Norwood Russell Hanson

American philosopher of science

Norwood Russell Hanson (August 17, 1924 – April 18, 1967) was an American philosopher of science. Hanson was a pioneer in advancing the argument that observation is theory-laden — that observation language and theory language are deeply interwoven — and that historical and contemporary comprehension are similarly deeply interwoven. His single most central intellectual concern was the comprehension and development of a logic of discovery.

Quotes about Hanson

  • In recent years several of those concerned with the history of science have found the sorts of experiments described above immensely suggestive. N. R. Hanson, in particular, has used gestalt demonstrations to elaborate some of the same consequences of scientific belief that concern me here. Other colleagues have repeatedly noted that history of science would make better and more coherent sense if one could suppose that scientists occasionally experienced shifts of perception like those described above. Yet, though psychological experiments are suggestive, they cannot, in the nature of the case, be more than that. They do display characteristics of perception that could be central to scientific development, but they do not demonstrate that the careful and controlled observation exercised by the research scientist at all partakes of those characteristics. Furthermore, the very nature of these experiments makes any direct demonstration of that point impossible. If historical example is to make these psychological experiments seem relevant, we must first notice the sorts of evidence that we may and may not expect history to provide.
    • Thomas Kuhn, The Structure of Scientific Revolutions (1962), Chap. X. Revolutions as Changes of World View
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