What is theoretical progress of science?

Synthese 196 (2):611-631 (2019)
  Copy   BIBTEX

Abstract

The epistemic conception of scientific progress equates progress with accumulation of scientific knowledge. I argue that the epistemic conception fails to fully capture scientific progress: theoretical progress, in particular, can transcend scientific knowledge in important ways. Sometimes theoretical progress can be a matter of new theories ‘latching better onto unobservable reality’ in a way that need not be a matter of new knowledge. Recognising this further dimension of theoretical progress is particularly significant for understanding scientific realism, since realism is naturally construed as the claim that science makes theoretical progress. Some prominent realist positions are best understood in terms of commitment to theoretical progress that cannot be equated with accumulation of scientific knowledge.

Links

PhilArchive



    Upload a copy of this work     Papers currently archived: 93,098

External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server

Through your library

Similar books and articles

Analytics

Added to PP
2016-05-13

Downloads
77 (#221,179)

6 months
16 (#172,419)

Historical graph of downloads
How can I increase my downloads?

Author's Profile

Juha Saatsi
University of Leeds

References found in this work

Inference to the Best Explanation.Peter Lipton - 1991 - London and New York: Routledge/Taylor and Francis Group.
True Enough.Catherine Z. Elgin - 2017 - Cambridge: MIT Press.
The Scientific Image.William Demopoulos & Bas C. van Fraassen - 1982 - Philosophical Review 91 (4):603.
Inference to the Best Explanation.Peter Lipton - 1991 - London and New York: Routledge.
A confutation of convergent realism.Larry Laudan - 1981 - Philosophy of Science 48 (1):19-49.

View all 54 references / Add more references