The importance of historical accuracy in philosophy of science: The case of Curd's conception of copernican rationality
David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Ezio Di Nucci
Jack Alan Reynolds
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Philosophy of Science 53 (3):372-394 (1986)
General discussions of the appropriate relations between history and philosophy of science must be complemented by examinations of particular studies involving both fields. Martin Curd's attempt to illuminate the rationality of theory change through analysis of the Copernican Revolution is such a study; his work is undercut by serious flaws and actually displays an ahistorical approach. The result misleads both about the Copernican Revolution and the general problem of theory change in science. The study does illustrate several types of failing that can vitiate efforts to bring historical considerations into philosophical discussion, namely, pitfalls in the characterization of theories, arguments, range of choices, and criteria.
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