David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
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Inquiry 34 (4):457-473 (1991)
This essay argues that Laudan et al.?s (1986,1988) project of empirically testing philosophical models of scientific change was ill?conceived, thus the data brought to light by the historians had little bearing upon the original problem: testing philosophical models of scientific change. The project is internally inconsistent and the procedure relating the theses under scrutiny to the models of change is so undefined that the corroboration or falsification of the theses teaches us nothing about the models. Serious anomalies in Laudan et al.?s (1988) report of experimental results are then shown to be related to already noticed methodological difficulties. I conclude that the project fails, contrary to its authors? claim, to use historical evidence in a probative, rather than a simply illustrative, way.
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