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Beyond Positivism and Relativism

Mind 107 (425):233-235 (1998)

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  1. Commentary on Harkness.Thomas Fischer - unknown
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  • Justification as Truth-Finding Efficiency: How Ockham's Razor Works.Kevin T. Kelly - 2004 - Minds and Machines 14 (4):485-505.
    I propose that empirical procedures, like computational procedures, are justified in terms of truth-finding efficiency. I contrast the idea with more standard philosophies of science and illustrate it by deriving Ockham's razor from the aim of minimizing dramatic changes of opinion en route to the truth.
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  • Methodological Pluralism, Normative Naturalism and the Realist Aim of Science.Howard Sankey - 2000 - In Howard Sankey & Robert Nola (eds.), After Popper, Kuhn and Feyerabend: Recent Issues in Theories of Scientific Method. Dordrecht/Boston/London: Kluwer Academic Publishers. pp. 211-229.
    There are two chief tasks which confront the philosophy of scientific method. The first task is to specify the methodology which serves as the objective ground for scientific theory appraisal and acceptance. The second task is to explain how application of this methodology leads to advance toward the aim(s) of science. In other words, the goal of the theory of method is to provide an integrated explanation of both rational scientific theory choice and scientific progress.
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  • Enciclopédia de Termos Lógico-Filosóficos.João Branquinho, Desidério Murcho & Nelson Gonçalves Gomes (eds.) - 2006 - São Paulo, SP, Brasil: Martins Fontes.
    Esta enciclopédia abrange, de uma forma introdutória mas desejavelmente rigorosa, uma diversidade de conceitos, temas, problemas, argumentos e teorias localizados numa área relativamente recente de estudos, os quais tem sido habitual qualificar como «estudos lógico-filosóficos». De uma forma apropriadamente genérica, e apesar de o território teórico abrangido ser extenso e de contornos por vezes difusos, podemos dizer que na área se investiga um conjunto de questões fundamentais acerca da natureza da linguagem, da mente, da cognição e do raciocínio humanos, bem (...)
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  • Whose Social Values? Evaluating Canada’s ‘Death of Evidence’ Controversy.Maya J. Goldenberg - 2015 - Canadian Journal of Philosophy 45 (3):404-424.
    With twentieth- and twenty-first-century philosophy of science’s unfolding acceptance of the nature of scientific inquiry being value-laden, the persistent worry has been that there are no means for legitimate negotiation of the social or non-epistemic values that enter into science. The rejection of the value-free ideal in science has thereby been coupled with the spectres of indiscriminate relativism and bias in scientific inquiry. I challenge this view in the context of recently expressed concerns regarding Canada's death of evidence controversy. The (...)
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  • Toward a Purely Axiological Scientific Realism.Timothy D. Lyons - 2005 - Erkenntnis 63 (2):167-204.
    The axiological tenet of scientific realism, “science seeks true theories,” is generally taken to rest on a corollary epistemological tenet, “we can justifiably believe that our successful theories achieve (or approximate) that aim.” While important debates have centered on, and have led to the refinement of, the epistemological tenet, the axiological tenet has suffered from neglect. I offer what I consider to be needed refinements to the axiological postulate. After showing an intimate relation between the refined postulate and ten theoretical (...)
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  • Incommensurability and Theory Change.Howard Sankey - 2011 - In Steven Hales (ed.), A Companion to Relativism. Oxford: Wiley-Blackwell. pp. 456-474.
    The paper explores the relativistic implications of the thesis of incommensurability. A semantic form of incommensurability due to semantic variation between theories is distinguished from a methodological form due to variation in methodological standards between theories. Two responses to the thesis of semantic incommensurability are dealt with: the first challenges the idea of untranslatability to which semantic incommensurability gives rise; the second holds that relations of referential continuity eliminate semantic incommensurability. It is then argued that methodological incommensurability poses little risk (...)
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  • Scientific Realism and the History of Science.Michael Esfeld - 2005 - Philosophy 1:1-15.
    The paper considers the two main challenges to scientific realism, stemming from confirmation holism and the underdetermination thesis as well as from semantic holism and the incommensurability thesis. Against the first challenge, it is argued that there are other criteria besides agreement with experience that enable a rational evaluation of competing theories. Against the second challenge, it is argued that at most a thesis of local incommensurability can be defended that is compatible with a minimal version of scientific realism, namely (...)
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  • Epistemic Rationality as Instrumental Rationality: A Critique.Thomas Kelly - 2003 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 66 (3):612–640.
