Tacit aspects of experimental practices: analytical tools and epistemological consequences [Book Review]
David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
Learn more about PhilPapers
European Journal for Philosophy of Science 1 (3):393-433 (2011)
In recent decades many sociologists and philosophers of science, especially the so-called ‘new experimentalists’, have stressed the need for detailed studies of real, ongoing experimental practices, and have claimed that a new image of science results from such an approach. Among the new objects of interest that have emerged from laboratory studies, an important one is the tacit dimension of scientific practices. Harry Collins, in particular, has insisted that irreducibly tacit presuppositions and skills are inevitably involved in experimental practices, and that these tacit resources play an essential role in the stabilization of successful scientific achievements. What I will call the ‘opacity of experimental practices’ has been analyzed in different ways, but on the whole, it has been claimed to have harmful epistemological consequences with respect to crucial issues such as the nature of experimental facts, scientific realism, scientific rationality, and the contingency of what acquires the status of an established scientific result in practitioners’ eyes. Such claims remain highly controversial. The aim of this paper is to discuss the epistemological implications of the involvement of tacit resources in experimental practices and to provide helpful conceptual tools with respect to the issue of tacit resources in science. Specifically, the paper provides an analytical clarification of the relation between the opacity of experimental practices and the principle of experimenters substitutability, the latter being a principle commonly viewed as a necessary feature of any good science. Serious doubts are finally raised about the validity of the experimenters substitutability principle, and the impact of these doubts with respect to the contingency of scientific facts and results is considered
|Keywords||Tacit knowledge Experimenters substitutability Harry Collins Contingentism Inevitabilism|
|Categories||categorize this paper)|
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
Thomas S. Kuhn (1996/2012). The Structure of Scientific Revolutions. University of Chicago Press.
Ian Hacking (1999). The Social Construction of What? Harvard University Press.
Michael Polanyi (1958). Personal Knowledge. Chicago, University of Chicago Press.
H. M. Collins (1985/1992). Changing Order: Replication and Induction in Scientific Practice. University of Chicago Press.
Citations of this work BETA
Susann Wagenknecht (2014). Opaque and Translucent Epistemic Dependence in Collaborative Scientific Practice. Episteme 11 (4):475-492.
Similar books and articles
Amy McLaughlin (2011). In Pursuit of Resistance: Pragmatic Recommendations for Doing Science Within One's Means. [REVIEW] European Journal for Philosophy of Science 1 (3):353-371.
Isabelle Peschard (2011). Making Sense of Modeling: Beyond Representation. [REVIEW] European Journal for Philosophy of Science 1 (3):335-352.
Tarja Knuuttila & Mieke Boon (2011). How Do Models Give Us Knowledge? The Case of Carnot's Ideal Heat Engine. European Journal for Philosophy of Science 1 (3):309-334.
Roman Frigg & Ioannis Votsis (2011). Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Structural Realism but Were Afraid to Ask. European Journal for Philosophy of Science 1 (2):227-276.
Jon Williamson (2011). Generic Versus Single-Case Causality: The Case of Autopsy. [REVIEW] European Journal for Philosophy of Science 1 (1):47-69.
Charlotte Werndl (2011). On the Observational Equivalence of Continuous-Time Deterministic and Indeterministic Descriptions. European Journal for Philosophy of Science 1 (2):193-225.
Sebastian Lutz (2012). Artificial Language Philosophy of Science. European Journal for Philosophy of Science (Browse Results) 2 (2):181–203.
Rachel Ankeny, Hasok Chang, Marcel Boumans & Mieke Boon (2011). Introduction: Philosophy of Science in Practice. [REVIEW] European Journal for Philosophy of Science 1 (3):303-307.
Elias Okon & Craig Callender, Does Quantum Mechanics Clash with the Equivalence Principle – and Does It Matter?
James Justus (2012). Carnap on Concept Determination: Methodology for Philosophy of Science. [REVIEW] European Journal for Philosophy of Science 2 (2):161-179.
Scott Davison (2011). Nicholas Wolterstorff: Practices of Belief: Selected Essays, Volume 2 (Terence Cuneo, Ed.). [REVIEW] International Journal for Philosophy of Religion 70 (3):255-258.
Mohamed Rady, Joseph Verheijde & Muna Ali (2009). Islam and End-of-Life Practices in Organ Donation for Transplantation: New Questions and Serious Sociocultural Consequences. [REVIEW] HEC Forum 21 (2):175-205.
William Bechtel (2012). Understanding Endogenously Active Mechanisms: A Scientific and Philosophical Challenge. [REVIEW] European Journal for Philosophy of Science 2 (2):233-248.
Joshua Knobe, Tania Lombrozo & Edouard Machery (2010). Editorial: Dimensions of Experimental Philosophy. Review of Philosophy and Psychology 1 (3):315-318.
Added to index2011-10-04
Total downloads13 ( #189,873 of 1,725,575 )
Recent downloads (6 months)1 ( #349,436 of 1,725,575 )
How can I increase my downloads?