Second Order Science: Putting the Metaphysics Back Into the Practice of Science

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The traditional sciences have always had trouble with ambiguity. Through the imposition of “enabling constraints” -- making a set of assumptions and then declaring ceteris paribus -- science can bracket away ambiguity. These enabling constraints take the form of uncritically examined presuppositions or “uceps.” Second order science examines variations in values assumed for these uceps and looks at the resulting impacts on related scientific claims. After rendering explicit the role of uceps in scientific claims, the scientific method is used to question rarely challenged assertions. This article lays out initial foundations for second order science, its ontology, methodology, and implications.
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