The Philosophical Status of “Metaphilosophy of Science”

Epistemology and Philosophy of Science 56 (2):134-150 (2019)
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Abstract

Interdisciplinary studies of science form a “living” organism, in which every part performs its function and is connected with other parts. Philosophy of science plays a role of the “think-tank” of that organism. It is a generator of the sense that connects the functions of its separate parts into a systematic unity. It can be called the consciousness of science. Metaphilosophy of science is related to philosophy of science in the same way as philosophy of science itself is related to science. Within metaphilosophy of science the propensity of philosophy of science to self-reflection is implemented. Metaphilosophy of science makes relevant the issues that relate to the philosophical significance of the processes taking place in the so-called “trading zone” (in the sense of P. Galison). These trading zone is a place where scientists, science-of-science theorists and philosophers exchange their ideas. The interaction between philosophy and metaphilosophy of science takes place in the course of a competition among various philosophical interpretations of the results received within the studies of these “trading” processes. Institutional, methodological, historical and culturological studies get a philosophical interpretation and become the source of metaphilosophical ideas. Metaphorically, one may say, that metaphilosophy of science is the self-consciousness of philosophy of science. The very idea that metaphilosophy of science is a participant of the process occurring in the “trading zone” puts an end to a meaningless pile of “metalevels” that very often characterize philosophical discussions of science.

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