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  1. What Is Philosophical Progress?Finnur Dellsén, Tina Firing, Insa Lawler & James Norton - forthcoming - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research.
    What is it for philosophy to make progress? While various putative forms of philosophical progress have been explored in some depth, this overarching question is rarely addressed explicitly, perhaps because it has been assumed to be intractable or unlikely to have a single, unified answer. In this paper, we aim to show that the question is tractable, that it does admit of a single, unified answer, and that one such answer is plausible. This answer is, roughly, that philosophical progress consists (...)
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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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  • Scientific progress: Four accounts.Finnur Dellsén - 2018 - Philosophy Compass 13 (11):e12525.
    Scientists are constantly making observations, carrying out experiments, and analyzing empirical data. Meanwhile, scientific theories are routinely being adopted, revised, discarded, and replaced. But when are such changes to the content of science improvements on what came before? This is the question of scientific progress. One answer is that progress occurs when scientific theories ‘get closer to the truth’, i.e. increase their degree of truthlikeness. A second answer is that progress consists in increasing theories’ effectiveness for solving scientific problems. A (...)
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  • Scientific progress: Knowledge versus understanding.Finnur Dellsén - 2016 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 56 (C):72-83.
    What is scientific progress? On Alexander Bird’s epistemic account of scientific progress, an episode in science is progressive precisely when there is more scientific knowledge at the end of the episode than at the beginning. Using Bird’s epistemic account as a foil, this paper develops an alternative understanding-based account on which an episode in science is progressive precisely when scientists grasp how to correctly explain or predict more aspects of the world at the end of the episode than at the (...)
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  • Scientific Progress: By-Whom or For-Whom?Finnur Dellsén - 2022 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 97 (C):20-28.
    When science makes cognitive progress, who or what is it that improves in the requisite way? According to a widespread and unchallenged assumption, it is the cognitive attitudes of scientists themselves, i.e. the agents by whom scientific progress is made, that improve during progressive episodes. This paper argues against this assumption and explores a different approach. Scientific progress should be defined in terms of potential improvements to the cognitive attitudes of those for whom progress is made, i.e. the receivers rather (...)
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  • Carnapian truthlikeness.Gustavo Cevolani - 2016 - Logic Journal of the IGPL 24 (4):542-556.
    Theories of truthlikeness (or verisimilitude) are currently being classified according to two independent distinctions: that between ‘content’ and ‘likeness’ accounts, and that between ‘conjunctive’ and ‘disjunctive’ ones. In this article, I present and discuss a new definition of truthlikeness, which employs Carnap’s notion of the content elements entailed by a theory or proposition, and is then labelled ‘Carnapian’. After studying in detail the properties and shortcomings of this definition, I argue that it occupies a unique position in the landscape of (...)
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  • Scientific Progress and Collective Attitudes.Keith Raymond Harris - 2021 - 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 thesemantic,epistemic,andnoeticaccounts 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 scientific progress. Rather than being (...)
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  • Truth-Seeking by Abduction.Ilkka Niiniluoto - 2018 - Cham, Switzerland: Springer.
    This book examines the philosophical conception of abductive reasoning as developed by Charles S. Peirce, the founder of American pragmatism. It explores the historical and systematic connections of Peirce's original ideas and debates about their interpretations. Abduction is understood in a broad sense which covers the discovery and pursuit of hypotheses and inference to the best explanation. The analysis presents fresh insights into this notion of reasoning, which derives from effects to causes or from surprising observations to explanatory theories. The (...)
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  • Discarded theories: the role of changing interests.K. Brad Wray - 2019 - Synthese 196 (2):553-569.
    I take another look at the history of science and offer some fresh insights into why the history of science is filled with discarded theories. I argue that the history of science is just as we should expect it to be, given the following two facts about science: theories are always only partial representations of the world, and almost inevitably scientists will be led to investigate phenomena that the accepted theory is not fit to account for. Together these facts suggest (...)
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  • Scaling procedures in climate science: Using temporal scaling to identify a paleoclimate analogue.Aja Watkins - 2023 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 102 (C):31-44.
    Using past episodes of climate change as a source of evidence to inform our projections about contemporary climate change requires establishing the extent to which episodes in the deep past are analogous to the current crisis. However, many scientists claim that contemporary rates of climate change (e.g., rates of carbon emissions or temperature change) are unprecedented, including compared to episodes in the deep past. If so, this would limit the utility of paleoclimate analogues. In this paper, I show how a (...)
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  • Multi-model approaches to phylogenetics: Implications for idealization.Aja Watkins - 2021 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 90 (C):285-297.
    Phylogenetic models traditionally represent the history of life as having a strictly-branching tree structure. However, it is becoming increasingly clear that the history of life is often not strictly-branching; lateral gene transfer, endosymbiosis, and hybridization, for example, can all produce lateral branching events. There is thus motivation to allow phylogenetic models to have a reticulate structure. One proposal involves the reconciliation of genealogical discordance. Briefly, this method uses patterns of disagreement – discordance – between trees of different genes to add (...)
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  • A New Functional Approach to Scientific Progress.Yafeng Shan - 2019 - Philosophy of Science 86 (4):739-758.
    This article develops and defends a new functional approach to scientific progress. I begin with a review of the problems of the traditional functional approach. Then I propose a new functional account of scientific progress, in which scientific progress is defined in terms of usefulness of problem defining and problem solving. I illustrate and defend my account by applying it to the history of genetics. Finally, I highlight the advantages of my new functional approach over the epistemic and semantic approaches (...)
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  • 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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  • 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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  • Scientific realism: what it is, the contemporary debate, and new directions.Darrell P. Rowbottom - 2019 - Synthese 196 (2):451-484.
