Reinvigorating the Nineteenth Century Scientific Method: A Peirce-pective on Science

Pietarinen A., DAVOODY BENI M.

Perspectives on Science, vol.31, no.5, pp.684-715, 2023 (Scopus) identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 31 Issue: 5
  • Publication Date: 2023
  • Doi Number: 10.1162/posc_a_00605
  • Journal Name: Perspectives on Science
  • Journal Indexes: Scopus, Academic Search Premier, IBZ Online, International Bibliography of Social Sciences, American History and Life, Historical Abstracts, Philosopher's Index, Sociological abstracts, zbMATH
  • Page Numbers: pp.684-715
  • Middle East Technical University Affiliated: Yes


This paper proposes to recover the topic of the philosophy of scientific method from its late nineteenth-century roots. The subject matter of scientific method sprouted from key inferential ingredients identified by Charles Peirce. In this paper, the historical path is traversed from the viewpoint of contemporary Cognitive Structural Realism (CSR). Peirce’s semiotic theory of methods and practices of scientific inquiry prefigured CSR’s reliance on embodied informational structures and experimentation upon forms of relations that model generic scientific domains. Three results are shown to follow from this convo-cation: (i) a naturalization of Peirce’s interconnected abductive, deductive and inductive stages of the logic of science, here characterized de novo in terms of CSR. (ii) a perspective to scientific modeling that incorporates processes of abstraction and generalization as originated from Peirce’s logic of science, and (iii) diagrammatic reasoning as a pivotal method in analyzing scientific reasoning in experimental practices.