We use evidence from cognitive psychology and the history of science to examine the issue of the theory-ladenness of perceptual observation. This evidence shows that perception is theory-laden, but that it is only strongly theory-laden when the perceptual evidence is ambiguous or degraded, or when it requires a difficult perceptual judgment. We argue that debates about the theory-ladenness issue have focused too narrowly on the issue of perceptual experience, and that a full account of the scientific process requires an examination of theory-ladenness in attention, perception, data interpretation, data production, memory, and scientific communication. We conclude that the evidence for theory-ladenness does not lead to a relativist account of scientific knowledge.
|Original language||English (US)|
|Journal||Philosophy of Science|
|Issue number||3 SUPPL.|
|State||Published - Dec 1 2001|
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- History and Philosophy of Science