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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. 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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  3. 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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  4. 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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  5. Gunnar Andersson (1986). II. Lakatos and Progress and Rationality in Science: A Reply to Agassi. Philosophia 16 (2):239-243.
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  6. 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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  7. Davis Baird & Thomas Faust (1990). Scientific Instruments, Scientific Progress and the Cyclotron. British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 41 (2):147-175.
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  8. Alan Baker (2001). Mathematics, Indispensability and Scientific Progress. Erkenntnis 55 (1):85-116.
  9. 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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  10. 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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  11. 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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  12. 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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  13. 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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  14. 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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  15. 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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  16. 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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  17. 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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  18. 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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  19. Richard M. Burian & J. D. Trout (1995). Ontological Progress in Science. Canadian Journal of Philosophy 25 (2):177 - 201.
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  20. Robert E. Butts (1979). Review Symposium : Scientific Progress: The Laudan Manifesto. Philosophy of the Social Sciences 9 (4):475-483.
  21. 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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  22. 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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  23. Hasok Chang (2007). Scientific Progress: Beyond Foundationalism and Coherentism. Royal Institute of Philosophy Supplement 82 (61):1-20.
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  24. Steve Clarke & Adrian Walsh (2014). Imperialism, Progress, Developmental Teleology, and Interdisciplinary Unification. International Studies in the Philosophy of Science 27 (3):341-351.
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  25. 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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  26. 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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  27. Alistair C. Crombie (1975). Some Attitudes to Scientific Progress: Ancient, Medieval and Modern. History of Science 13:213-230.
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  28. 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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  29. 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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  30. Rogier De Langhe, Scientific Change.
  31. Rogier De Langhe, Stephan Hartmann & Jan Sprenger (forthcoming). The Progress of Science. Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A.
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  32. Marc de Mey (1982/1992). 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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  33. Catherine Delmas, Christine Vandamme & Donna Spalding Andréolle (eds.) (2010). Science and Empire in the Nineteenth Century: A Journey of Imperial Conquest and Scientific Progress. Cambridge Scholars.
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  34. A. A. Derksen (1986). The Justificational Priority of Science Over the Philosophy of Science: Laudan's Science and Hypothesis. Philosophy of Science 53 (2):259-264.
    In this note I test a specific thesis about the dependence of philosophy of science on science that Laudan presents in his Science and Hypothesis; namely, that the sciences were justificationally prior to the philosophy of science. I argue that Laudan's historical case studies show a justificational priority that goes the other way. I also argue that the justificational role that in Progress and Its Problems the history of science is alleged to play vis-à-vis competing conceptions of scientific rationality is (...)
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  35. Craig Dilworth (1994/1986). Scientific Progress: A Study Concerning the Nature of the Relation Between Successive Scientific Theories. Kluwer Academic.
    In this way Dilworth succeeds in providing a conception of science in which scientific progress is based on both rational and empirical considerations.
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  36. Craig Dilworth (1988). The Gestalt Model of Scientific Progress in Scientific Knowledge Socialized. Boston Studies in the Philosophy of Science 108:299-311.
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  37. Mauro Dorato (2011). TRUTH, LAWS AND THE PROGRESS OF SCIENCE. Manuscrito 34 (1):185-204.
    In this paper I analyze the difficult question of the truth of mature scientific theories by tackling the problem of the truth of laws. After introducing the main philosophical positions in the field of scientific realism, I discuss and then counter the two main arguments against realism, namely the pessimistic metainduction and the abstract and idealized character of scientific laws. I conclude by defending the view that well-confirmed physical theories are true only relatively to certain values of the variables that (...)
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  38. Heather Douglas (forthcoming). Pure Science and the Problem of Progress. Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A.
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  39. J. Dupre (1995). Review of Kitcher: "The Advancement of Science: Science Without Legend, Objectivity Without Illusions". [REVIEW] Philosophical Explorations.
    Philip Kitcher's book begins with a familiar historical overview. In the 1940s and 50s a confident, optimistic vision of science was widely shared by philosophers and historians of science. The goal of science was to discover the truth about nature, and over the centuries science had advanced steadily towards that goal; science discerned the real kinds of things of which the world was composed and the causal relations between them; the methods of science were rational and its deliverances objective; and (...)
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  40. C. Z. Elgin (1980). Lawlikeness and the End of Science. Philosophy of Science 47 (1):56-68.
    Although our theories are not precisely true, scientific realists contend that we should admit their objects into our ontology. One justification--offered by Sellars and Putnam--is that current theories belong to series that converge to ideally adequate theories. I consider the way the commitment to convergence reflects on the interpretation of lawlike claims. I argue that the distinction between lawlike and accidental generalizations depends on our cognitive interests and reflects our commitment to the direction of scientific progress. If the sciences disagree (...)
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  41. Jan Faye, Science and Reality.
    Scientific realism is the view that the aim of science is to produce true or approximately true theories about nature. It is a view which not only is shared by many philosophers but also by scientists themselves. Regarding Kuhn’s rejection of scientific progress, Steven Weinberg once declared: “All this is wormwood to scientists like myself, who think the task of science is to bring us closer and closer to objective truth.” But such a realist view on scientific theories is not (...)
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  42. Gabor Forrai (2002). Lakatos, Reason, and Rationality. In G. Kampis L. Kvasz & M. Stöltzner (eds.), Appraising Lakatos: Mathematics, Methodology, and the Man. Kluwer.
  43. Gábor Forrai (1993). From the Method of Proofs and Refutations to the Methodology of Scientific Research Programmes. International Studies in the Philosophy of Science 7 (2):161-175.
    Abstract The paper is an attempt to interpret Imre Lakatos's methodology of scientific research programmes (MSRP) on the basis of his mathematical methodology, the method of proofs and refutations (MPR). After sketching MSRP and MPR and analysing their relationship to Popper's and Poly a's work, I argue that MSRP was originally conceived as a methodology in the same sense as MPR. The most conspicuous difference between the two, namely that MSRP is fundamentally backward?looking, whereas MPR is primarily forward?looking, is due (...)
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  44. Paul D. Forster (1989). Peirce on the Progress and Authority of Science. Transactions of the Charles S. Peirce Society 25 (4):421 - 452.
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  45. J. M. Fritzman & Molly Gibson (2012). Schelling, Hegel, and Evolutionary Progress. Perspectives on Science 20 (1):105-128.
    This article presents Schelling’s claim that nature has an evolutionary process and Hegel’s response that nature is the development of the concept. It then examines whether evolution is progressive. While many evolutionary biologists explicitly repudiate the suggestion that there is progress in evolution, they often implicitly presuppose this. Moreover, such a notion seems required insofar as the shape of life’s history consists in a directional trend. This article argues that, insofar as a notion of progress is indeed conceptually ineliminatable from (...)
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  46. Tord H. Ganelius (ed.) (1986). Progress in Science and its Social Conditions: Nobel Symposium 58, Held at Lidingö, Sweden, 15-19 August 1983. Published for the Nobel Foundation by Pergamon Press.
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  47. M. P. Gapochka (1975). The Unity of Social and Scientific Progress Under Socialism: 250th Anniversary of the Ussr Academy of Sciences. "Social Sciences Today" Editorial Board.
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  48. Elizabeth Garber (2007). Inventing Temperature: Measurement and Scientific Progress. Review of Metaphysics 60 (3):653-655.
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  49. Donald Gillies (2009). Hasok Chang Inventing Temperature: Measurement and Scientific Progress. British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 60 (1):221-228.
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  50. Dimiter Ginev (1988). Scientific Progress and the Hermeneutic Circle. Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 19 (3):391-395.
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