    In this paper, I explore the relationship between epistemic rationality and instrumental rationality, and I attempt to delineate their respective roles in typical instances of theoretical reasoning. My primary concern is with the instrumentalist conception of epistemic rationality: the view that epistemic rationality is simply a species of instrumental rationality, viz. instrumental rationality in the service of one's cognitive or epistemic goals. After sketching the relevance of the instrumentalist conception to debates over naturalism and 'the ethics of belief', I argue (...)
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  • Normative Naturalism and the Challenge of Relativism: Laudan Versus Worrall on the Justification of Methodological Principles.Howard Sankey - 1996 - International Studies in the Philosophy of Science 10 (1):37 – 51.
    In a recent exchange, John Worrall and Larry Laudan have debated the merits of the model of rational scientific change proposed by Laudan in his book Science and Values. On the model advocated by Laudan, rational change may take place at the level of scientific theory and methodology, as well as at the level of the epistemic aims of science. Moreover, the rationality of a change which occurs at any one of these three levels may be dependent on considerations at (...)
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  • Having Science in View: General Philosophy of Science and its Significance.Stathis Psillos - forthcoming - In Paul Humphreys (ed.), The Oxford Handbook of Philosophy of Science.
    The relatively recent trend seems to be to move away from General Philosophy of Science and towards the philosophies of the individual sciences and to relocate whatever content GPoS is supposed to have to the philosophies of the sciences. I argue that scepticism or pessimism about the prospects of GPoS is unwarranted. I also argue that there can be no philosophies of the various sciences without GPoS. Defending these two claims is the main target of this chapter. I will show, (...)
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  • Spacetime, Ontology, and Structural Realism.Edward Slowik - 2004 - International Studies in the Philosophy of Science 19 (2):147 – 166.
    This essay explores the possibility of constructing a structural realist interpretation of spacetime theories that can resolve the ontological debate between substantivalists and relationists. Drawing on various structuralist approaches in the philosophy of mathematics, as well as on the theoretical complexities of general relativity, our investigation will reveal that a structuralist approach can be beneficial to the spacetime theorist as a means of deflating some of the ontological disputes regarding similarly structured spacetimes.
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  • A Response to the Critique of Rational Choice Theory: Lakatos' and Laudan's Conceptions Applied.Kaisa Herne & Maija Setälä - 2004 - Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy 47 (1):67 – 85.
    This paper analyzes the main features of rational choice theory and evaluates it with respect to the conceptions of Lakatos' research program and Laudan's research tradition. The analysis reveals that the thin rationality assumption, the axiomatic method and the reduction to the micro level are the only features shared by all rational choice models. On these grounds, it is argued that rational choice theory cannot be characterized as a research program. This is due to the fact that the thin rationality (...)
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  • Bad Arguments Against a Good Case (Laudan's Attack on the Strong Programme).Márta Fehér - 1998 - International Studies in the Philosophy of Science 12 (3):233-238.
    Abstract This paper deals with Larry Laudan's attack on the symmetry thesis of Bloor's ?strong programme?. It will be shown that Laudan's argumentation is fallacious and, therefore, his attempt at refuting the symmetry thesis has failed.
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  • What's Really Wrong with Laudan's Normative Naturalism.Jonathan Knowles - 2002 - International Studies in the Philosophy of Science 16 (2):171 – 186.
    The article presents a critical discussion of Larry Laudan's naturalistic metamethodological theory known as normative naturalism (NN). I examine the strongest extant objection to NN, and, with reference to ideas in Freedman ( Philosophy of Science , 66 (Proceedings), pp. S526-S537, 1999), show how NN survives it. I then go on to outline two problems that really do compromise NN. The first revolves around Laudan's conception of the relationship between scientific values and the history of science. Laudan argues we can (...)
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  • The Underdetermination of Theory by Data and the "Strong Programme" in the Sociology of Knowledge.Samir Okasha - 2000 - International Studies in the Philosophy of Science 14 (3):283 – 297.
    Advocates of the "strong programme" in the sociology of knowledge have argued that, because scientific theories are "underdetermined" by data, sociological factors must be invoked to explain why scientists believe the theories they do. I examine this argument, and the responses to it by J.R. Brown (1989) and L. Laudan (1996). I distinguish between a number of different versions of the underdetermination thesis, some trivial, some substantive. I show that Brown's and Laudan's attempts to refute the sociologists' argument fail. Nonetheless, (...)
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  • Agnostic Empiricism Versus Scientific Realism: Belief in Truth Matters.Stathis Psillos - 2000 - International Studies in the Philosophy of Science 14 (1):57 – 75.
