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  1. What is Theoretical Progress of Science?Juha Saatsi - 2019 - Synthese 196 (2):611-631.
    The epistemic conception of scientific progress equates progress with accumulation of scientific knowledge. I argue that the epistemic conception fails to fully capture scientific progress: theoretical progress, in particular, can transcend scientific knowledge in important ways. Sometimes theoretical progress can be a matter of new theories ‘latching better onto unobservable reality’ in a way that need not be a matter of new knowledge. Recognising this further dimension of theoretical progress is particularly significant for understanding scientific realism, since realism is naturally (...)
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  • Systematizing the Theoretical Virtues.Michael N. Keas - 2017 - Synthese:1-33.
    There are at least twelve major virtues of good theories: evidential accuracy, causal adequacy, explanatory depth, internal consistency, internal coherence, universal coherence, beauty, simplicity, unification, durability, fruitfulness, and applicability. These virtues are best classified into four classes: evidential, coherential, aesthetic, and diachronic. Each virtue class contains at least three virtues that sequentially follow a repeating pattern of progressive disclosure and expansion. Systematizing the theoretical virtues in this manner clarifies each virtue and suggests how they might have a coordinated and cumulative (...)
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  • Formal Models of the Scientific Community and the Value-Ladenness of Science.Vincenzo Politi - 2021 - European Journal for Philosophy of Science 11 (4):1-23.
    In the past few years, social epistemologists have developed several formal models of the social organisation of science. While their robustness and representational adequacy has been analysed at length, the function of these models has begun to be discussed in more general terms only recently. In this article, I will interpret many of the current formal models of the scientific community as representing the latest development of what I will call the ‘Kuhnian project’. These models share with Kuhn a number (...)
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  • So many suns, so many worlds, so many hypotheses: the history of the theories of formation of the Solar System and the progress of science.Danilo Albergaria - 2020 - Dissertation, Universidade Estadual de Campinas
    Theories on the Solar System formation have a long, centuries-old history. Starting with Descartes, going on to the works of Kant and Laplace, several natural philosophers and scientists have proposed theories that tried to explain the origin of the system from an initial primordial state moving forward to the features currently observed. In the second half of the 20th century the question began to be inquired by a growing specialized scientific community. A scientific consensus began to be formed in the (...)
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  • The Aim of Belief and the Aim of Science.Alexander Bird - 2019 - Theoria. An International Journal for Theory, History and Foundations of Science 34 (2):171.
    I argue that the constitutive aim of belief and the constitutive aim of science are both knowledge. The ‘aim of belief’, understood as the correctness conditions of belief, is to be identified with the product of properly functioning cognitive systems. Science is an institution that is the social functional analogue of a cognitive system, and its aim is the same as that of belief. In both cases it is knowledge rather than true belief that is the product of proper functioning.
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  • Evaluating Philosophy as Exploratory Research.Rogier De Langhe & Eric Schliesser - 2017 - Metaphilosophy 48 (3):227-244.
    This article addresses the question how philosophy should be evaluated in a research-grant funding environment. It offers a new conception of philosophy that is inclusive and builds on familiar elements of professional, philosophical practice. Philosophy systematically questions the questions we ask, the concepts we use, and the values we hold. Its product is therefore rarely conclusive but can be embodied in everything we do. This is typical of explorative research and differentiates it from exploitative research, which constitutes the bulk of (...)
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  • Understanding Scientific Progress: The Noetic Account.Finnur Dellsén - 2021 - Synthese 199 (3-4):11249-11278.
    What is scientific progress? This paper advances an interpretation of this question, and an account that serves to answer it. Roughly, the question is here understood to concern what type of cognitive change with respect to a topic X constitutes a scientific improvement with respect to X. The answer explored in the paper is that the requisite type of cognitive change occurs when scientific results are made publicly available so as to make it possible for anyone to increase their understanding (...)
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  • Conceptions of Scientific Progress in Scientific Practice: An Empirical Study.Moti Mizrahi - 2021 - Synthese 199 (1-2):2375-2394.
