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Theoria. Revista de Teoría, Historia y Fundamentos de la Ciencia

Volume 17, Issue 2, Mayo 2002

Friedrich Steinle
Pages 291-316

Challenging Established Concepts
Ampère and Exploratory Experimentation

The more unknowns there are and the newer a field of research is, the less well defined are the experiments. Once a field has been sufficiently worked over so that the possible conclusions are more or less limited to existence or nonexistence, and perhaps to quantitative determination, the experiments will become increasingly better defined. But they will no longer be independent, because they are carried along by a system of earlier experiments and decisions, which is generally the situation in physics and chemistry today. Such a system will then become self-evident know-how itself. We will no longer be aware of its application and effect (Fleck 1935 (1980), p. 114, translation slightly altered from Fleck 1979, p. 86, original emphasis).