Is the scientific method a myth? Perspectives from the history and philosophy of science


Many philosophers and historians of science deny that there is a single scientific method that applies across all scientific disciplines. Here I distinguish normative from descriptive versions of this thesis. I defend the thesis that there are general normative principles that govern every science.


Darwin; Einstein; evolution; inference; methodology


  • Darwin, C., 1859. On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection, or the Preservation of Favoured Races in the Struggle for Life. John Murray. London. (Facsimile, 1964. Harvard University Press. Cambridge, MA).

  • Darwin, C., 1959. The Origin of Species. A Variorum Edition. M. Peckham. University of Pennsylvania Press. Philadelphia.

  • Einstein, A., 1933. «On the Method of Theoretical Physics». Herbert Spencer Lecture. Oxford University Press. Oxford.

  • Hacking, I., 1965. The Logic of Statistical Inference. Cambridge University Press. Cambridge.

  • Salmon, W., 1984. Scientific Explanation and the Causal Structure of the World. Princeton University Press. Princeton.

  • Sober, E., 2012. Did Darwin Write the Origin Backwards? Prometheus Books. Amherst. New York.

  • Sober, E., 2015. Ockham’s Razors – A User’s Manual. Cambridge University Press. Cambridge.

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