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Summary The question of the nature of scientific progress arises from reflection on the nature of scientific change.  Change in science is not typically mere change nor is it typically a change of fashion.  Scientific change leads to scientific progress.  But how is progress to be conceived?  Some have thought of scientific progress in terms of advance on truth or the cumulative build-up of truth.  Others have been inclined to think of progress in terms of the growth of knowledge.  Still others have thought of progress in a way that does not require growth of knowledge or truth, so much as improved problem-solving capacity or efficacity.
Key works Concerns about the cumulative model of scientific progress may be found in Kuhn 1962, or in later editions, e.g. Kuhn 1996Laudan 1977 is a sustained discussion of the topic which proposes a problem-solving model of progress.  For a good introduction to Popper's views about science and scientific progress, see Popper 1989.  A recent proposal which understands scientific progress in terms of the accumulation of knowledge is found in Bird 2007
Introductions Niiniluoto 2008
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  1. Robert Ackermann (1988). Experiment as the Motor of Scientific Progress. Social Epistemology 2 (4):327 – 335.
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  2. S. Alberchi & Lecce Milella (1976). Problems of Scientific Revolution. Progress and Obstacles to Progress. [REVIEW] International Logic Review: Rassegna Internazionale di Logica 18 (13-16).
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  3. Jason McKenzie Alexander, Johannes Himmelreich & Christopher Thompson (2015). Epistemic Landscapes, Optimal Search, and the Division of Cognitive Labor. Philosophy of Science 82 (3):424-453,.
    This article examines two questions about scientists’ search for knowledge. First, which search strategies generate discoveries effectively? Second, is it advantageous to diversify search strategies? We argue pace Weisberg and Muldoon, “Epistemic Landscapes and the Division of Cognitive Labor”, that, on the first question, a search strategy that deliberately seeks novel research approaches need not be optimal. On the second question, we argue they have not shown epistemic reasons exist for the division of cognitive labor, identifying the errors that led (...)
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  4. Anna Alexandrova & Robert Northcott (2009). Progress in Economics: Lessons From the Spectrum Auctions. In Harold Kincaid & Don Ross (eds.), The Oxford Handbook of Philosophy of Economics. Oxford University Press 306--337.
    The 1994 US spectrum auction is now a paradigmatic case of the successful use of microeconomic theory for policy-making. We use a detailed analysis of it to review standard accounts in philosophy of science of how idealized models are connected to messy reality. We show that in order to understand what made the design of the spectrum auction successful, a new such account is required, and we present it here. Of especial interest is the light this sheds on the issue (...)
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  5. Atocha Aliseda (2005). Lacunae, Empirical Progress and Semantic Tableaux. Poznan Studies in the Philosophy of the Sciences and the Humanities 83 (1):169-189.
    In this paper I address the question of the dynamics of empirical progress, both in theory evaluation and in theory improvement. I meet the challenge laid down by Theo Kuipers in Kuipers (1999), namely to operationalize the task of "instrumentalist abduction," that is, theory revision aiming at empirical progress. I offer a reformulation of Kuipers' account of empirical progress in the framework of (extended) semantic tableaux and show that this is indeed an appealing method by which to account for some (...)
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  6. Robert Almeder (1983). Scientific Progress and Peircean Utopian Realism. Erkenntnis 20 (3):253 - 280.
    I argue that (1) if scientific progress, construed in revolutionary terms, were to continue indefinitely long, then any non-trivial question answerable by the use of the scientific method would in fact be answered in a way that would allow for further refinement without undermining the essential correctness of the answer; and (2) it is reasonable to believe that scientific progress will continue indefinitely long. The establishment of (1) and (2) entails that any non-trivial empirically answerable question will be answered in (...)
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  7. H. Andersen (1997). Review of the Third Edition of Scientific Progress and The Metaphysics of Science. [REVIEW] Erkenntnis 47 (1997):265-271.
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  8. Hanne Andersen (1997). Craig Dilworth: Scientific Progress. A Study Concerning the Nature of the Relation Between Successive Scientific Theories. Craig Dilworth: The Metaphysics of Science. An Account of Modern Science in Terms of Principles, Laws and Theories. [REVIEW] Erkenntnis 47 (2):265-271.
