Date of Award


Document Type

Dissertation - Restricted

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



First Advisor

Francis J. Collingwood


It is the purpose of this dissertation to present Duhem's position on the nature and limits of man's knowledge of physical reality, and his conception of the intellectual processes through which that knowledge is acquire.d We will do this by treating Duhem's position on two essential points or any investigation of nature, namely, man's ability to achieve knowledge of physical being, and the nature of the individual sciences1n which this knowledge is pursued. These points will be treated 1n Chapter I of the paper. We will then present Duhem's position on three more specific points related to man's attempt to achieve precise and detailed knowledge of physical being. Each of these points will be treated in individual chapters. Accordingly, Chapter II will treat the kinds of intellectual act necessary for such knowledge Chapter III will treat the employment of mathematics as an aid 1n attaining such knowledge Finally, Chapter IV will treat the term toward which this knowledge of physical being progresses. For this purpose we will draw upon all of those works in which Duhem treated these points at any length.

This dissertation is intended to be an exposition o! Duhem's doctrine. It is not intended to be an evaluation or his thought. The judgments of his critics and commentators are, with few exceptions, included in the footnotes where their comments may serve to elucidate the point in question.



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