Comparativist Philosophy of Science and Population Viability Assessment in Biology: Helping Resolve Scientific Controversy
David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Ezio Di Nucci
Jack Alan Reynolds
Learn more about PhilPapers
Philosophy of Science 73 (5):817-828 (2006)
Comparing alternative scientific theories obviously is relevant to theory assessment, but are comparativists (like Laudan) correct when they also make it necessary? This paper argues that they are not. Defining rationality solely in terms of theories' comparative problem-solving strengths, comparativist philosophers of science like Laudan subscribe to what I call the irrelevance claim (IC) and the necessity claim (NC). According to IC, a scientific theory's being well or poorly confirmed is "irrelevant" to its acceptance; NC is the claim that "all evaluations of research traditions and theories must be made within a comparative context," how any theory "compares with its competitors" (Laudan 1977, 21, 120). Using current competing theories (T1 and T2) of population viability assessment (PVA) for the Florida panther, the paper investigates IC/NC. In part because dominant T2 panther biologists accept IC/NC (which T1 theorists reject), the paper argues that they appear both to have accepted flawed T2 and to have contributed to flawed panther science and policy. Correcting Laudan's Comparativist Philosophy of Science (LCPS), underlying the T1-versus-T2 debate, thus may hold promise for helping resolve both the scientific and policy controversy over panther PVA.
|Keywords||No keywords specified (fix it)|
|Categories||categorize this paper)|
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
L. Laudan (1977). Progress and its Problems: Toward a Theory of Scientific Growth. University of California Press.
Deborah G. Mayo (2001). Error and the Growth of Experimental Knowledge. International Studies in the Philosophy of Science 15 (1):455-459.
Larry Laudan (1997). How About Bust? Factoring Explanatory Power Back Into Theory Evaluation. Philosophy of Science 64 (2):306-316.
Citations of this work BETA
Kevin Elliott & Daniel McKaughan (2009). How Values in Scientific Discovery and Pursuit Alter Theory Appraisal. Philosophy of Science 76 (5):598-611.
Similar books and articles
Howard Sankey (1996). Normative Naturalism and the Challenge of Relativism: Laudan Versus Worrall on the Justification of Methodological Principles. International Studies in the Philosophy of Science 10 (1):37 – 51.
Mircea Flonta (1996). Does the Scientific Paper Accurately Mirror the Very Grounds of Scientific Assessment? Theoria 11 (3):19-31.
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.
K. S. Shrader-Frechette & E. D. Mccoy (1994). Biodiversity, Biological Uncertainty, and Setting Conservation Priorities. Biology and Philosophy 9 (2):167-195.
Barbara Von Eckardt (1990). Some Remarks on Laudan's Theory of Scientific Rationality. Journal of Philosophical Research 15:153-167.
Michael R. Dietrich & Robert A. Skipper (2007). Manipulating Underdetermination in Scientific Controversy: The Case of the Molecular Clock. Perspectives on Science 15 (3):295-326.
James W. McAllister (1986). Theory-Assessment in the Historiography of Science. British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 37 (3):315-333.
H. Krips (1980). Some Problems for "Progress and its Problems". Philosophy of Science 47 (4):601-616.
Added to index2009-01-28
Total downloads14 ( #239,771 of 1,789,938 )
Recent downloads (6 months)1 ( #424,764 of 1,789,938 )
How can I increase my downloads?