About this topic
Summary Interest in the topic of scientific theory change (and theory choice) arose in the context of the "historical turn" in the philosophy of science associated with Thomas Kuhn, Paul Feyerabend and others.  While a significant focus of the theory change literature relates to the transition between theories in the context of a scientific revolution, the general topic of theory change is not restricted to revolutionary transition between theories.  It covers not only non-revolutionary transition between theories, but also change internal to theory.
Key works The work that placed this topic on the philosophical agenda is Kuhn 1962, and later editions, e.g. Kuhn 1962.  An important book dealing with philosophical reactions to Kuhn's account of theory change is Lakatos & Musgrave 1970 (see especially Imre 1970).  Another important document is Suppe 1974.
Introductions Chalmers 1979
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438 found
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  1. From measurability to a model of scientific progress.Luigi Scorzato - manuscript
    I argue that the key to understand many fundamental issues in philosophy of science lies in understanding the subtle relation between the non-empirical cognitive values used in science and the constraints imposed by measurability. In fact, although we are not able to fix the interpretation of a scientific theory through its formulation, I show that measurability puts constraints that can at least exclude some implausible interpretations. This turns out to be enough to define at least one cognitive value that is (...)
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  2. Defining a crisis: the roles of principles in the search for a theory of quantum gravity.Karen Crowther - forthcoming - Synthese 198 (Suppl 14):3489-3516.
    In times of crisis, when current theories are revealed as inadequate to task, and new physics is thought to be required—physics turns to re-evaluate its principles, and to seek new ones. This paper explores the various types, and roles of principles that feature in the problem of quantum gravity as a current crisis in physics. I illustrate the diversity of the principles being appealed to, and show that principles serve in a variety of roles in all stages of the crisis, (...)
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  3. Scientific Progress Without Justification.Finnur Dellsén - forthcoming - In Kareem Khalifa, Insa Lawler & Elay Shech (eds.), Scientific Understanding and Representation: Modeling in the Physical Sciences. Routledge.
    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 (...)
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  4. Predictive Infelicities and the Instability of Predictive Optimality.Chris Dorst - forthcoming - In Christian Loew, Siegfried Jaag & Michael Townsen Hicks (eds.), Humean Laws for Human Agents. Oxford University Press.
    Recent neo-Humean theories of laws of nature have placed substantial emphasis on the characteristic epistemic roles played by laws in scientific practice. In particular, these theories seek to understand laws in terms of their optimal predictive utility to creatures in our epistemic situation. In contrast to other approaches, this view has the distinct advantage that it is able to account for a number of pervasive features possessed by putative actual laws of nature. However, it also faces some unique challenges. First, (...)
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  5. Naturalness and the Forward-Looking Justification of Scientific Principles.Enno Fischer - forthcoming - Philosophy of Science.
    It has been suggested that particle physics has reached the "dawn of the post-naturalness era." I provide an explanation of the current shift in particle physicists' attitude towards naturalness. I argue that the naturalness principle was perceived to be supported by the theories it has inspired. The potential coherence between major beyond the Standard Model (BSM) proposals and the naturalness principle led to an increasing degree of credibility of the principle among particle physicists. The absence of new physics at the (...)
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  6. Philosophy of Science, Network Theory, and Conceptual Change: Paradigm Shifts as Information Cascades.Patrick Grim, Joshua Kavner, Lloyd Shatkin & Manjari Trivedi - forthcoming - In Euel Elliot & L. Douglas Kiel (eds.), Complex Systems in the Social and Behavioral Sciences: Theory, Method, and Application. University of Michigan Press.
    Philosophers have long tried to understand scientific change in terms of a dynamics of revision within ‘theoretical frameworks,’ ‘disciplinary matrices,’ ‘scientific paradigms’ or ‘conceptual schemes.’ No-one, however, has made clear precisely how one might model such a conceptual scheme, nor what form change dynamics within such a structure could be expected to take. In this paper we take some first steps in applying network theory to the issue, modeling conceptual schemes as simple networks and the dynamics of change as cascades (...)
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  7. James Marcum, Thomas Kuhn's Revolutions.Vasso Kindi - forthcoming - Hopos: The Journal of the International Society for the History of Philosophy of Science.
