The Force and Reason of Experiment

The Force and Reason of Experiment application/pdf icon

In Homer Le Grand (editor) Experimental Inquiries, Historical, Philosophical and Social Studies of Experimentation in Science, Kluwer Academic Publishers, Dordrecht, pp.48-79, 1990


Three examples in physics (Archimedes), anthropology (Baudin) and biology (Pasteur) are used to define the new realism that emerges from radical science studies of experiments; an anthropological model is offered as an alternative to the Great Divide. But why was Archimedes so emboldened by his apodictic demonstration that he could move the planet and why was Hiero so amazed by the smaller scale show, impressed (as the text tells us) by the power of technique? Because "some great weight may be moved by a slight force". Is it possible to reverse the age old balance of forces? Can one man become stronger than the multitude? And this not just, ideally, in a thought experiment about going to another planet and moving the Earth, but in practice, on the beach...


1989: Hollondais / Dutch
« De kracht en de rede van het experiment » in Kennis et Methode, Vol.XIII, n°1, pp.28-62

Allemand / German
« Eine Tatsache ist eine Tatsache » in Von Rüdiger Schmidt und Bettina Wahrig Schmidt (editors) Gesellschaft für Philosophische Bildung, Lübeck, Luciferlag, pp.210-219