Making Scientific Discoveries

Interdisciplinary Reflections

Editor: Jan G. Michel
Scientific progress depends crucially on scientific discoveries. Yet the topic of scientific discoveries has not been central to debate in the philosophy of science. This book aims to remedy this shortcoming. Based on a broad reading of the term “science” (similar to the German term “Wissenschaft ”), the book convenes experts from different disciplines who reflect upon several intertwined questions connected to the topic of making scientific discoveries.
Among these questions are the following: What are the preconditions for making scientific discoveries? What is it that we (have to) do when we make discoveries in science? What are the objects of scientific discoveries, how do we name them, and how do scientific names function? Do dis-coveries in, say, physics and biology, share an underlying structure, or do they differ from each other in crucial ways? Are other fields such as theology and environmental studies loci of scientific discovery? What is the purpose of making scientific discoveries? Explaining nature or reality? Increasing scientific knowledge? Finding new truths? If so, how can we account for instructive blunders and serendipities in science?
In the light of the above, the following is an encompassing question of the book: What does it mean to make a discovery in science, and how can scientific discoveries be distinguished from non-scientific discoveries?

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Jan G. Michel ist wissenschaftlicher Mitarbeiter an der Universität Bochum in der Emmy Noether-Gruppe “Theologie als Wissenschaft?!” am Lehrstuhl für Religionsphilosophie & Wissenschaftstheorie.