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  8. The Historiography of Scientific Revolutions: A Philosophical Reflection.Yafeng Shan - forthcoming - In Mauro L. Condé & Marlon Salomon (eds.), Handbook of the Historiography of Science. Cham: Springer.
    Scientific revolution has been one of the most controversial topics in the history and philosophy of science. Yet it has been no consensus on what is the best unit of analysis in the historiography of scientific revolutions. Nor is there a consensus on what best explains the nature of scientific revolutions. This chapter provides a critical examination of the historiography of scientific revolutions. It begins with a brief introduction to the historical development of the concept of scientific revolution, followed by (...)
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  9. Theodore Richards and the Discovery of Isotopes.K. Brad Wray - forthcoming - Foundations of Chemistry:1-10.
    I challenge Gareth Eaton’s recent claim that Theodore Richards should be counted among the discoverers of isotopes. In evaluating Eaton’s claim, I draw on two influential theories of scientific discovery, one developed by Thomas Kuhn, and one developed by Augustine Brannigan. I argue that though Richards’ experimental work contributed to the discovery, his work does not warrant attributing the discovery to him. Richards’ reluctance to acknowledge isotopes is well documented. Further, the fact that he made no claim to having made (...)
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  10. Kuhn, Coherentism and Perception.Howard Sankey - 2023 - In Leandro Giri, Pablo Melogno & Hernán Miguel (eds.), Perspectives on Kuhn: Contemporary Approaches to the Philosophy of Thomas Kuhn. Cham: Springer. pp. 1-14.
    The paper takes off from the suggestion of Jouni-Matti Kuukkanen that Kuhn’s account of science may be understood in coherentist terms. There are coherentist themes in Kuhn’s philosophy of science. But one crucial element is lacking. Kuhn does not deny the existence of basic beliefs which have a non-doxastic source of justification. Nor does he assert that epistemic justification only derives from inferential relationships between non-basic beliefs. Despite this, the coherentist interpretation is promising and I develop it further in this (...)
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  11. Realism, antirealism, and theoretical conservatism.Luca Tambolo & Gustavo Cevolani - 2023 - Synthese 201 (1):1-18.
    This paper contributes to the debate on the question of whether a systematic connection obtains between one’s commitment to realism or antirealism and one’s attitude towards the possibility of radical theoretical novelty, namely, theory change affecting our best, most successful theories (see, e.g., Stanford in Synthese 196:3915–3932, 2019; Dellsén in Stud Hist Philos Sci 76:30–38, 2019). We argue that it is not allegiance to realism or antirealism as such that primarily dictates one’s response to the possibility of radical theoretical novelty: (...)
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  12. An Epistemological Study of Theory Change.Theofanis Aravanis - 2022 - Bulletin of the Section of Logic 51 (1):1-26.
    Belief Revision is a well-established field of research that deals with how agents rationally change their minds in the face of new information. The milestone of Belief Revision is a general and versatile formal framework introduced by Alchourrón, Gärdenfors and Makinson, known as the AGM paradigm, which has been, to this date, the dominant model within the field. A main shortcoming of the AGM paradigm, as originally proposed, is its lack of any guidelines for relevant change. To remedy this weakness, (...)
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  13. Désuétude et neuroplasticité.Sacha Behrend & Marie Michon - 2022 - Philosophia Scientiae 26 (1):11-28.
    The history of science is often understood as a succession of theories. However, this conception of the history of science does not do justice to the complexity of the dynamics implemented in scientific development. To illustrate this, we focus on a type of phenomena that cannot be described as a simple linear succession : the desuetude of certain theories and particularly the temporary desuetude of the theory of neuroplasticity. We argue that studying this theory reveals some of the inadequacies of (...)
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  14. Degeneration and Entropy.Eugene Y. S. Chua - 2022 - Kriterion - Journal of Philosophy 36 (2):123-155.