    First, I answer the controversial question ’What is scientific realism?’ with extensive reference to the varied accounts of the position in the literature. Second, I provide an overview of the key developments in the debate concerning scientific realism over the past decade. Third, I provide a summary of the other contributions to this special issue.
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  • Extending the Argument from Unconceived Alternatives: Observations, Models, Predictions, Explanations, Methods, Instruments, Experiments, and Values.Darrell P. Rowbottom - 2016 - Synthese (10).
    Stanford’s argument against scientific realism focuses on theories, just as many earlier arguments from inconceivability have. However, there are possible arguments against scientific realism involving unconceived (or inconceivable) entities of different types: observations, models, predictions, explanations, methods, instruments, experiments, and values. This paper charts such arguments. In combination, they present the strongest challenge yet to scientific realism.
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  • The Truth About Better Understanding?Lewis Ross - 2021 - Erkenntnis 88 (2):747-770.
    The notion of understanding occupies an increasingly prominent place in contemporary epistemology, philosophy of science, and moral theory. A central and ongoing debate about the nature of understanding is how it relates to the truth. In a series of influential contributions, Catherine Elgin has used a variety of familiar motivations for antirealism in philosophy of science to defend a non- factive theory of understanding. Key to her position are: (i) the fact that false theories can contribute to the upwards trajectory (...)
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  • The Inference Rule of Addition and the Semantic View of Scientific Progress: Reply to Mizrahi.Damián Islas Mondragón - 2017 - International Studies in the Philosophy of Science 31 (4):421-425.
    This discussion note aims to show that Moti Mizrahi does not make clear whether the proponents of the semantic view of scientific progress reject or accept the inference rule of Addition. If they reject the rule, then it does not make sense that Mizrahi contrives different types of disjuncts ‘on behalf of’ proponents of the semantic view. If they accept the rule, then the characterisation of the semantic view that Mizrahi discusses has nothing to do with the supposedly arbitrariness of (...)
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  • What Is the Basic Unit of Scientific Progress? A Quantitative, Corpus-Based Study.Moti Mizrahi - 2022 - Journal for General Philosophy of Science / Zeitschrift für Allgemeine Wissenschaftstheorie 53 (4):441-458.
    This paper presents the results of an empirical study following up on Mizrahi (2021). Using the same methods of text mining and corpus analysis used by Mizrahi (2021), we test empirically a philosophical account of scientific progress that Mizrahi (2021) 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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  • Scientific Progress: Why Getting Closer to Truth Is Not Enough.Moti Mizrahi - 2017 - International Studies in the Philosophy of Science 31 (4):415-419.
    ABSTRACTThis discussion note aims to contribute to the ongoing debate over the nature of scientific progress. I argue against the semantic view of scientific progress, according to which scientific progress consists in approximation to truth or increasing verisimilitude. If the semantic view of scientific progress were correct, then scientists would make scientific progress simply by arbitrarily adding true disjuncts to their hypotheses or theories. Given that it is not the case that scientists could make scientific progress simply by arbitrarily adding (...)
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  • How theoretical physics makes progress: Nicholas Maxwell: Understanding scientific progress: aim-oriented empiricism. St. Paul, MN: Paragon House, 2017, 232 pp, $24.95PB. [REVIEW]Moti Mizrahi - 2018 - Metascience 27 (2):203-207.
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  • Understanding and scientific progress: lessons from epistemology.Nicholas Emmerson - 2022 - Synthese 200 (1):1-18.
    Contemporary debate surrounding the nature of scientific progress has focused upon the precise role played by justification, with two realist accounts having dominated proceedings. Recently, however, a third realist account has been put forward, one which offers no role for justification at all. According to Finnur Dellsén’s (Stud Hist Philos Sci Part A 56:72–83, 2016) noetic account, science progresses when understanding increases, that is, when scientists grasp how to correctly explain or predict more aspects of the world that they could (...)
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  • Analogue Quantum Simulation: A Philosophical Prospectus.Dominik Hangleiter, Jacques Carolan & Karim P. Y. Thebault - unknown
    This paper provides the first systematic philosophical analysis of an increasingly important part of modern scientific practice: analogue quantum simulation. We introduce the distinction between `simulation' and `emulation' as applied in the context of two case studies. Based upon this distinction, and building upon ideas from the recent philosophical literature on scientific understanding, we provide a normative framework to isolate and support the goals of scientists undertaking analogue quantum simulation and emulation. We expect our framework to be useful to both (...)
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  • A simple model of scientific progress - with examples.Luigi Scorzato - 2016 - In Laura Felline, Antonio Ledd, Francesco Paoli & Emanuele Rossanese (eds.), SILFS 3 - New Directions in Logic and Philosophy of Science. College Publications. pp. 45-56.
    One of the main goals of scientific research is to provide a description of the empirical data which is as accurate and comprehensive as possible, while relying on as few and simple assumptions as possible. In this paper, I propose a definition of the notion of few and simple assumptions that is not affected by known problems. This leads to the introduction of a simple model of scientific progress that is based only on empirical accuracy and conciseness. An essential point (...)
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  • Roy Bhaskar on Scientific Progress and the Fallibility of Cognition: A Critique of Four Approaches.Maryam Poostforush - 2021 - Journal of Philosophical Theological Research 23 (1):131-148.
    So far, various approaches have been proposed to explain the progress of science. These approaches, which fall under a fourfold classification, are as follows: semantic, functional, epistemic, and noetic approaches. Each of these approaches, based on the intended purpose of science, defines progress on the same basis. The semantic approach defines progress based on the approximation to the truth, the functional approach based on problem-solving, the epistemic approach based on knowledge accumulation, and the noetic approach based on increased understanding. With (...)
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