Mary Hesse

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Mary Brenda Hesse FBA (15 October 1924 – 2 October 2016) was an English philosopher of science, latterly a professor in the subject at the University of Cambridge.


  • These three assumptions between them constitute a picture of science and the world somewhat as follows : there is an external world which can in principle be exhaustively described in scientific language. The scientist, as both observer and language-user, can capture the external facts of the world in prepositions that are true if they correspond to the facts and false if they do not. Science is ideally a linguistic system in which true propositions are in one-to-one relation to facts, including facts that are not directly observed because they involve hidden entities or properties, or past events or far distant events. These hidden events are described in theories, and theories can be inferred from observation, that is the hidden explanatory mechanism of the world can be discovered from what is open to observation. Man as scientist is regarded as standing apart from the world and able to experiment and theorize about it objectively and dispassionately.
    • Mary B. Hesse. Revolutions and Reconstructions in the Philosophy of Science. p. VII

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