Beyond verisimilitude: A linguistically invariant basis for scientific progress

Synthese 88 (3):309 - 339 (1991)
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 true atomic sentences of a false theory is language dependent, the number of known sentences (under certain straightforward assumptions) is conserved by translation; degree of knowledge, unlike truthlikeness, is thus a linguistically invariant notion. It is concluded that the objectivity of scientific progress must be grounded on the fact (noted in Cohen 1980) that knowledge, not mere truth, is the aim of science.
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DOI 10.1007/BF00413551
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References found in this work BETA
K. R. Popper (1966). Conjectures and Refutations. Les Etudes Philosophiques 21 (3):431-434.
Ilkka Niiniluoto (1989). Truthlikeness. Journal of Symbolic Logic 54 (1):297-300.
Robert K. Shope (1983). The Analysis of Knowing: A Decade of Research. Princeton, New Jersey: Princeton University Press.

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Citations of this work BETA
Finnur Dellsén (2016). Scientific Progress: Knowledge Versus Understanding. Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 56:72-83.
Ilkka Niiniluoto (2014). Scientific Progress as Increasing Verisimilitude. Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 46:73-77.

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