Habitat fragmentation produces isolated patches characterized by increased edge effects from an originally continuous habitat. The shapes of these patches often show a high degree of irregularity: their shapes deviate significantly from regular geometrical shapes such as rectangular and elliptical ones. In fractal theory, the geometry of patches created by a common landscape transformation process should be statistically similar, i.e. their fractal dimensions and their form factors should be equal. In this paper, we analyze 49 woodlot fragments (Pinus sylvestris L.) (...) in the Belgian Kempen region to study the direct relationship between a transformation process and the concomitant patch geometry. Although the fractal dimension of the woodlots is scattered (i.e. they are not statistically similar), the perimeter-area relation of the fragments is characterized by a single, ‘dimension-like’ exponent. This exponent suggests a certain shape homogeneity among the patches, which is confirmed by the absence of hierarchical levels associated with sharp increases of the fractal dimension at scale transitions. The interaction of different natural (soil factor, vegetation type) and anthropogenic (afforestation, urbanization) processes during patch development is assumed to have generated this feature. Comparison of the area and perimeter fractal dimension with an ecological index for habitat quality, the interior-to-edge ratio, shows that the fractal dimension is suitable for predicting interior habitat presence, which is more likely for patches with smooth perimeters and compact areas. The ratio of the area to the perimeter fractal dimension confirms this observation, with high values for high interior-to-edge ratios, characteristic for regularly shaped patches. (shrink)
Isolated habitats can be compared and ranked by comparing their interior-to-edge ratio (I/E). We would like to show here that results based on ranking by I/E ratio sometimes contradict Diamond's rule, which ranks the most rounded habitat (i.e. most compact) as the best one. The reason for this contradiction is the frequently overlooked size dependence of the I/E. Being the interior-to-edge ratio size dependent, from a given set of habitats of different sizes, compact shaped (rounded) habitats might have worse I/E (...) ratios than elongated or irregular ones. (shrink)
It is generally believed, that when the surface/volume ratio is high, fractal structure is expected to exist. The branched fractal structure of the lung has been cited as a classical example of this statement. In this short paper I would like to demonstrate that an alternative lung structure (namely sponge-like fractal) is at least as good as, or even better than the branched one, concerning this ratio, therefore, the cause of the lung''s fractality lies elsewhere.
In landscape ecology spatial descriptors (or indices) can be used to characterize habitats. Some of these descriptors can be used for habitat's ranking; this ranking is very important for conservation purposes. We would like to show that two traditional descriptors, namely the compactness and interior-to-edge ratio can give contradictory results. Being the second one is a more relevant descriptor, we would like to propose to avoid the further use the compactness in habitat's ranking.
Different summarized shape indices, like mean shape index (MSI) and area weighted mean shape index (AWMSI) can change over multiple size scales. This variation is important to describe scale heterogeneity of landscapes, but the exact mathematical form of the dependence is rarely known. In this paper, the use of fractal geometry (by the perimeter and area Hausdorff dimensions) made us able to describe the scale dependence of these indices. Moreover, we showed how fractal dimensions can be deducted from existing MSI (...) and AWMSI data. In this way, the equality of a multiscale tabulated MSI and AWMSI dataset and two scale-invariant fractal dimensions has been demonstrated. (shrink)
The history of science is that of older theories being challenged and eventually being superseded by newer theories. The rationality of this process of scientific theory change is a central issue in contemporary philosophy of science. This paper aims to elucidate this topic by examining an episode in the history of medical science, namely the change from Galen's theory of the movement of the heart and blood to Harvey’s theory of the circulation of the blood. In Part I the historical (...) details include Galen's theory, the generation of Harvey's theory, Harvey's arguments for his theory, the reception of and arguments against Harvey’s theory, and the fate of Galen's theory. In Part II to elucidate the topic, the change from Galen's theory to Harvey's theory is assumed to be rational, and the ideas of Imre Lakatos and Thomas Kuhn are examined in turn to see if they can account for this rationality. It is argued that they cannot. In Part III a different conception, which does account for the rationality of this scientific theory change, is presented. One noteworthy consequence of this conception is that it provides an argument against the context of discovery/context of justification distinction as an adequate basis for understanding the rational process of scientific theory change. (shrink)
