David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
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Philosophy of Science 58 (4):607-627 (1991)
Modernism in the philosophy of science demands a unified story about what makes an inquiry scientific (or a successful science). Fine's "natural ontological attitude" (NOA) is "postmodern" in joining trust in local scientific practice with suspicion toward any global interpretation of science to legitimate or undercut that trust. I consider four readings of this combination of trust and suspicion and their consequences for the autonomy and cultural credibility of the sciences. Three readings take respectively Fine's trusting attitude, his emphasis upon local practice, and his antiessentialism about science as most fundamental to NOA. A fourth, more adequate reading, prompted by recent feminist interpretations of science, offers less restrictive readings of both Fine's trust and his suspicion toward approaching science with "ready-made philosophical engines" (Fine 1986b, 177)
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