Quasi-Truth, Paraconsistency, and the Foundations of Science

Synthese 154 (3):383 - 399 (2007)
In order to develop an account of scientific rationality, two problems need to be addressed: (i) how to make sense of episodes of theory change in science where the lack of a cumulative development is found, and (ii) how to accommodate cases of scientific change where lack of consistency is involved. In this paper, we sketch a model of scientific rationality that accommodates both problems. We first provide a framework within which it is possible to make sense of scientific revolutions, but which still preserves some (partial) relations between old and new theories. The existence of these relations help to explain why the break between different theories is never too radical as to make it impossible for one to interpret the process in perfectly rational terms. We then defend the view that if scientific theories are taken to be quasi-true, and if the underlying logic is paraconsistent, it's perfectly rational for scientists and mathematicians to entertain inconsistent theories without triviality. As a result, as opposed to what is demanded by traditional approaches to rationality, it's not irrational to entertain inconsistent theories. Finally, we conclude the paper by arguing that the view advanced here provides a new way of thinking about the foundations of science. In particular, it extends in important respects both coherentist and foundationalist approaches to knowledge, without the troubles that plague traditional views of scientific rationality
Keywords Rationality  Inconsistency  Scientific change  Paraconsistent logic  Coherence
Categories (categorize this paper)
DOI 10.2307/27653465
 Save to my reading list
Follow the author(s)
My bibliography
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Revision history Request removal from index
Download options
PhilPapers Archive

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy on self-archival     Papers currently archived: 16,707
External links
Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library
References found in this work BETA
K. R. Popper (1966). Conjectures and Refutations. Les Etudes Philosophiques 21 (3):431-434.
Graham Priest (2006). In Contradiction. Oxford University Press Uk.

View all 25 references / Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

No citations found.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles

Monthly downloads

Added to index


Total downloads

651 ( #506 of 1,726,249 )

Recent downloads (6 months)

549 ( #134 of 1,726,249 )

How can I increase my downloads?

My notes
Sign in to use this feature

Start a new thread
There  are no threads in this forum
Nothing in this forum yet.