    This paper aims to defend scientific realism against two versions of agnostic empiricism: a naive agnostic position, which suggests that the only rational option is to remain agnostic as to the truth of theoretical assertions, and van Fraassen's more sophisticated agnostic empiricism - which may be called "Hypercritical Empiricism". It first argues that given semantic realism, naive agnostic empiricism cannot be maintained: there is no relevant epistemic difference between theoretical assertions and observational ones. It then focuses on van Fraassen's more (...)
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  • Book Reviews. [REVIEW][author unknown] - 2006 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 84 (4):629-645.
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  • Realism, Reliabilism, and the 'Strong Programme' in the Sociology of Scientific Knowledge.Jeff Kochan - 2008 - International Studies in the Philosophy of Science 22 (1):21 – 38.
    In this essay, I respond to Tim Lewens's proposal that realists and Strong Programme theorists can find common ground in reliabilism. I agree with Lewens, but point to difficulties in his argument. Chief among these is his assumption that reliabilism is incompatible with the Strong Programme's principle of symmetry. I argue that the two are, in fact, compatible, and that Lewens misses this fact because he wrongly supposes that reliabilism entails naturalism. The Strong Programme can fully accommodate a reliabilism which (...)
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  • Theory Change, Structural Realism, and the Relativised a Priori.Dan McArthur - 2008 - International Studies in the Philosophy of Science 22 (1):5 – 20.
    In this paper I claim that Quinean naturalist accounts of science, that deny that there are any a priori statements in scientific frameworks, cannot account for the foundational role of certain classes of statements in scientific practice. In this I follow Michael Friedman who claims that certain a priori statements must be presupposed in order to formulate empirical hypotheses. I also show that Friedman's account, in spite of his claims to the contrary, is compatible with a type of non-Quinean naturalism (...)
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  • Normative Naturalism and Epistemic Relativism.Karyn L. Freedman - 2006 - International Studies in the Philosophy of Science 20 (3):309 – 322.
    In previous work, I defended Larry Laudan against the criticism that the axiological component of his normative naturalism lacks a naturalistic justification. I argued that this criticism depends on an equivocation over the term 'naturalism' and that it begs the question against what we are entitled to include in our concept of nature. In this paper, I generalize that argument and explore its implications for Laudan and other proponents of epistemic naturalism. Here, I argue that a commitment to naturalism in (...)
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  • B. F. Skinner's Other Positivistic Book: "Walden Two".Roy A. Moxley - 2006 - Behavior and Philosophy 34:19 - 37.
    B. F. Skinner's "The Behavior of Organisms" (1938/1966) and "Walden Two" (1948) are both positivistic. Skinner explicitly stated his approach was positivistic in "The Behavior of Organisms" although he did not make an explicit statement about "Walden Two". Three features of positivism are elaborated—its concern with indisputable certitude, unified reality, and ever-onward progress, each of which entailed overly simplifying assumptions. These features are brought out in the positivistic sources for "Walden Two" and in the changes from the positivistic views of (...)
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  • Falibilismo y razonabilidad en la filosofía de la ciencia y en la hermenéutica filosófica.María de la Luz Flores Galindo - 2006 - Discusiones Filosóficas 7 (10):115-133.
    Hace unas décadas la filosofía de la cienciaera una disciplina centrada en estudioslógico-lingüísticos y basada en la distinciónentre contexto de justificación y contextode descubrimiento. Sin embargo, hoysabemos que la ciencia es acción humana,por lo que la filosofía de la ciencia tambiénes práctica. De ahí que hoy en día no hayaseparación entre razón teórica y razónpráctica. Un ejemplo de ello es elfalibilismo y la razonabilidad en la filosofíade la ciencia y en la hermenéutica filosófica.Tradicionalmente se ha visto al falibilismocomo una metodología (...)
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  • Las Guerras Equivocadas. La Ciencia y Su Entorno Cultural.Sebastián Álvarez Toledo - 2017 - Arbor 193 (786):423.
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  • Highlights of Recent Epistemology.James Pryor - 2001 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 52 (1):95--124.
    This article surveys work in epistemology since the mid-1980s. It focuses on contextualism about knowledge attributions, modest forms of foundationalism, and the internalism/externalism debate and its connections to the ethics of belief.
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  • Empiricism, Scientific Change and Mathematical Change.Otávio Bueno - 2000 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 31 (2):269-296.
    The aim of this paper is to provide a unified account of scientific and mathematical change in a thoroughly empiricist setting. After providing a formal modelling in terms of embedding, and criticising it for being too restrictive, a second modelling is advanced. It generalises the first, providing a more open-ended pattern of theory development, and is articulated in terms of da Costa and French's partial structures approach. The crucial component of scientific and mathematical change is spelled out in terms of (...)