    [Accepted for publication in Lakatos's Undone Work: The Practical Turn and the Division of Philosophy of Mathematics and Philosophy of Science, special issue of Kriterion: Journal of Philosophy. Edited by S. Nagler, H. Pilin, and D. Sarikaya.] Lakatos’s analysis of progress and degeneration in the Methodology of Scientific Research Programmes is well-known. Less known, however, are his thoughts on degeneration in Proofs and Refutations. I propose and motivate two new criteria for degeneration based on the discussion in Proofs and Refutations (...)
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  15. The Noetic Approach: Scientific Progress as Enabling Understanding.Finnur Dellsén - 2022 - In Yafeng Shan (ed.), New Philosophical Perspectives on Scientific Progress. Routledge. pp. 62-81.
    Roughly, the noetic account characterizes scientific progress in terms of increased understanding. This chapter outlines a version of the noetic account according to which scientific progress on some phenomenon consists in making scientific information publicly available so as to enable relevant members of society to increase their understanding of that phenomenon. This version of the noetic account is briefly compared with four rival accounts of scientific progress, viz. the truthlikeness account, the problem-solving account, the new functional account, and the epistemic (...)
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  16. Reality in Perspectives.Mahdi Khalili - 2022 - Dissertation, Vu University Amsterdam
    This dissertation is about human knowledge of reality. In particular, it argues that scientific knowledge is bounded by historically available instruments and theories; nevertheless, the use of several independent instruments and theories can provide access to the persistent potentialities of reality. The replicability of scientific observations and experiments allows us to obtain explorable evidence of robust entities and properties. The dissertation includes seven chapters. It also studies three cases – namely, Higgs bosons and hypothetical Ϝ-particles (section 2.4), the Ptolemaic and (...)
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  17. Of Chimeras, Harmony, and Kintsugi: Towards a Historicist Epistemology of Paleontological Reconstruction, Theory-Change, and Exploring Heuristics.Ali Mirza - 2022 - Perspectives on Science 30 (4):657-695.
    I analyze the epistemic strategies used by paleontologists to reconstruct features of ancient organisms from fossilized bodies and footprints by presenting two heuristics: a “claim of harmony” which posits the harmonious interaction of natural objects in order for complex systems to be simplified and the “kintsugi heuristic” which is used inter-theoretically to explore new claims of harmony. I apply these to three successive historical cases: Georges Cuvier’s laws of correlation, the panpsychist paleontology of Edward Drinker Cope, and the single-character approach (...)
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  18. New Philosophical Perspectives on Scientific Progress.Yafeng Shan (ed.) - 2022 - New York: Routledge.
    This collection of original essays offers a comprehensive examination of scientific progress, which has been a central topic in recent debates in philosophy of science. Traditionally, debates over scientific progress have focused on different methodological approaches, notably the epistemic and semantic approaches. The chapters in Part I of the book examine these two traditional approaches, as well as the newly revived functional and newly developed noetic approaches. Part II features in-depth case studies of scientific progress from the history of science. (...)
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  19. Darwinian-Selectionist Explanation, Radical Theory Change, and the Observable-Unobservable Dichotomy.Elay Shech - 2022 - International Studies in the Philosophy of Science 34 (4):221-241.
    In his recent 2018 book, Resisting Scientific Realism, K. Brad Wray provides a detailed, full-fledged defense of anti-realism about science. In this paper, I argue against the two main claims that constitute Wray’s positive and novel argument for his position, viz., his suggested Darwinian-selectionist explanation of the success of science and his skepticism about unobservables based on radical theory change. My goal is not wholly negative though. Instead, I aim to identify the type of work that an anti-realist like Wray (...)
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  20. What happened when chemists came to classify elements by their atomic number?K. Brad Wray - 2022 - Foundations of Chemistry 24 (2):161-170.
    I respond to Scerri’s recent reply to my claim that there was a scientific revolution in chemistry in the early twentieth Century. I grant, as Scerri insists, that there are significant continuities through the change about which we are arguing. That is so in all scientific revolutions. But I argue that the changes were such that they constitute a Kuhnian revolution, not in the classic sense of The Structure of Scientific Revolutions, but in the sense of Kuhn’s mature theory, developed (...)
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  21. Feyerabend’s rule and dark matter.David Merritt - 2021 - Synthese 199 (3-4):8921-8942.
