Philosophical aspects of scientific discovery: A historical survey

Keiichi Noé

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

1 Citation (Scopus)


This paper is intended as an investigation of scientific discoveries from a philosophical point of view. In the first half of this century, most of philosophers rather concentrated on the logical analysis of science and set the problem of discovery aside. Logical positivists distinguished a context of discovery from a context of justification and excluded the former from their analysis of scientific theories. Although Popper criticized their inductivism and suggested methodological falsificationism, he also left the elucidation of discovery to psychological inquiries. The problem of scientific discovery was proprely treated for the first time by the “New Philosophy of Science” school in the 1960’s. Hanson reevaluated the method of “retroduction” on the basis of Peirce’s logical theory and analysed Kepler’s astronomical discovery in detail as a typical application of it. Kuhn’s theory of paradigm located discoveries in the context of scientific revolutions. Moreover, he paid attention to the function of metaphor in scientific discoveries. Metaphorical use of existing terms and concepts to overcome theoretical difficulties often plays a decisive role in developping new ideas. In the period of scientific revolution, theoretical metaphors can open up new horizons of scientific research by way of juxtapositions of heterogeneous concepts. To explicate such a complicated situation we need the “rhetoric” of science rather than the “logic” of science.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationDiscovery Science - 1st International Conference, DS 1998, Proceedings
EditorsSetsuo Arikawa, Hiroshi Motoda
Number of pages11
ISBN (Print)3540653902, 9783540653905
Publication statusPublished - 1998 Jan 1
Event1st International Conference on Discovery Science, DS 1998 - Fukuoka, Japan
Duration: 1998 Dec 141998 Dec 16

Publication series

NameLecture Notes in Computer Science (including subseries Lecture Notes in Artificial Intelligence and Lecture Notes in Bioinformatics)
ISSN (Print)0302-9743
ISSN (Electronic)1611-3349


Other1st International Conference on Discovery Science, DS 1998

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Theoretical Computer Science
  • Computer Science(all)


Dive into the research topics of 'Philosophical aspects of scientific discovery: A historical survey'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this