David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
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Foundations of Science 11 (4):369-397 (2006)
In recent years a general consensus has been developing in the philosophy of science to the effect that strong social constructivist accounts are unable to adequately account for scientific practice. Recently, however, a number of commentators have formulated an attenuated version of constructivism that purports to avoid the difficulties that plague the stronger claims of its predecessors. Interestingly this attenuated form of constructivism finds philosophical support from a relatively recent turn in the literature concerning scientific realism. Arthur Fine and a number of other commentators have argued that the realism debate ought to be abandoned. The rationale for this argument is that the debate is sterile for it has, it is claimed, no consequence for actual scientific practice, and therefore does not advance our understanding of science or its practice. Recent “softer” accounts of social constructivism also hold a similar agnostic stance to the realism question. I provide a survey of these various agnostic stances and show how they form a general position that I shall refer to as “the anti-philosophical stance”. I then demonstrate that the anti-philosophical stance fails by identifying difficulties that attend its proposal to ban philosophical interpretation. I also provide examples of instances where philosophical stances to the realism question affect scientific practice.
|Keywords||Philosophy Philosophy of Science Mathematical Logic and Foundations Methodology of the Social Sciences|
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References found in this work BETA
Bruno Latour (1987). Science in Action: How to Follow Scientists and Engineers Through Society. Harvard University Press.
Ian Hacking (1999). The Social Construction of What? Harvard University Press.
Bruno Latour (1999). Pandora's Hope: Essays on the Reality of Science Studies. Harvard University Press.
K. Knorr-Cetina (1999). Epistemic Cultures: How the Sciences Make Knowledge. Harvard University Press.
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