    Paul Feyerabend argued that theories can be faced with experimental anomalies whose refuting character can only be recognized by developing alternatives to the theory. The alternate theory must explain the experimental results without contrivance and it must also be supported by independent evidence. I show that the situation described by Feyerabend arises again and again in experiments or observations that test the postulates in the standard cosmological model relating to dark matter. The alternate theory is Milgrom’s modified dynamics. I discuss (...)
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  22. Structural realism and generative linguistics.Ryan M. Nefdt - 2021 - Synthese 199 (1-2):3711-3737.
    Linguistics as a science has rapidly changed during the course of a relatively short period. The mathematical foundations of the science, however, present a different story below the surface. In this paper, I argue that due to the former, the seismic shifts in theory over the past 80 years opens linguistics up to the problem of pessimistic meta-induction or radical theory change. I further argue that, due to the latter, one current solution to this problem in the philosophy of science, (...)
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  23. Modal Empiricism: Interpreting Science Without Scientific Realism.Quentin Ruyant - 2021 - Springer International Publishing.
    This book proposes a novel position in the debate on scientific realism: Modal Empiricism. Modal empiricism is the view that the aim of science is to provide theories that correctly delimit, in a unified way, the range of experiences that are naturally possible given our position in the world. The view is associated with a pragmatic account of scientific representation and an original notion of situated modalities, together with an inductive epistemology for modalities. It purports to provide a faithful account (...)
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  24. Kuhn, Values and Academic Freedom.Howard Sankey - 2021 - Logos and Episteme 12 (4):463-467.
    For Kuhn, there are a number of values which provide scientists with a shared basis for theory-choice. These values include accuracy, breadth, consistency, simplicity and fruitfulness. Each of these values may be interpreted in different ways. Moreover, there may be conflict between the values in application to specific theories. In this short paper, Kuhn's idea of scientific values is extended to the value of academic freedom. The value of academic freedom may be interpreted in a number of different ways. Moreover, (...)
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  25. Theoretical Continuity, Approximate Truth, and the Pessimistic Meta-Induction.Dana Tulodziecki - 2021 - In Timothy D. Lyons & Peter Vickers (eds.), Contemporary Scientific Realism: The Challenge From the History of Science. Oxford University Press. pp. 11-32.
  26. Virtues in Scientific Practice.Dana Tulodziecki - 2021 - In Emanuele Ratti & Thomas A. Stapleford (eds.), Science, Technology, and Virtues: Contemporary Perspectives. Oxford University Press.
    This chapter relocates the debate about the theoretical virtues to the empirical level and argues that the question of whether the virtues (and what virtues, if any) have epistemic import is best answered empirically, through an examination of actual scientific theories and hypotheses in the history of science. As a concrete example of this approach, the chapter discusses a case study from the mid-nineteenth-century debate about the transmissibility of puerperal fever. It argues that this case shows that the virtues are (...)
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  27. Reassessing Kuhn’s Theoretical Monism.K. Brad Wray - 2021 - In Interpreting Kuhn: Critical Essays. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. pp. 222-237.
    Scientific specialties are the key unit of analysis in Kuhn’s theory of scientific change. Kuhn believed that scientific specialties, in their normal phases, are characterized by theoretical monism. This is what makes scientists so efficient in realizing their epistemic goals. Recent work in the philosophy of scientific practice raises questions about the extent to which there is or needs to be consensus in science, thus challenging a key dimension of Kuhn’s view. Hasok Chang has been a leader in this project, (...)
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  28. Synthesising arguments and the extended evolutionary synthesis.Andrew Buskell - 2020 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C: Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences 80:101244.
    Synthesising arguments motivate changes to the conceptual tools, theoretical structure, and evaluatory framework employed in a given scientific domain. Recently, a broad coalition of researchers has put forward a synthesising argument in favour of an Extended Evolutionary Synthesis (‘EES’). Often this synthesising argument is evaluated using a virtue-based approach, which construes the EES as a wholesale alternative to prevailing practice. Here I argue this virtue-based approach is not fit for purpose. Taking the central concept of niche construction as a case (...)
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  29. Descriptions of Scientific Revolutions: Rorty’s Failure at Redescribing Scientific Progress.Kyle Cavagnini - 2020 - Stance 5 (1):31-43.
