Experiment and Representation
THE PHILOSOPHY OF SCIENCE is concerned in large part with the logic and epistemology of scientific theory and practice. Heidegger is certainly a philosopher of science in this sense, for his analysis of the experimental method is an ongoing consideration of the epistemological assumptions underlying scientific rationality, as well as a historical account of the practice of science by Galileo and Newton in contrast to Aristotle. In the 1930s, Heidegger's analysis of the experimental method is the beginning of his critique of representational thinking, for the culminating question he poses is that of the role of mathematical representation in science. He uncovers a metaphysics of subjectivity in which the certainty of the experimental method is founded upon the self-assertion of the thinking subject. Experimentation is therefore underwritten in Heidegger's account by an epistemology seeking the clarity and distinctness of subjective representations, a Cartesian logic that secures in such representations truths from which other truths can follow.
Sir Karl Popper (1959) argues that the logic of scientific development is not one of verification, not one of establishing certainties and securing truths, but of the falsification of hypotheses. Kuhn (1970) maintains that the history of science consists in shifts between incommensurable paradigms, from, for example, Ptolemy's geocentric universe to Copernican heliocentrism. The history of science cannot be considered cumulative under Kuhn's account, since there is no logical continuity throughout such a shift. Lakatos (1970) defends the notion of progress against the Kuhnian view by arguing that rational reconstruction of paradigm shifts is possible. Feyerabend (1975) claims that "anything goes," that is, scientific progress best takes place when conflicting or incommensurable paradigms coexist in the-