Normativity in the Philosophy of Science

Metaphilosophy 50 (1-2):36-62 (2019)
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Abstract

This paper analyzes what it means for philosophy of science to be normative. It argues that normativity is a multifaceted phenomenon rather than a general feature that a philosophical theory either has or lacks. It analyzes the normativity of philosophy of science by articulating three ways in which a philosophical theory can be normative. Methodological normativity arises from normative assumptions that philosophers make when they select, interpret, evaluate, and mutually adjust relevant empirical information, on which they base their philosophical theories. Object normativity emerges from the fact that the object of philosophical theorizing can itself be normative, such as when philosophers discuss epistemic norms in science. Metanormativity arises from the kind of claims that a philosophical theory contains, such as normative claims about science as it should be. Distinguishing these three kinds of normativity gives rise to a nuanced and illuminating view of how philosophy of science can be normative.

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Marie I. Kaiser
Bielefeld University

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