Pierre Duhem's approach was strongly influenced by the early works of Josiah Willard Gibbs, which Duhem effectively explained and promoted among French scientists.
11 Facts About Pierre Duhem
Pierre Duhem was convinced that all physical phenomena, including mechanics, electromagnetism, and chemistry, could be derived from the principles of thermodynamics.
Pierre Duhem therefore did not follow the statistical mechanics of Maxwell, Boltzmann, and Gibbs, who explained the laws of thermodynamics in terms of the statistical properties of mechanical systems composed of many atoms.
Pierre Duhem was an opponent of Albert Einstein's theory of relativity.
In 1914, Pierre Duhem commented that Einstein's relativity theory "has turned physics into a real chaos where logic loses its way and common-sense runs away frightened".
Pierre Duhem stated that the theory of relativity "overthrow[s] all the doctrines in which one has spoken of space, of time, of movement, all the theories of mechanics and of physics".
Pierre Duhem is well known for his work on the history of science, which resulted in the ten volume Le systeme du monde: histoire des doctrines cosmologiques de Platon a Copernic.
Pierre Duhem consequently came to regard them as the founders of modern science, having in his view anticipated many of the discoveries of Galileo Galilei and later thinkers.
In philosophy of science, Pierre Duhem is best known for arguing that hypotheses are not straightforwardly refuted by experiment and that there are no crucial experiments in science.
Pierre Duhem argues that physics is subject to certain methodological limitations that do not affect other sciences.
Nonetheless, Pierre Duhem argues that it is important for the theologian or metaphysician to have detailed knowledge of physical theory in order not to make illegitimate use of it in speculations.