    The twentieth century saw extended development in the philosophy of science to incorporate contemporary expansions of scientific theory and investigation. Richard Rorty was a prominent and rather controversial thinker who maintained that all progress, from social change to scientific inquiry, was achieved through the redescription of existing vocabularies. However, this theory fails to describe revolutionary scientific progress. Thomas Kuhn’s theories of paradigm change, as first described in his seminal work The Structure of Scientific Revolutions, better portray this process. I attempt (...)
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  30. How to Overcome Antirealists’ Objections to Scientific Realism.Seungbae Park - 2020 - Axiomathes 30 (1):1-12.
    Van Fraassen contends that there is no argument that rationally compels us to disbelieve a successful theory, T. I object that this contention places upon him the burden of showing that scientific antirealists’ favorite arguments, such as the pessimistic induction, do not rationally compel us to disbelieve T. Van Fraassen uses the English view of rationality to rationally disbelieve T. I argue that realists can use it to rationally believe T, despite scientific antirealists’ favorite arguments against T.
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  31. Doing Integrated History and Philosophy of Science: A Case Study of the Origin of Genetics.Yafeng Shan - 2020 - Cham: Springer.
    This book offers an integrated historical and philosophical examination of the origin of genetics. The author contends that an integrated HPS analysis helps us to have a better understanding of the history of genetics, and sheds light on some general issues in the philosophy of science. This book consists of three parts. It begins with historical problems, revisiting the significance of the work of Mendel, de Vries, and Weldon. Then it turns to integrated HPS problems, developing an exemplar-based analysis of (...)
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  32. Duhem on Good Sense and Theory Pursuit: From Virtue to Social Epistemology.Jamie Shaw - 2020 - International Studies in the Philosophy of Science 33 (2):67-85.
    ABSTRACT The emerging consensus in the secondary literature on Duhem is that his notion of ‘good sense’ is a virtue of individual scientists that guides them choosie between empirically equal rival theories : 149–159; Ivanova 2010. “Pierre Duhem’s Good Sense as a Guide to Theory Choice.” Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 41 : 58–64; Fairweather 2011. “The Epistemic Value of Good Sense.” Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 43 : 139–146; Bhakthavatsalam. “Duhemian Good (...)
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  33. Paradigms in Structure: Finally, a Count.K. Brad Wray - 2020 - Scientometrics 125:823–828.
    Following the publication of Thomas Kuhn’s Structure of Scientific Revolutions the term paradigm became ubiquitous. It is now commonplace in academic writing across the disciplines. Though much has been written about Kuhn’s use of the term and its impact on other fields, there has not yet been a systematic study of how frequently Kuhn used the term in Structure. My aim in this paper is to provide such an analysis. I aim to answer the following questions: (1) How many times (...)
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  34. How is a revolutionary scientific paper cited?: the case of Hess’ “History of Ocean Basins”.K. Brad Wray - 2020 - Scientometrics 124:1677–1683.
    I examine the citation patterns to a revolutionary scientific paper, Hess’ “History of Ocean Basins”, which played a significant role in the plate tectonics revolution in the geosciences. I test two predictions made by the geoscientist Menard (in Science: growth and change. Harvard University Press, Cambridge, 1971): (1) that the peak year of citations for Hess’ article will be 1968; and (2) that the rate of citations to the article will then reach some lower level, continuing on accumulating citations at (...)
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  35. Theory-choice, transient diversity and the efficiency of scientific inquiry.AnneMarie Borg, Daniel Frey, Dunja Šešelja & Christian Straßer - 2019 - European Journal for Philosophy of Science 9 (2):26.
    Recent studies of scientific interaction based on agent-based models suggest that a crucial factor conducive to efficient inquiry is what Zollman has dubbed ‘transient diversity’. It signifies a process in which a community engages in parallel exploration of rivaling theories lasting sufficiently long for the community to identify the best theory and to converge on it. But what exactly generates transient diversity? And is transient diversity a decisive factor when it comes to the efficiency of inquiry? In this paper we (...)
