As the title slyly suggests, this book gathers articles from researchers across disciplines to reflect on what we do when we make discoveries in science. It grew out of my first tentative attempts several years ago to shed new light on scientific naming processes and the different functions of kind terms. My thinking about this led me to ask what exactly happens when we make scientific discoveries, for example in biology. After discussing this and related questions with colleagues from various disciplines, giving a number of talks, and publishing some articles, it turns out that my original tentative attempts described above marked the starting point of a path that I had not foreseen and that eventually led me to the discovery of a new philosophical field of research: the philosophy of scientific discovery. Something we see particularly clearly these days is that scientific discoveries are not only central to science, but to society as a whole. I believe that this makes it even more important to better understand what constitutes scientific discoveries. That is the main purpose of this book.
I am glad and grateful to have the opportunity to explore this new exciting and inspiring field of research here. Of course, this book would not have been possible without the support of a number of people. First of all, I would like to thank all the contributors to this book and to the conference from which the book emerged: Hanne Andersen, Kim Boström, Jörg Friedrich, Mitch Green, Susanne Hahn, Mario Livio, Joe Moore, Gernot Münster, Theo Michael Schmitt, Niko Strobach, and Christian Tapp. Moreover, I would like to thank Frank Meier-Hamidi of Franz Hitze Haus, Münster, where the conference was held in December 2019, and also Roland Mikosch (camera & production) and Kim Boström (music) with whom I prepared a conference video.1 Furthermore, I would like to thank all my colleagues who supported me in this project, especially Benny Göcke, Bill Lycan, and Michael Pohl. Research for this project was funded by the German Research Foundation (Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft, project number 295845819).
A special thank you goes to Michael Kienecker from mentis, who has accompanied me on a book project for the seventh time now and who has again supported all of my ideas – as always, it has been my great pleasure to work with him. Finally, I would like to thank Uta and Hannah; I greatly appreciate the way they have supported me in the middle of a pandemic working on this book. I certainly couldn’t have done it without them.