How inevitable are the results of successful science?

Philosophy of Science 67 (3):71 (2000)
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Abstract

Obviously we could have failed to be successful scientists. But a serious question lurks beneath the banal one stated in my title. If the results of a scientific investigation are correct, would any investigation of roughly the same subject matter, if successful, at least implicitly contain or imply the same results? Using examples ranging from immunology to high-energy physics, the paper presents the cases for both positive and negative answers. The paper is deliberately non-conclusive, arguing that the question is one of the few serious philosophical issues that divides protagonists in the "science wars."

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Ian Hacking
University of Toronto, St. George Campus

Citations of this work

Who has scientific knowledge?K. Brad Wray - 2007 - Social Epistemology 21 (3):337 – 347.
Hacking’s historical epistemology: a critique of styles of reasoning.Martin Kusch - 2010 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 41 (2):158-173.
State of the field: Are the results of science contingent or inevitable?Katherina Kinzel - 2015 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 52:55-66.
Inevitability, contingency, and epistemic humility.Ian James Kidd - 2016 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 55:12-19.

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References found in this work

Sokal's Hoax.Steven Weinberg - 1996 - New York Review of Books 13:11-15.

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