    The aim of this paper is to contribute to the debate over the nature of scientific progress in philosophy of science by taking a quantitative, corpus-based approach. By employing the methods of data science and corpus linguistics, the following philosophical accounts of scientific progress are tested empirically: the semantic account of scientific progress, the epistemic account of scientific progress, and the noetic account of scientific progress. Overall, the results of this quantitative, corpus-based study lend some empirical support to the epistemic (...)
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  • Objectivity and Orgasm: The Perils of Imprecise Definitions.Samantha Wakil - 2020 - Synthese 199 (1-2):2315-2333.
    Lloyd analyzes every proposed evolutionary explanation of female orgasm and argues that all but one suffers from serious evidential errors. Lloyd attributes these errors to two main biases: androcentrism and adaptationism. This paper begins by arguing that the explanation Lloyd favors—the by-product account—is guilty of the androcentrism which supposedly implicates the other explanations of female orgasm with numerous evidential discrepancies. This suggests that there is another error afflicting orgasm research in addition to the biases Lloyd identities. I attempt to diagnose (...)
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  • An Ethical Obligation to Ignore the Unreliable.Bennett Holman - 2019 - Synthese 198 (S23):5825-5848.
    Stephen John has recently suggested that the ethics of communication yields important insights as to how values should be incorporated into science. In particular, he examines cases of “wishful speaking” in which a scientific actor endorses unreliable conclusions in order to obtain the consequences of the listener treating the results as credible. He concludes that what is wrong in these cases is that the speaker surreptitiously relies on values not accepted by the hearer, violating what he terms “the value-apt ideal”. (...)
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  • A Historical Perspective on the Distinction Between Basic and Applied Science.Nils Roll-Hansen - 2017 - Journal for General Philosophy of Science / Zeitschrift für Allgemeine Wissenschaftstheorie 48 (4):535-551.
    The traditional distinction between basic and applied science has been much criticized in recent decades. The criticism is based on a combination of historical and systematic epistemic argument. The present paper is mostly concerned with the historical aspect. I argue that the critics impose an understanding at odds with the way the distinction was understood by its supporters in debates on science education and science policy in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. And I show how a distinction that refers to (...)
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  • How to Characterise Pure and Applied Science.Aboutorab Yaghmaie - 2017 - International Studies in the Philosophy of Science 31 (2):133-149.
    Regarding the dichotomy between applied science and pure science, there are two apparently paradoxical facts. First, they are distinguishable. Second, the outcomes of pure sciences (e.g. scientific theories and models) are applicable to producing the outcomes of applied sciences (e.g. technological artefacts) and vice versa. Addressing the functional roles of applied and pure science, i.e. to produce design representation and science representation, respectively, I propose a new characterisation of the dichotomy that explains these two facts.
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  • On the Poietic Character of Technology.Federica Russo - 2016 - Humana Mente 9 (30).
    Large part of contemporary science is in fact technoscience, in the sense that it crucially depends on several technologies for the generation, collection, and analysis of data. This prompts a re-examination of the relations between science and technologies. In this essay, I advance the view that we’d better move beyond the ‘subordination view’ and the ‘instrumental’ view. The first aims to establish the primacy of science over technology, and the second uses technology instrumentally to support a realist position about theoretical (...)
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  • What is the Basic Unit of Scientific Progress? A Quantitative, Corpus-Based Study.Moti Mizrahi - forthcoming - Journal for General Philosophy of Science / Zeitschrift für Allgemeine Wissenschaftstheorie.
    This paper presents the results of an empirical study following up on Mizrahi (2020a). Using the same methods of text mining and corpus analysis used by Mizrahi (2020a), we test empirically a philosophical account of scientific progress that Mizrahi (2020a) left out of his empirical study, namely, the so-called functional-internalist account of scientific progress according to which the aim or goal or scientific research is to solve problems. In general, our results do not lend much empirical evidence in support of (...)
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  • Research Problems.Steve Elliott - forthcoming - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science:000-000.