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  36. Theory-choice, transient diversity and the efficiency of scientific inquiry.AnneMarie Borg, Daniel Frey, Dunja Šešelja & Christian Straßer - 2019 - European Journal for Philosophy of Science 9 (2):26.
    Recent studies of scientific interaction based on agent-based models suggest that a crucial factor conducive to efficient inquiry is what Zollman has dubbed ‘transient diversity’. It signifies a process in which a community engages in parallel exploration of rivaling theories lasting sufficiently long for the community to identify the best theory and to converge on it. But what exactly generates transient diversity? And is transient diversity a decisive factor when it comes to the efficiency of inquiry? In this paper we (...)
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  37. Aim-Oriented Empiricism and the Metaphysics of Science.Nicholas Maxwell - 2019 - Philosophia 48 (1):347–364.
    Over 40 years ago, I put forward a new philosophy of science based on the argument that physics, in only ever accepting unified theories, thereby makes a substantial metaphysical presupposition about the universe, to the effect it possesses an underlying unity. I argued that a new conception of scientific method is required to subject this problematic presupposition to critical attention so that it may be improved as science proceeds. This view has implications for the study of the metaphysics of science. (...)
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  38. A New Task for Philosophy of Science.Nicholas Maxwell - 2019 - Metaphilosophy 50 (3):316-338.
    This paper argues that philosophers of science have before them an important new task that they urgently need to take up. It is to convince the scientific community to adopt and implement a new philosophy of science that does better justice to the deeply problematic basic intellectual aims of science than that which we have at present. Problematic aims evolve with evolving knowledge, that part of philosophy of science concerned with aims and methods thus becoming an integral part of science (...)
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  39. In Defense of Realism and Selectivism from Lyons’s Objections.Seungbae Park - 2019 - Foundations of Science 24 (4):605-615.
    Lyons (2016, 2017, 2018) formulates Laudan’s (1981) historical objection to scientific realism as a modus tollens. I present a better formulation of Laudan’s objection, and then argue that Lyons’s formulation is supererogatory. Lyons rejects scientific realism (Putnam, 1975) on the grounds that some successful past theories were (completely) false. I reply that scientific realism is not the categorical hypothesis that all successful scientific theories are (approximately) true, but rather the statistical hypothesis that most successful scientific theories are (approximately) true. Lyons (...)
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  40. New Objections to the Problem of Unconceived Alternatives.Seungbae Park - 2019 - Filosofia Unisinos 20 (2):138-145.
    The problem of unconceived alternatives can be undermined, regardless of whether the possibility space of alternatives is bounded or unbounded. If it is bounded, pessimists need to justify their assumption that the probability that scientists have not yet eliminated enough false alternatives is higher than the probability that scientists have already eliminated enough false alternatives. If it is unbounded, pessimists need to justify their assumption that the probability that scientists have not yet moved from the possibility space of false alternatives (...)
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  41. The Absolute and Relative Pessimistic Inductions.Seungbae Park - 2019 - Problemos 95:94-104.
    The absolute pessimistic induction states that earlier theories, although successful, were abandoned, so current theories, although successful, will also be abandoned. By contrast, the relative pessimistic induction states that earlier theories, although superior to their predecessors, were discarded, so current theories, although superior to earlier theories, will also be discarded. Some pessimists would have us believe that the relative pessimistic induction avoids empirical progressivism. I argue, however, that it has the same problem as the absolute pessimistic induction, viz., either its (...)
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  42. Thomas kuhn’s theory of rationality.Paulo Pirozelli - 2019 - Manuscrito 42 (3):1-46.
    According to a widespread view, Thomas Kuhn’s model of scientific development would relegate rationality to a second plane, openly flirting with irrationalist positions. The intent of this article is to clarify this aspect of his thinking and refute this common interpretation. I begin by analysing the nature of values in Kuhn’s model and how they are connected to rationality. For Kuhn, a theory is chosen rationally when: i) the evaluation is based on values characteristic of science; ii) a theory is (...)
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  43. Three problems with Kuhn's concept of "crisis".Paulo Pirozelli - 2019 - Enunciação 4 (2):135-147.
