Well-Ordered Science’s Basic Problem

Philosophy of Science 87 (2):365-375 (2020)
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Abstract

Kitcher has proposed an ideal-theory account—well-ordered science (WOS)— of the collective good that science’s research agenda should promote. Against criticism regarding WOS’s action-guidance, Kitcher has advised critics not to confuse substantive ideals and the ways to arrive at them, and he has defended WOS as a necessary and useful ideal for science policy. I provide a distinction between two types of ideal-theories that helps clarifying WOS’s elusive nature. I use this distinction to argue that the action-guidance problem that WOS faces remains even under the aims/means distinction, because the WOS’s failure is more basic than critics have suggested.

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Cristian Larroulet Philippi
Cambridge University

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