    To identify and conceptualize research problems in science, philosophers and often scientists rely on classical accounts of problems that focus on intellectual problems defined in relation to theories. Recently, philosophers have begun to study the structures and functions of research problems not defined in relation to theories. Furthermore, scientists have long pursued research problems often labeled as practical or applied. As yet, no account of problems specifies the description of both so-called intellectual problems and so-called applied problems. This article proposes (...)
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  • The Value of ‘Traditionality’: The Epistemological and Ethical Significance of Non-Western Alternatives in Science.Mahdi Kafaee & Mostafa Taqavi - 2021 - Science and Engineering Ethics 27 (1):1-20.
    After a brief review of the relationship between science and value, this paper introduces the value of ‘traditionality’ as a value in the pure and applied sciences. Along with other recognized values, this value can also contribute to formulating hypotheses and determining theories. There are three reasons for legitimizing the internal role of this value in science: first, this value can contribute to scientific progress by presenting more diverse hypotheses; second, the value of external consistency in science entails this value; (...)
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  • Two Kinds of Explanatory Integration in Cognitive Science.Samuel D. Taylor - 2019 - Synthese 198 (5):4573-4601.
    Some philosophers argue that we should eschew cross-explanatory integrations of mechanistic, dynamicist, and psychological explanations in cognitive science, because, unlike integrations of mechanistic explanations, they do not deliver genuine, cognitive scientific explanations. Here I challenge this claim by comparing the theoretical virtues of both kinds of explanatory integrations. I first identify two theoretical virtues of integrations of mechanistic explanations—unification and greater qualitative parsimony—and argue that no cross-explanatory integration could have such virtues. However, I go on to argue that this is (...)
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  • Digital Technologies, Ethical Questions, and the Need of an Informational Framework.Federica Russo - 2018 - Philosophy and Technology 31 (4):655-667.
    Technologies have always been bearers of profound changes in science, society, and any other aspect of life. The latest technological revolution—the digital revolution—is no exception in this respect. This paper presents the revolution brought about by digital technologies through the lenses of a specific approach: the philosophy of information. It is argued that the adoption of an informational approach helps avoiding utopian or dystopian approaches to technology, both expressions of technological determinism. Such an approach provides a conceptual framework able to (...)
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  • Science Outside the Lab: Helping Graduate Students in Science and Engineering Understand the Complexities of Science Policy.Michael J. Bernstein, Kiera Reifschneider, Ira Bennett & Jameson M. Wetmore - 2017 - Science and Engineering Ethics 23 (3):861-882.
    Helping scientists and engineers challenge received assumptions about how science, engineering, and society relate is a critical cornerstone for macroethics education. Scientific and engineering research are frequently framed as first steps of a value-free linear model that inexorably leads to societal benefit. Social studies of science and assessments of scientific and engineering research speak to the need for a more critical approach to the noble intentions underlying these assumptions. “Science Outside the Lab” is a program designed to help early-career scientists (...)
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  • What is Theoretical Progress of Science?Juha Saatsi - 2016 - Synthese:1-21.
    The epistemic conception of scientific progress equates progress with accumulation of scientific knowledge. I argue that the epistemic conception fails to fully capture scientific progress: theoretical progress, in particular, can transcend scientific knowledge in important ways. Sometimes theoretical progress can be a matter of new theories ‘latching better onto unobservable reality’ in a way that need not be a matter of new knowledge. Recognising this further dimension of theoretical progress is particularly significant for understanding scientific realism, since realism is naturally (...)
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  • A New Direction for Science and Values.Daniel J. Hicks - 2014 - Synthese 191 (14):3271-95.
    The controversy over the old ideal of “value-free science” has cooled significantly over the past decade. Many philosophers of science now agree that even ethical and political values may play a substantial role in all aspects of scientific inquiry. Consequently, in the last few years, work in science and values has become more specific: Which values may influence science, and in which ways? Or, how do we distinguish illegitimate from illegitimate kinds of influence? In this paper, I argue that this (...)
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  • Scientific Progress and Collective Attitudes.Keith Raymond Harris - forthcoming - Episteme:1-20.
