David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Ezio Di Nucci
Jonathan Jenkins Ichikawa
Jack Alan Reynolds
Learn more about PhilPapers
Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 39 (2):253-258 (2008)
Contingentism is the claim that the history of a particular field of science could have taken a different route from the actual one, and that the resulting imaginary science could have been both as successful as the real one and, in a non-trivial way, incompatible with it. Inevitabilism consists in the denial of this claim. In this paper, I try both to give a clear content to contingentism, especially in the field of physics, and to argue for its plausibility, while acknowledging that it is extremely hard to give an argument that establishes its validity in a compelling way. By contrasting the history of science with that of geographic discoveries and the difficulties faced by any inevitabilist account of the former, I consider three different characterizations of the success of science, truth, adequacy to the phenomena, and robust fit, and analyze their consequences for the meaning and plausibility of contingentism. I retain the third characterization of scientific success and argue that the role played by creativity in scientific activities and the fact that there is a multiplicity of paths that researchers can legitimately follow in order to obtain a robust fit jointly support a qualified version of contingentism.Keywords: Inevitabilism; Contingentism; Success of science; Stability; Historical emergence; Robust fit
|Keywords||No keywords specified (fix it)|
|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
Ian Hacking (1992). The Self-Vindication of the Laboratory Sciences. In Andrew Pickering (ed.), Science as Practice and Culture. University of Chicago Press 29--64.
Ian Hacking (2000). How Inevitable Are the Results of Successful Science? Philosophy of Science 67 (3):71.
Citations of this work BETA
Ian James Kidd (2016). Inevitability, Contingency, and Epistemic Humility. Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 55:12-19.
Katherina Kinzel (2015). State of the Field: Are the Results of Science Contingent or Inevitable? Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 52:55-66.
Ian James Kidd (2013). Historical Contingency and the Impact of Scientific Imperialism. International Studies in the Philosophy of Science 27 (3):317–326.
LÃ©Na Soler (2011). Tacit Aspects of Experimental Practices: Analytical Tools and Epistemological Consequences. [REVIEW] European Journal for Philosophy of Science 1 (3):393-433.
Similar books and articles
Nancy Cartwright (1999). The Limits of Exact Science, From Economics to Physics. Perspectives on Science 7 (3):318-336.
Todd Davies (2005). Radical Contingency in Sharing Behavior and its Consequences. Behavioral and Brain Sciences 28 (6):821-821.
Richard Healey (2013). Physical Composition. Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part B 44 (1):48-62.
William Timberlake (2004). Is the Operant Contingency Enough for a Science of Purposive Behavior? Behavior and Philosophy 32 (1):197 - 229.
Stathis Psillos (2001). Predictive Similarity and the Success of Science: A Reply to Stanford. Philosophy of Science 68 (3):346-355.
Rose-Mary Sargent (1988). Explaining the Success of Science. PSA: Proceedings of the Biennial Meeting of the Philosophy of Science Association 1988:55 - 63.
James T. Cushing (1985). Is There Just One Possible World? Contingency Vs the Bootstrap. Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 16 (1):31-48.
Margaret J. Osler (1994). Divine Will and the Mechanical Philosophy: Gassendi and Descartes on Contingency and Necessity in the Created World. Cambridge University Press.
Frank C. Keil (2010). The Feasibility of Folk Science. Cognitive Science 34 (5):826-862.
Added to index2009-01-28
Total downloads36 ( #121,293 of 2,225,132 )
Recent downloads (6 months)1 ( #458,476 of 2,225,132 )
How can I increase my downloads?