Reflections on Philipp Frank's philosophy of science

Philosophy of Science 26 (1):35-40 (1959)
Recent writings of Professor Frank raise basic questions concerning the nature of science and its relations to social, political, theological and metaphysical issues. This paper concentrates on several of these questions. What determines the acceptance of an hypothesis in the sciences? Is it explanation of the facts and confirmation by experimentation or is it the capacity of a theory to guide human conduct? Professor Frank's espousal of the latter criterion raises the question of whether this criterion can clearly be applied. Equally important: it places on the scientist the responsibility of (a) reliably predicting the effects of a theory on human conduct and (b), deciding which effects ought to be achieved, assuming we could reliably achieve them. Another set of problems arises concerning the relation between scientific views and metaphysical, political and religious beliefs. Are the former relevant to the latter? If so, how? Does not scientific method at least involve the rejection of certain political and religious philosophies? We conclude that each and all of these difficulties could be relieved if not resolved by accepting a thoroughgoing empiricism
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DOI 10.1086/287635
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