Evolutionary Epistemology and the Aim of Science

Australasian Journal of Philosophy 88 (2):209-225 (2010)
Both Popper and van Fraassen have used evolutionary analogies to defend their views on the aim of science, although these are diametrically opposed. By employing Price's equation in an illustrative capacity, this paper considers which view is better supported. It shows that even if our observations and experimental results are reliable, an evolutionary analogy fails to demonstrate why conjecture and refutation should result in: (1) the isolation of true theories; (2) successive generations of theories of increasing truth-likeness; (3) empirically adequate theories; or (4) successive generations of theories of increasing proximity to empirical adequacy. Furthermore, it illustrates that appeals to induction do not appear to help. It concludes that an evolutionary analogy is only sufficient to defend the notion that the aim of science is to isolate a particular class of false theories, namely those that are empirically inadequate
Keywords Evolutionary Epistemolgy  Popper  Van Fraassen  Aim of Science  Scientific Realism  Constructive Empiricism
Categories (categorize this paper)
DOI 10.1080/00048400903367866
 Save to my reading list
Follow the author(s)
My bibliography
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Revision history Request removal from index
Download options
PhilPapers Archive

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy on self-archival     Papers currently archived: 16,667
External links
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

View all 37 references / Add more references

Citations of this work BETA
Darrell P. Rowbottom (2010). What Scientific Progress Is Not: Against Bird's Epistemic View. International Studies in the Philosophy of Science 24 (3):241-255.
Moti Mizrahi (2014). Constructive Empiricism: Normative or Descriptive? International Journal of Philosophical Studies 22 (4):604-616.

View all 6 citations / Add more citations

Similar books and articles

Monthly downloads

Added to index


Total downloads

171 ( #11,744 of 1,726,249 )

Recent downloads (6 months)

29 ( #34,070 of 1,726,249 )

How can I increase my downloads?

My notes
Sign in to use this feature

Start a new thread
There  are no threads in this forum
Nothing in this forum yet.