“Deus fons veritatis”: the Subject and its Freedom. The Ontic Foundation of Mathematical Truth is the title of Gaspare Polizzi’s long biographical-theoretical interview with Imre Toth. The interview is divided into eight parts. The first part describes the historical and cultural context in which Toth was formed. A Jew by birth, during the Second World War Toth became a communist and a partisan, enduring prison, torture, and internment in a concentration camp from 1940 until 6 June 1944. In the (...) second part Toth presents his mathematical training as a “vocation” that led him to rethink the whole tradition of mathematical thought critically, on the basis of non-Euclidean geometry. In the third part Toth describes his research in the history of mathematics, which begin with his studies on Aristotle and mathematical thought and on Plato and the negative ontology of the irrational recognizable in the theory of the infinite dyad and of the One. In the fourth part Toth criticizes the positions of Frege, who came to deny non-Euclidean geometry, viewing it as an expression of irrationality and mysticism. In the fifth part Toth maintains that mathesis and poiesis have similar ontological structures, and he speaks of his collages métaphysiques. In the sixth part Toth recalls how the birth of the idea of freedom made possible the highest political, social and artistic achievements, as well as the entire movement of human emancipation. And this was thanks to philosophy, which is not a science but a knowledge of the subject on the subject’s part. In the seventh and eighth parts Toth speaks of the value and the role of mathematics in the affirmation of the phenomenology of freedom, and remarks on his relations with French and Italian cultures. (shrink)
Thirty years after the publication of Thomas Kuhn’s The Structure of Scientific Revolutions, sharp disagreement persists concerning the implications of Kuhn’s "historicist" challenge to empiricism. I discuss the historicist movement over the past thirty years, and the extent to which the discourse between two branches of the historical school has been influenced by tacit assumptions shared with Rudolf Carnap’s empiricism. I begin with an examination of Carnap’s logicism --his logic of science-- and his 1960 correspondence with Kuhn. I focus on (...) problems in the analysis applied to the unit of metascientific study or appraisal, arguing for a reassessment of historicist treatment of the internal/external distinction and historiographic meta-methodology. The critique of objectivism and relativism that eventuates from this re-assessment is a double-edged blade, undercutting both objectivist and relativist treatments of cognitive evaluation and scientific change. I use it to cut across an otherwise diverse group of historicist-influenced writers, including Imre Lakatos, Larry Laudan, H. M. Collins, Stephen Stich. I. Introduction.. (shrink)
Knowledge of residual perturbations in Uranus's orbit led to Neptune's discovery in 1846 rather than the refutation of Newton's law of gravitation. Karl Popper asserts that this case is untypical of science and that the law was at least prima facie falsified. I argue that these assertions are the product of a false, a priori methodological position, 'Weak Popperian Falsificationism' (WPF), and that on the evidence the law was not, and was not considered, prima facie false. Many of Popper's commentators (...) presuppose WPF and their views on this case and its implications for scientific rationality and method are similarly unwarranted or defective. (shrink)
The thirty year long friendship between Imre Lakatos and the classic scholar and historian of mathematics Árpád Szabó had a considerable influence on the ideas, scholarly career and personal life of both scholars. After recalling some relevant facts from their lives, this paper will investigate Szabó's works about the history of pre-Euclidean mathematics and its philosophy. We can find many similarities with Lakatos' philosophy of mathematics and science, both in the self-interpretation of early axiomatic Greek mathematics as Szabó reconstructs (...) it, and in the general overview Szabó provides us about the turn from the intuitive methods of Greek mathematicians to the strict axiomatic method of Euclid's Elements. As a conclusion, I will argue that the correct explanation of these similarities is that in their main works they developed ideas they had in common from the period of intimate intellectual contact in Hungarian academic life in the mid-twentieth century. In closing, I will recall some relevant features of this background that deserve further research. (shrink)
The circumstance that the text of Imre Lakatos' doctoral thesis from the University of Debrecen did not survive makes the evaluation of his career in Hungary and the research of aspects of continuity of his lifework difficult. My paper tries to reconstruct these newer aspects of continuity, introducing the influence of László Kalmár the mathematician and his fellow student, and Sándor Karácsony the philosopher and his mentor on Lakatos' work. The connection between the understanding of the empirical basis of (...) exact ideas—which is a common feature in the papers of the members of the Karácsony-circle—and Lakatos' way of thinking regarding mathematics is more direct and can be documented through his connection to Kalmár. The central element of Lakatos' philosophy of mathematics is criticism of formalism and his tendency is to use the empirical view. Discussions at the 1965 International Colloquium in the Philosophy of Science in London were very helpful in clarifying the quasi-empirical conception. Kalmár's lecture in London, based on one of his papers published by Karácsony in 1942, emphasized the empirical character of mathematics. After this colloquium some elements of the heritage of the Karácsony-circle were integrated again in the development of Lakatos' way of thinking. First I will analyze the Kalmár lecture of 1965 at the Colloquium of Philosophy of Science and Lakatos's reflections on the problem of the foundation of mathematics. Then I will present their common Hungarian background, their education and the beginning of their career, which have many important common features; third I draw attention to the network of contacts of Karácsony-disciples. (shrink)
