Philosophy Lexicon of Arguments

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Duhem I 196
Definition Raw Fact/Poincaré: "The scientific fact is only the raw fact, translated into a comfortable language.
Everything that the scholar creates of a fact is the language in which he expresses it."

Z LL 2a

E.g. I observe a galvanometer and ask a layman: does the current flow? He'll try to determine something on the wire. The assistant will understand the question like this: does the light strip move?
The difference between a raw and a scientific fact is the same as that between two expressions in two different languages.
It is not correct that the words "the current flows" are based on a convention, to translate the fact that the magnet strip is distracted! E.g. it may well be that the assistant says: the current is flowing, but the magnet does not move, the galvanometer seems to have a defect.
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I 197
He can observe the occurrence of gas bubbles or something else on a voltmeter that is also connected to the circuit. "The current flows" does not mean a certain concrete fact in a technical or conventional language, but a symbolic formula. For the theorist, an infinite number of different kinds can be translated into concrete facts, since all these incoherent facts permit the same theoretical interpretation.

Duh I
P. Duhem
Ziel und Struktur der physikalischen Theorien Hamburg 1998


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Ed. Martin Schulz, access date 2017-05-25