Scientific Progress, Understanding, and Knowledge: Reply to Park

Journal for General Philosophy of Science / Zeitschrift für Allgemeine Wissenschaftstheorie 49 (3):451-459 (2018)
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Dellsén (2017) has recently argued for an understanding-based account of scientific progress, the noetic account, according to which science (or a particular scientific discipline) makes cognitive progress precisely when it increases our understanding of some aspect of the world. Dellsén contrasts this account with Bird’s (2007, 2015) epistemic account, according to which such progress is made precisely when our knowledge of the world is increased or accumulated. In a recent paper, Park (2017) criticizes various aspects of Dellsén’s account and his arguments in favor of the noetic account as against Bird’s epistemic account. This paper responds to Park’s objections. Since a number of Park’s arguments rely on the idea that scientific progress may merely consists in “achieving the means to increase knowledge” (Park 2017: 570), I will start by discussing this “means-end thesis”.

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Finnur Dellsén
University of Iceland


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