El artículo pretende analizar la metodología de los programas de investigación de Imre Lakatos a la luz de la ciencia contemporánea. Tomando como base las encuestas realizadas a un grupo de físicos del CERN, se constata que las sugerencias de Lakatos sobre el progreso en la ciencia, esto es, sobre cómo determinar el carácter progresivo o no de un programa de investigación, entran en colisión con la práctica cientí? ca. La conclusión es que el modelo lakatosiano no es un (...) marco adecuado para entender qué factores informan de facto el juicio de los investigadores sobre la progresividad de un programa de investigación. (shrink)
La memética es una disciplina joven que se inscribe en el campo de las teorías de la evolución cultural y que busca extrapolar hipótesis darwinianas de selección natural al campo de las ideas, proponiendo la existencia de replicadores culturales llamados memes. En el presente artículo se hace una revisión histórica de dicha disciplina, se examina la contribución que puede ofrecer a las teorías del cambio científico de Thomas Kuhn, Imre Lakatos y Edgar Morin y se hace una evaluación de (...) la memética desde una perspectiva epistemológica basada en categorías ofrecidas por Karl Popper, Mario Bunge e Imre Lakatos, presentándola de esta manera, en un proceso recursivo, como elemento explicativo e interpretativo a la vez que como objeto de estudio y análisis. Science in light of memes. Memes in light of scienceMemetics is a young discipline that is inserted in the field of theories of cultural evolution and seeks to extrapolate Darwinian hypotheses of natural selection to the field of ideas by proposing the existence of cultural replicators called memes. In this article, we present a historical overview of the discipline, examining the contribution it can offer to theories of scientific change by Thomas Kuhn, Imre Lakatos, and Edgar Morin. Lastly, we provide an assessment of memetics from an epistemological perspective based on categories suggested by Karl Popper, Mario Bunge and Imre Lakatos, thereby presenting that discipline in a recursive process as an explanatory and interpretative element, while at the same time as an object of study and analysis. (shrink)
Chocolate and Chess (Unlocking Lakatos) tells the fascinating story of Imre Lakatos’ life in Hungary before his flight to England following the failed 1956 Hungarian Revolution. The book focuses on Lakatos’ role as a political functionary under Hungarian Stalinism, and compiles what is known of Lakatos’ role in the induced suicide of a young woman, Éva Iszák, at the end of World War II. This historical and biographical study provides essential background for appreciating Lakatos’ cross-cultural role as a philosopher (...) in England and Hungary, through the Anglo-American philosophy and the Hegelian-Marxist traditions in which he was trained and did not leave behind. (shrink)
Summary For Imre Lakatos hismethodology of scientific research programmes was not only a philosophical theory of science and scientific change but also the conceptual foundation of empirical and historical studies of science. At least terminologically this view is today widely accepted: The concept of aresearch programme is used in all sorts of literature on science. In the present paper I argue that this concept can lead to serious distortions of empirical and historical studies of science if it is not (...) detached from the Lakatosian philosophical framework. Themethodology of scientific research programmes has three main pitfalls, which may lead to disorientations of empirical and historical studies of science: (1) Contrary to what the term research programme may suggest, it offers no perspective on scientific research as an object of analysissui generis; (2) its concept of science is too narrow and covers only minor parts of what counts as science in the real world; (3) it reduces history of science to a mere sequence of research programmes and thereby eliminates the fact that there is an evolution of the structure of research programmes, too. (shrink)
Research Programme and Development of Science. For Imre Lakatos his methodology of scientific research programmes was not only a philosophical theory of science and scientific change but also the conceptual foundation of empirical and historical studies of science. At least terminologically this view is today widely accepted: The concept of a research programme is used in all sorts of literature on science. In the present paper I argue that this concept can lead to serious distortions of empirical and historical (...) studies of science if it is not detached from the Lakatosian philosophical framework. The methodology of scientific research programmes has three main pitfalls, which may lead to disorientations of empirical and historical studies of science: (1) Contrary to what the term "research programme" may suggest, it offers no perspective on scientific research as an object of analysis sui generis; (2) its concept of science is too narrow and covers only minor parts of what counts as science in the real world; (3) it reduces history of science to a mere sequence of research programmes and thereby eliminates the fact that there is an evolution of the structure of research programmes, too. (shrink)