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  9. Gunnar Andersson (1986). II. Lakatos and Progress and Rationality in Science: A Reply to Agassi. Philosophia 16 (2):239-243.
  10. Jerrold L. Aronson, Rom Harre, Eileen Cornell Way, Robin Findlay Hendry & David J. Mossley (1999). Reviews-Realism Rescued: How Scientific Progress is Possible. British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 50 (1):175-180.
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  11. Jerrold L. Aronson, Rom Harré & Eileen Cornell Way (1994). Realism Rescued How Scientific Progress is Possible.
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  12. Brian S. Baigrie (1992). A Reappraisal of Duhem's Conception of Scientific Progress. Revue Internationale de Philosophie 46 (182):344-360.
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  13. Davis Baird & Thomas Faust (1990). Scientific Instruments, Scientific Progress and the Cyclotron. British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 41 (2):147-175.
  14. Alan Baker (2001). Mathematics, Indispensability and Scientific Progress. Erkenntnis 55 (1):85-116.
  15. Dominic J. Balestra (1981). Progress and Rationality in Science. By G. Radnitzky and G. Andersson (Editors). Modern Schoolman 59 (1):70-72.
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  16. Greg Bamford (1999). What is the Problem of Ad Hoc Hypotheses? Science and Education 8 (4):375 - 86..
    The received view of an ad hochypothesis is that it accounts for only the observation(s) it was designed to account for, and so non-ad hocness is generally held to be necessary or important for an introduced hypothesis or modification to a theory. Attempts by Popper and several others to convincingly explicate this view, however, prove to be unsuccessful or of doubtful value, and familiar and firmer criteria for evaluating the hypotheses or modified theories so classified are characteristically available. These points (...)
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  17. Greg Bamford (1989). Popper, Refutation and 'Avoidance' of Refutation. Dissertation, The University of Queensland
    Popper's account of refutation is the linchpin of his famous view that the method of science is the method of conjecture and refutation. This thesis critically examines his account of refutation, and in particular the practice he deprecates as avoiding a refutation. I try to explain how he comes to hold the views that he does about these matters; how he seeks to make them plausible; how he has influenced others to accept his mistakes, and how some of the ideas (...)
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  18. Sorin Bangu (2015). Scientific Progress, Understanding and Unification. In Iulian D. Toader, Gabriel Sandu & Ilie Pȃrvu (eds.), Romanian Studies in Philosophy of Science. Springer International Publishing
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  19. Eric Barnes (1991). Beyond Verisimilitude: A Linguistically Invariant Basis for Scientific Progress. Synthese 88 (3):309 - 339.
    This paper proposes a solution to David Miller's Minnesotan-Arizonan demonstration of the language dependence of truthlikeness (Miller 1974), along with Miller's first-order demonstration of the same (Miller 1978). It is assumed, with Peter Urbach, that the implication of these demonstrations is that the very notion of truthlikeness is intrinsically language dependent and thus non-objective. As such, truthlikeness cannot supply a basis for an objective account of scientific progress. I argue that, while Miller is correct in arguing that the number of (...)
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  20. Henry H. Bauer (2003). The Progress of Science and Implications for Science Studies and for Science Policy. Perspectives on Science 11 (2):236-278.
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  21. William Bechtel (1984). The Evolution of Our Understanding of the Cell: A Study in the Dynamics of Scientific Progress. Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 15 (4):309-356.
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  22. J. B. Bengoetxea (2010). Crítica filosófica y progreso científico: cuatro ejemplos. Teorema: International Journal of Philosophy 29 (1).
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  23. Alexander Bird (2010). The Epistemology of Science—a Bird's-Eye View. Synthese 175 (1):5 - 16.
    In this paper I outline my conception of the epistemology of science, by reference to my published papers, showing how the ideas presented there fit together. In particular I discuss the aim of science, scientific progress, the nature of scientific evidence, the failings of empiricism, inference to the best (or only) explanation, and Kuhnian psychology of discovery. Throughout, I emphasize the significance of the concept of scientific knowledge.
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  24. Alexander Bird (2008). Scientific Progress as Accumulation of Knowledge: A Reply to Rowbottom. Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 39 (2):279-281.
    I defend my view that scientific progress is constituted by the accumulation of knowledge against a challenge from Rowbottom in favour of the semantic view that it is only truth that is relevant to progress.
