Scientific Progress Without Justification

In Kareem Khalifa, Insa Lawler & Elay Shech (eds.), Scientific Understanding and Representation: Modeling in the Physical Sciences. Routledge (forthcoming)
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According to some prominent accounts of scientific progress, e.g. Bird’s epistemic account, accepting new theories is progressive only if the theories are justified in the sense required for knowledge. This paper argues that epistemic justification requirements of this sort should be rejected because they misclassify many paradigmatic instances of scientific progress as non-progressive. In particular, scientific progress would be implausibly rare in cases where (a) scientists are aware that most or all previous theories in some domain have turned out to be false, (b) the new theory was a result of subsuming and/or logically strengthening previous theories, or (c) scientists are aware of significant peer disagreement about which theory is correct.

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Finnur Dellsén
University of Iceland


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