Imre Lakatos: A Critical Appraisal


Imre Lakatos holds a well-deserved primary place in current philosophy of science. In this essay, Leslie Allan critically examines Lakatos' theory of knowledge in two key areas. The first area of consideration is Lakatos' notion that knowledge is gained through a process of competition between rival scientific research programmes. Allan identifies and discusses four problems with Lakatos' characterization of a research programme. Next, Allan considers Lakatos' proposed test of adequacy for theories of rationality using his methodology of historiographical research programmes. Allan discovers tensions within Lakatos' criteria and suggests ways of strengthening his test.

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Leslie Allan
La Trobe University


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