Proofs and Refutations is essential reading for all those interested in the methodology, the philosophy and the history of mathematics. Much of the book takes the form of a discussion between a teacher and his students. They propose various solutions to some mathematical problems and investigate the strengths and weaknesses of these solutions. Their discussion (which mirrors certain real developments in the history of mathematics) raises some philosophical problems and some problems about the nature of mathematical discovery or creativity. (...) class='Hi'>Imre Lakatos is concerned throughout to combat the classical picture of mathematical development as a steady accumulation of established truths. He shows that mathematics grows instead through a richer, more dramatic process of the successive improvement of creative hypotheses by attempts to 'prove' them and by criticism of these attempts: the logic of proofs and refutations. (shrink)
The work that helped to determine Paul Feyerabend's fame and notoriety, Against Method,stemmed from Imre Lakatos's challenge: "In 1970 Imre cornered me at a party. 'Paul,' he said, 'you have such strange ideas.
Imre Lakatos' philosophical and scientific papers are published here in two volumes. Volume I brings together his very influential but scattered papers on the philosophy of the physical sciences, and includes one important unpublished essay on the effect of Newton's scientific achievement. Volume II presents his work on the philosophy of mathematics (much of it unpublished), together with some critical essays on contemporary philosophers of science and some famous polemical writings on political and educational issues. Imre Lakatos had (...) an influence out of all proportion to the length of his philosophical career. This collection exhibits and confirms the originality, range and the essential unity of his work. It demonstrates too the force and spirit he brought to every issue with which he engaged, from his most abstract mathematical work to his passionate 'Letter to the director of the LSE'. Lakatos' ideas are now the focus of widespread and increasing interest, and these volumes should make possible for the first time their study as a whole and their proper assessment. (shrink)
Actual AI research began auspiciously around 1955 with Allen Newell and Herbert Simon's work at the RAND Corporation. Newell and Simon proved that computers could do more than calculate. They demonstrated that computers were physical symbol systems whose symbols could be made to stand for anything, including features of the real world, and whose programs could be used as rules for relating these features. In this way computers could be used to simulate certain important aspects intelligence. Thus the information-processing model (...) of the mind was born. But, looking back over these fifty years, it seems that theoretical AI with its promise of a robot like HAL appears to be a perfect example of what Imre Lakatos has called a "degenerating research program". (shrink)
How does science work? Does it tell us what the world is "really" like? What makes it different from other ways of understanding the universe? In Theory and Reality , Peter Godfrey-Smith addresses these questions by taking the reader on a grand tour of one hundred years of debate about science. The result is a completely accessible introduction to the main themes of the philosophy of science. Intended for undergraduates and general readers with no prior background in philosophy, Theory and (...) Reality covers logical positivism the problems of induction and confirmation Karl Popper's theory of science Thomas Kuhn and "scientific revolutions" the views of Imre Lakatos, Larry Laudan, and Paul Feyerabend and challenges to the field from sociology of science, feminism, and science studies. The book then looks in more detail at some specific problems and theories, including scientific realism, the theory-ladeness of observation, scientific explanation, and Bayesianism. Finally, Godfrey-Smith defends a form of philosophical naturalism as the best way to solve the main problems in the field. Throughout the text he points out connections between philosophical debates and wider discussions about science in recent decades, such as the infamous "science wars." Examples and asides engage the beginning student a glossary of terms explains key concepts and suggestions for further reading are included at the end of each chapter. However, this is a textbook that doesn't feel like a textbook because it captures the historical drama of changes in how science has been conceived over the last one hundred years. Like no other text in this field, Theory and Reality combines a survey of recent history of the philosophy of science with current key debates in language that any beginning scholar or critical reader can follow. (shrink)
This paper presents a reconstruction of and some constructive comments on Thomas Pogge’s conception of global justice. Using Imre Lakatos’s notion of a research program, the paper identifies Pogge’s “hard core” and “protective belt” claims regarding the scope of fundamental principles of justice, the object and structure of duties of global justice, the explanation of world poverty, and the appropriate reforms to the existing global order. The paper recommends some amendments to Pogge’s program in each of the four areas.