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  25. Alexander Bird (2007). What is Scientific Progress? Noûs 41 (1):64–89.
    I argue that scientific progress is precisely the accumulation of scientific knowledge.
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  26. Richard J. Blackwell (1983). Scientific Progress: A Study Concerning the Nature of the Relation Between Successive Scientific Theory. Modern Schoolman 61 (1):59-59.
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  27. Ingo Brigandt, An Alternative to Kitcher's Theory of Conceptual Progress and His Account of the Change of the Gene Concept.
    The present paper discusses Kitcher’s framework for studying conceptual change and progress. Kitcher’s core notion of reference potential is hard to apply to concrete cases. In addition, an account of conceptual change as change in reference potential misses some important aspects of conceptual change and conceptual progress. I propose an alternative framework that focuses on the inferences and explanations supported by scientific concepts. The application of my approach to the history of the gene concept offers a better account of the (...)
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  28. Richard M. Burian & J. D. Trout (1995). Ontological Progress in Science. Canadian Journal of Philosophy 25 (2):177 - 201.
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  29. Robert E. Butts (1979). Review Symposium : Scientific Progress: The Laudan Manifesto. Philosophy of the Social Sciences 9 (4):475-483.
  30. Martin Carrier, Laura Ruetsche & Gerald J. Massey (eds.) (2004). Science at Centurys End: Philosophical Questions on the Progress and Limits of S. University of Pittsburgh Press.
    To most laypersons and scientists, science and progress appear to go hand in hand, yet philosophers and historians of science have long questioned the inevitability of this pairing. As we take leave of a century acclaimed for scientific advances and progress, Science at Century's End, the eighth volume of the Pittsburgh-Konstanz Series in the Philosophy and History of Science, takes the reader to the heart of this important matter. Subtitled Philosophical Questions on the Progress and Limits of Science, this timely (...)
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  31. Chandler Carter (1996). The Rake’s Progress. American Journal of Semiotics 13 (1/4):183-225.
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  32. Eros Moreira de Carvalho (2014). Kuhn E a Racionalidade da Escolha Científica. Principia: An International Journal of Epistemology 17 (3):439.
  33. Gustavo Cevolani, Roberto Festa & Theo A. F. Kuipers (2013). Verisimilitude and Belief Change for Nomic Conjunctive Theories. Synthese 190 (16):3307-3324.
    In this paper, we address the problem of truth approximation through theory change, asking whether revising our theories by newly acquired data leads us closer to the truth about a given domain. More particularly, we focus on “nomic conjunctive theories”, i.e., theories expressed as conjunctions of logically independent statements concerning the physical or, more generally, nomic possibilities and impossibilities of the domain under inquiry. We define both a comparative and a quantitative notion of the verisimilitude of such theories, and identify (...)
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  34. Gustavo Cevolani & Luca Tambolo (2013). Progress as Approximation to the Truth: A Defence of the Verisimilitudinarian Approach. Erkenntnis 78 (4):921-935.
    In this paper we provide a compact presentation of the verisimilitudinarian approach to scientific progress (VS, for short) and defend it against the sustained attack recently mounted by Alexander Bird (2007). Advocated by such authors as Ilkka Niiniluoto and Theo Kuipers, VS is the view that progress can be explained in terms of the increasing verisimilitude (or, equivalently, truthlikeness, or approximation to the truth) of scientific theories. According to Bird, VS overlooks the central issue of the appropriate grounding of scientific (...)
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  35. Gustavo Cevolani & Luca Tambolo (2013). Truth May Not Explain Predictive Success, but Truthlikeness Does. Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 44 (4):590-593.
    In a recent paper entitled “Truth does not explain predictive success” , Carsten Held argues that the so-called “No-Miracles Argument” for scientific realism is easily refuted when the consequences of the underdetermination of theories by the evidence are taken into account. We contend that the No-Miracles Argument, when it is deployed within the context of sophisticated versions of realism, based on the notion of truthlikeness , survives Held’s criticism unscathed.
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  36. Hasok Chang (2007). Scientific Progress: Beyond Foundationalism and Coherentism. Royal Institute of Philosophy Supplement 82 (61):1-20.
