The advancement of science: science without legend, objectivity without illusions

New York: Oxford University Press (1993)
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During the last three decades, reflections on the growth of scientific knowledge have inspired historians, sociologists, and some philosophers to contend that scientific objectivity is a myth. In this book, Kitcher attempts to resurrect the notions of objectivity and progress in science by identifying both the limitations of idealized treatments of growth of knowledge and the overreactions to philosophical idealizations. Recognizing that science is done not by logically omniscient subjects working in isolation, but by people with a variety of personal and social interests, who cooperate and compete with one another, he argues that, nonetheless, we may conceive the growth of science as a process in which both our vision of nature and our ways of learning more about nature improve. Offering a detailed picture of the advancement of science, he sets a new agenda for the philosophy of science and for other "science studies" disciplines.



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Legend's Legacy

Begins with an outline of the major characteristics of the dominant conception of science offered by logical empiricism. Then explains how this view was criticized.

Realism and Scientific Progress

The account of progress is defended against a number of objections. Some of these are offered by philosophers who are sceptical of realism in the philosophy of science; others are urged by historians and sociologists of science.

The Organization of Cognitive Labor

Ends with an attempt to construct a formal model of knowledge for scientists working together in a community of inquiry. It is shown how the questions of social epistemology can be conceived in terms of optimal strategies for the attainment of the goals of science, and how particular socia... see more


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Philip Kitcher
Columbia University

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