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  • Hypothetical Metaphysics of Nature.Michael Esfeld - unknown
    The paper first sketches out a reply to the underdetermination challenge and the incommensurability challenge that rebuts the sceptical conclusions of these challenges and that is sufficient to lay the ground for the project of a metaphysics of nature. That metaphysics is as hypothetical as are our scientific theories. The paper then explains how can one can argue for certain views in the metaphysics of nature based on our current fundamental physical theories, namely the commitments to a tenseless theory of (...)
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  • Blame and Wrongdoing.Jessica Brown - 2017 - Episteme 14 (3):275-296.
    The idea that one can blamelessly violate a norm is central to ethics and epistemology. The paper examines the prospects for an account of blameless norm violation applicable both to norms governing action and norms governing belief. In doing so, I remain neutral on just what are the norms governing action and belief. I examine three leading suggestions for understanding blameless violation of a norm which is not overridden by another norm: doxastic accounts; epistemic accounts; and appeal to expected value. (...)
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  • Uncovering "Cultural Meaning": Problems and Solutions.Todd Jones - 2004 - Behavior and Philosophy 32 (2):247 - 268.
    In his highly influential "The Interpretation of Cultures," anthropologist Clifford Geertz argues that the study of culture ought to be "not an experimental science in search of law but an interpretive one in search of meaning." I argue that the two need not be opposed. The best way of making sense of the social scientific practice of looking at meaning is to see interpretivists as looking at typical mental reactions that people in a given culture have to certain acts and (...)
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  • Crossing Boundaries: Contexts of Practice as Common Goods.William Rehg - unknown
    In the literature on scientific practices, one finds sustained analyses of the contextualist elements of inquiry. However, the ways in which local and disciplinary contexts of practice function as common goods remain largely unexplored. In this paper I argue that a contextualist analysis of scientific practices as common goods can shed light on the challenges of scientific communication and interdisciplinary collaboration, albeit without invoking Kuhn's problematic notion of incommensurability.
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  • Paul Feyerabend Und Thomas Kuhn.Paul Hoyningen-Huene - 2002 - Journal for General Philosophy of Science / Zeitschrift für Allgemeine Wissenschaftstheorie 33 (1):61-83.
    The paper discusses some aspects of the relationship between Feyerabend and Kuhn. First, some biographical remarks concerning their connections are made. Second, four characteristics of Feyerabend and Kuhn's concept of incommensurability are discussed. Third, Feyerabend's general criticism of Kuhn's Structure of Scientific Revolutions is reconstructed. Forth and more specifically, Feyerabend's criticism of Kuhn's evaluation of normal science is critically investigated. Finally, Feyerabend's re-evaluation of Kuhn's philosophy towards the end of his life is presented.
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  • O relativismo de Kuhn é derivado da história da ciência ou é uma filosofia aplicada à ciência?Alberto Oliva - 2012 - Scientiae Studia 10 (3):561-592.
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  • The Underdetermination of Theories and Scientific Realism.Mario Alai - forthcoming - Axiomathes:1-17.
    The empirical underdetermination of theories is a philosophical problem which until the last century has not seriously troubled actual science. The reason is that confirmation does not depend only on empirical consequences, and theoretical virtues allow to choose among empirically equivalent theories. Moreover, I argue that the theories selected in this way are not just pragmatically or aesthetically better, but more probably true. At present in quantum mechanics not even theoretical virtues allow to choose among many competing theories and interpretations, (...)
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  • Evolving Scientific Epistemologies and the Artifacts of Empirical Philosophy of Science: A Reply Concerning Mesosomes. [REVIEW]Nicolas Rasmussen - 2001 - Biology and Philosophy 16 (5):627-652.
    In a 1993 paper, I argued that empirical treatments of the epistemologyused by scientists in experimental work are too abstract in practice tocounter relativist efforts to explain the outcome of scientificcontroversies by reference to sociological forces. This was because, atthe rarefied level at which the methodology of scientists is treated byphilosophers, multiple mutually inconsistent instantiations of theprinciples described by philosophers are employed by contestingscientists. These multiple construals change within a scientificcommunity over short time frames, and these different versions ofscientific methodology (...)
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  • Author’s Response.Stathis Psillos - 2001 - Metascience 10 (3):366-371.
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  • Contemporary Science and Worldview-Making.Alberto Cordero - 2009 - Science & Education 18 (6-7):747-764.
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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
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  • Book Reviews. [REVIEW]Steven Rappaport - 1999 - Journal of Economic Methodology 6 (3):445-451.
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