» of facts, and empirical verifiability as a most important criterion of scientific nature. It is a pity that the conception created by the founder of the philosophy of science was forgotten for a long time.
Keywords: William Whewell, philosophy of sci-ence, positivism, knowledge, fundamental ideas, fact, hypothetical-deductive theory
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