    Psychological-epistemic accounts take scientific progress to consist in the development of some psychological-epistemic attitude. Disagreements over what the relevant attitude is – true belief, knowledge, or understanding – divide proponents of the semantic, epistemic, and noetic accounts of scientific progress, respectively. Proponents of all such accounts face a common challenge. On the face of it, only individuals have psychological attitudes. However, as I argue in what follows, increases in individual true belief, knowledge, and understanding are neither necessary nor sufficient for (...)
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  • Epistemic Standards for Participatory Technology Assessment: Suggestions Based Upon Well-Ordered Science.Juan M. Durán & Zachary Pirtle - 2020 - Science and Engineering Ethics 26 (3):1709-1741.
    When one wants to use citizen input to inform policy, what should the standards of informedness on the part of the citizens be? While there are moral reasons to allow every citizen to participate and have a voice on every issue, regardless of education and involvement, designers of participatory assessments have to make decisions about how to structure deliberations as well as how much background information and deliberation time to provide to participants. After assessing different frameworks for the relationship between (...)
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  • Systematizing the Theoretical Virtues.Michael Keas - 2018 - Synthese 195 (6):2761-2793.
    There are at least twelve major virtues of good theories: evidential accuracy, causal adequacy, explanatory depth, internal consistency, internal coherence, universal coherence, beauty, simplicity, unification, durability, fruitfulness, and applicability. These virtues are best classified into four classes: evidential, coherential, aesthetic, and diachronic. Each virtue class contains at least three virtues that sequentially follow a repeating pattern of progressive disclosure and expansion. Systematizing the theoretical virtues in this manner clarifies each virtue and suggests how they might have a coordinated and cumulative (...)
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  • Optimistic Realism About Scientific Progress.Ilkka Niiniluoto - 2017 - Synthese 194 (9):3291-3309.
    Scientific realists use the “no miracle argument” to show that the empirical and pragmatic success of science is an indicator of the ability of scientific theories to give true or truthlike representations of unobservable reality. While antirealists define scientific progress in terms of empirical success or practical problem-solving, realists characterize progress by using some truth-related criteria. This paper defends the definition of scientific progress as increasing truthlikeness or verisimilitude. Antirealists have tried to rebut realism with the “pessimistic metainduction”, but critical (...)
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  • Philosophy as Conceptual Engineering: Inductive Logic in Rudolf Carnap's Scientific Philosophy.Christopher F. French - 2015 - Dissertation, University of British Columbia
    My dissertation explores the ways in which Rudolf Carnap sought to make philosophy scientific by further developing recent interpretive efforts to explain Carnap’s mature philosophical work as a form of engineering. It does this by looking in detail at his philosophical practice in his most sustained mature project, his work on pure and applied inductive logic. I, first, specify the sort of engineering Carnap is engaged in as involving an engineering design problem and then draw out the complications of design (...)
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  • John Dewey's Pragmatist Alternative to the Belief-Acceptance Dichotomy.Matthew J. Brown - 2015 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 53:62-70.
    Defenders of value-free science appeal to cognitive attitudes as part of a wedge strategy, to mark a distinction between science proper and the uses of science for decision-making, policy, etc. Distinctions between attitudes like belief and acceptance have played an important role in defending the value-free ideal. In this paper, I will explore John Dewey's pragmatist philosophy of science as an alternative to the philosophical framework the wedge strategy rests on. Dewey does draw significant and useful distinctions between different sorts (...)
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  • Implementing Generalized Empirical Method in Neuroscience by Functionally Ordering Tasks.Robert Henman - 2016 - Dialogues in Philosophy, Mental and Neuro Sciences 9 (1):10-21.
    This article outlines a method of collaboration that will manifest a high probability of cumulative and progressive results in science. The method will accomplish this through a division of labour grounded in the order of occurrence of human cognitional operations. The following article explores the possibility of a method known as functional specialization, distinct tasks presently operative in neuroscience. Functional specialization will enhance collaboration within a science as well as initiate implementation of generalized empirical method. Implementation of generalized empirical method (...)
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