    Scientific progress remains one of the most significant issues in the philosophy of science today. This is not only because of the intrinsic importance of the topic, but also because of its immense difficulty. In what sense exactly does science makes progress, and how is it that scientists are apparently able to achieve it better than people in other realms of human intellectual endeavour? Neither philosophers nor scientists themselves have been able to answer these questions to general satisfaction.
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  37. U. Charpa (1988). Scientific Progress. Philosophische Rundschau 35 (1-2):117-131.
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  38. Steve Clarke & Adrian Walsh (2014). Imperialism, Progress, Developmental Teleology, and Interdisciplinary Unification. International Studies in the Philosophy of Science 27 (3):341-351.
    In a previous article in this journal, we examined John Dupré's claim that ‘scientific imperialism’ can lead to ‘misguided’ science being considered acceptable. Here, we address criticisms raised by Ian J. Kidd and Uskali Mäki against that article. While both commentators take us to be offering our own account of scientific imperialism that goes beyond that developed by Dupré, and go on to criticise what they take to be our account, our actual ambitions were modest. We intended to ‘explicate the (...)
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  39. L. Jonathan Cohen (1973). Is the Progress of Science Evolutionary? [REVIEW] British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 24 (1):41-61.
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  40. L. Jonathan Cohen (1973). Review: Is the Progress of Science Evolutionary? [REVIEW] British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 24 (1):41 - 61.
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  41. Elizabeth F. Cooke (2004). Fallibilism, Progress, and the Long Run in Peirce's Philosophy of Science. Southwest Philosophy Review 20 (1):155-162.
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  42. Rachel Cooper (2012). Comments: Progress and the Calibration of Scientific Constructs: A New Look at Validity. In Kenneth S. Kendler & Josef Parnas (eds.), Philosophical Issues in Psychiatry Ii: Nosology. OUP Oxford
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  43. Spyridon George Couvalis (1985). Feyerabend's Critique of Foundationalism. Dissertation, University of New South Wales (Australia)
    This thesis argues that: there are no indubitable or highly probable empirical statements that can serve as a foundation for scientific knowledge; the progress of science is not necessarily or generally cumulative; the widespread belief that certain scientific theories are founded in experience had had bad consequences because it has retarded the progress of science and led to the development of totalitarian institutions; hypotheses which are rivals to entrenched scientific theories are helpful and sometimes even necessary for bringing the fundamental (...)
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  44. Alistair C. Crombie (1975). Some Attitudes to Scientific Progress: Ancient, Medieval and Modern. History of Science 13 (3):213-230.
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  45. G. Currie (1978). LAUDAN, L.: "Progress and its Problems". [REVIEW] Australasian Journal of Philosophy 56:177.
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  46. Alex Stewart Davies (2013). Kuhn on Incommensurability and Theory Choice. Studies in History and Philosophy of Science 44 (4):571-579.
    The incommensurability of two theories seems to problematize theory comparisons, which allow for the selection of the better of the two theories. If so, it becomes puzzling how the quality of theories can improve with time, i.e. how science can progress across changes in incommensurable theories. I argue that in papers published in the 1990s, Kuhn provided a novel way to resolve this apparent tension between incommensurability and scientific progress. He put forward an account of their compatibility which worked not (...)
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  47. Rogier De Langhe (2013). The Kuhnian Paradigm. Topoi 32 (1):65-73.
    Kuhn wanted to install a new research agenda in philosophy of science. I argue that the tools are now available to better articulate his paradigm and let it guide philosophical research instead of itself remaining the object of philosophical debate.
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  48. Rogier De Langhe, Scientific Change.
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  49. Rogier De Langhe, Stephan Hartmann & Jan Sprenger (2014). Introduction: The Progress of Science. Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 46:54.
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  50. Marc de Mey (1982). The Cognitive Paradigm: An Integrated Understanding of Scientific Development. University of Chicago Press.
    In this study of the cognitive paradigm, De Mey applies the study of computer models of human perception to the philosophy and sociology of science. "A most stimulating, and intellectually delightful book."--John Goldsmith "[De Mey] has brought together an unusually wide range of material, and suggested some interesting lines of thought, about what should be an important application of cognitive science: The understanding of science itself."-- Cognition and Brain Theory "It ought to be on the shelf of every teacher and (...)
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