David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
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International Studies in the Philosophy of Science 21 (3):253 – 269 (2007)
In his influential paper, 'Why Was the Logic of Discovery Abandoned?', Laudan contends that there has been no philosophical rationale for a logic of discovery since the emergence of consequentialism in the 19th century. It is the purpose of this paper to show that consequentialism does not involve the rejection of all types of logic of discovery. Laudan goes too far in his interpretation of the historical shift from generativism to consequentialism, and his claim that the context of pursuit belongs to neither discovery nor justification is based on narrow interpretations of the contexts of discovery and justification. As a result, Laudan draws unwarranted conclusions concerning both the early and contemporary defenders of a logic of discovery. A methodological logic of discovery - which involves self-corrective methods of hypothesis generation that promote the long-term goals of science and which require consequential support for justification - is a type of logic of discovery that survives the shift to consequentialism.
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