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Philosophy Research Archives

Volume 3, 1977

Robert A. Monk
Pages 1-53

The Logic of Discovery

I examine Hanson's idea of a logic of discovery and conclude that there is no such thing. Nevertheless, the idea is based on a correct insight—that scientists often arrive at hypotheses through a process of reasoning. I offer an alternative account of the nature of this process. It consists of the development of a precise hypothesis out of a vague idea, under controls imposed by facts or data and by the nature of the problem to which a solution is sought. I describe the process abstractly and use Kepler's work on the orbit of Mars as an example.