Authors
Beckett Sterner
Arizona State University
Christopher DiTeresi
George Mason University
Abstract
Making sense of why something succeeded or failed is central to scientific practice: it provides an interpretation of what happened, i.e. an hypothesized explanation for the results, that informs scientists’ deliberations over their next steps. In philosophy, the realism debate has dominated the project of making sense of scientists’ success and failure claims, restricting its focus to whether truth or reliability best explain science’s most secure successes. Our aim, in contrast, will be to expand and advance the practice-oriented project sketched by Arthur Fine in his work on the Natural Ontological Attitude. An important obstacle to articulating a positive program, we suggest, has been overlooking how scientists adopt standardized rules and procedures in order to define and operationalize meanings for success and failure relative to their situated goals. To help fill this gap, we introduce two new ideas, design specifications and track records, and show how they advance our ability to make sense of scientific modeling practices while maintaining a deflationary stance toward the realism debate.
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DOI 10.1007/s13194-020-00336-3
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Idealization and the Aims of Science.Angela Potochnik - 2017 - Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

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