Robert Nola has argued that anti-rationalist interpretations of science fail to adequately explain the process of science, since objective reasons can be causal factors in belief formation. While I agree with Nola that objective reasons can be a cause of belief, in this paper I present a version of the strong programme in the sociology of knowledge, the Interests Thesis, and argue that the Interests Thesis provides a plausible explanation of an episode in the history of ape-language research. Specifically, I examine Terrace, Petitto, Sandess, & Bever illegitimate comparison of the signing of their chimpanzee, Nim, with data from human early childhood language development, and argue that Terrace et al.’s interests played a causal role in determining their sceptical beliefs concerning ape linguistic abilities. However, I go on to argue that Terrace et al.’s interests are not the only causal factors in determining their beliefs: objective reasons, associated with the institution of new methodologies, were also causally determinative of Terrace et al.’s sceptical beliefs. Consequently, I argue that belief formation in science is a multi-factorial affair wherein both interests and objective reasons have causal roles. I finish the paper with two conjectures concerning the proper locus of scientific rationality
Keywords No keywords specified (fix it)
Categories (categorize this paper)
DOI 10.1016/j.shpsc.2005.12.006
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Request removal from index
Revision history

Download options

PhilArchive copy

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy     Papers currently archived: 70,214
External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library

References found in this work BETA

Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

Add more citations

Similar books and articles

Is It Rational To Be Rational?Ilkka Niiniluoto - 2000 - The Proceedings of the Twentieth World Congress of Philosophy 5:115-122.
Descartes's Language Test and Ape Language Research.Howard Sankey - 2010 - Teorema: International Journal of Philosophy 29 (2):111-123.
The Scope of Rational Requirements.John Brunero - 2010 - Philosophical Quarterly 60 (238):28-49.
Beyond Rational Insanity.Hung-Yul So - 2007 - The Proceedings of the Twenty-First World Congress of Philosophy 1:221-227.
Argumentation as Rational Persuasion.J. Anthony Blair - 2012 - Argumentation 26 (1):71-81.
The Promise and Limitations of Rational Choice Theory.Stanley Kelley - 1995 - Critical Review: A Journal of Politics and Society 9 (1-2):95-106.


Added to PP index

Total views
31 ( #368,644 of 2,507,555 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
1 ( #416,983 of 2,507,555 )

How can I increase my downloads?


My notes