    The aim of the article is to explore Thomas Kuhn’s notion of “scientific crisis” and indicate some difficulties with it. First, Kuhn defines “crisis” through the notion of “anomaly” but distinguishes these concepts in two different ways: categorically and quantitatively. Both of these alternatives face considerable problems. The categorical definition relies on a distinction between “discoveries” and “inventions” that, as Kuhn himself admits, is artificial. The quantitative definition states that crises are a deeper, more profound type of anomaly. Kuhn, however, (...)
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  44. Specialisation and the Incommensurability Among Scientific Specialties.Vincenzo Politi - 2019 - Journal for General Philosophy of Science / Zeitschrift für Allgemeine Wissenschaftstheorie 50 (1):129-144.
    In his mature writings, Kuhn describes the process of specialisation as driven by a form of incommensurability, defined as a conceptual/linguistic barrier which promotes and guarantees the insularity of specialties. In this paper, we reject the idea that the incommensurability among scientific specialties is a linguistic barrier. We argue that the problem with Kuhn’s characterisation of the incommensurability among specialties is that he presupposes a rather abstract theory of semantic incommensurability, which he then tries to apply to his description of (...)
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  45. Kuhn's Incommensurability Thesis: Good Examples Still to Be Found.Dusko Prelevic - 2019 - Filozofia Nauki (The Philosophy of Science) 27 (4):61-77.
    In The Structure of Scientific Revolutions,Thomas Kuhn famously argued that scientific revolutions consist in paradigm shifts in which the superseded and the new paradigms are incommensurable. My aim in this paper is to show that neither Kuhn’s examples nor Yafeng Shan’s recently proposed example adequately support this incommensurability thesis. Starting from the distinction between global and local incommensurability, I argue that, on the one hand, local incommensurability does not imply that paradigms are globally incommensurable, and, on the other, that it (...)
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  46. A New Functional Approach to Scientific Progress.Yafeng Shan - 2019 - Philosophy of Science 86 (4):739-758.
    This article develops and defends a new functional approach to scientific progress. I begin with a review of the problems of the traditional functional approach. Then I propose a new functional account of scientific progress, in which scientific progress is defined in terms of usefulness of problem defining and problem solving. I illustrate and defend my account by applying it to the history of genetics. Finally, I highlight the advantages of my new functional approach over the epistemic and semantic approaches (...)
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  47. Between History and Philosophy of Science: The Relationship between Kuhn’s Black-Body Theory and Structure.Adam Timmins - 2019 - Hopos: The Journal of the International Society for the History of Philosophy of Science 9 (2):371-387.
  48. How (not) to think about theory-change in epidemiology.Dana Tulodziecki - 2019 - Synthese 198 (Suppl 10):2569-2588.
    My purpose in this paper is to show how a re-examination of Snow’s famous South London water study, widely taken to have established that cholera is water-borne, highlights some problems with current, scientific realist accounts of theory-change. When examining scientific controversies, such accounts focus disproportionately on the ‘winning’ theories and their properties, or on those of the reasoning of the scientists who proposed them. I argue that this focus is misguided and leads us to neglect much of what is epistemically (...)
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  49. Reporting the discovery of new chemical elements: working in different worlds, only 25 years apart.K. Brad Wray & Line Edslev Andersen - 2019 - Foundations of Chemistry 22 (2):137-146.
    In his account of scientific revolutions, Thomas Kuhn suggests that after a revolutionary change of theory, it is as if scientists are working in a different world. In this paper, we aim to show that the notion of world change is insightful. We contrast the reporting of the discovery of neon in 1898 with the discovery of hafnium in 1923. The one discovery was made when elements were identified by their atomic weight; the other discovery was made after scientists came (...)
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  50. What is the point of reduction in science?Karen Crowther - 2018 - Erkenntnis:1-24.
    The numerous and diverse roles of theory reduction in science have been insufficiently explored in the philosophy literature on reduction. Part of the reason for this has been a lack of attention paid to reduction2 (successional reduction)---although I here argue that this sense of reduction is closer to reduction1 (explanatory reduction) than is commonly recognised, and I use an account of reduction that is neutral between the two. This paper draws attention to the utility---and incredible versatility---of theory reduction. A non-exhaustive (...)
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