What is the nature of scientific progress, and what makes it possible? When we look back at the scientific theories of the past and compare them to the state of science today, there seems little doubt that we have made progress. But how have we made this progress? Is it a continuous process, which gradually incorporates past successes into present theories, or are entrenched theories overthrown by superior competitors in a revolutionary manner? Theories of Scientific Progress presents the arguments for (...) and against both these extremes, and the positions in between. It covers the interpretations of scientific progress from William Whewell through Karl Popper and Imre Lakatos to Thomas Kuhn and beyond, to the latest contemporary debates. Along the way John Losee introduces and discusses questions about evidential support and the comparison of theories; whether scientific progress aims at truth or merely problem-solving effectiveness; what mechanisms underlie either process; and whether there are necessary or sufficient conditions for scientific progress. He ends with a look at the analogy between the growth of science and the operation of natural selection in the organic world, and the current ideas of evolutionary theorists such as Stephen Toulmin and Michael Ruse. (shrink)
Popper's account of refutation is the linchpin of his famous view that the method of science is the method of conjecture and refutation. This thesis critically examines his account of refutation, and in particular the practice he deprecates as avoiding a refutation. I try to explain how he comes to hold the views that he does about these matters; how he seeks to make them plausible; how he has influenced others to accept his mistakes, and how some of the ideas (...) or responses to Popper of such people are thus similarly mistaken. I draw some distinctions necessary to the provision of an adequate account of the so-called practice of avoiding a refutation, and try to rid the debate about this practice of at least one red herring. I analyse one case of 'avoiding' a refutation in detail to show how the rationality of scientific practice eludes both Popper and many of his commentators. Popper's skepticism about contingent knowledge prevents him from providing an acceptable account of contingent refutation, and so his method is really the method of conjecture and conjecture. He cannot do without the concepts of knowledge and refutation, however, if his account of science is to be plausible or persuasive, and so he equivocates between, amongst other things, refutation as disproof and refutation as the weaker notion of discorroboration. I criticise David Stove's account of this matter, in particular to show how he misses this point. An additional advantage Popper would secure from this equivocation is that if refutations were mere discorroborations they would be easier to achieve, and hence more common in science, than is the case. On Popper's weak notion of refutation, it would be possible to refute true theories since corroboration does not entail truth. There are two other related doctrines Popper holds about refutation which, if accepted, make some refutations seem easier to obtain than is the case. I call these doctrines 'Strong Popperian Falsificationism' (SPF) and 'Weak Popperian Falsificationism' (WPF). SPF is the false doctrine that if a prediction from some theory is refuted then that theory is refuted. Popper does not always endorse SPF. In particular, when confronted with a counterexample to it, he retreats to WPF, which is the false doctrine that if a prediction from some theory is refuted then that theory is prima facie refuted. WPF , or even SPF, can seem plausible if one has in mind predictions derived from theories in strong or conclusive tests of those theories, which I suggest Popper characteristically does. v Popper is disposed to describe any such case of predictive failure which does not lead to the refutation of the theory concerned as one in which that refutation has been avoided. To reinforce his portrayal of the refutation, or the attempted refutation, of major scientific theories as the rational core of scientific practice, Popper treats the so-called practice of avoiding a refutation as untypical of science, and much so-called avoidance he dismisses as unscientific or pseudo-scientific. I argue that his notion of avoiding a refutation is incoherent. Popper is further driven to believe that such avoidance is possible, however, because he conflates sentences with propositions and propositions with propositional beliefs. Also, he wishes to avoid being saddled with the relativisim that is a consequence of his weak account of refutation as discorroboration. Popper believes that ad hoc hypotheses are the most important of the unscientific means of avoiding a refutation. I argue that his account of such hypotheses is also incoherent, and that several hypotheses thought to be ad hoc in his sense are not. Such hypotheses appear to be so largely because of Popper's use of rhetoric and partly because these hypotheses are unacceptable for other reasons. I conclude that to know that a hypothesis is ad hoc in Popper's sense does not illuminate scientific practice. Popper has also attempted to explicate ad hocness in terms of some undesirable, or allegedly undesirable, properties of hypotheses or the explanations they would provide. The first such property is circularity, which is undesirable; the second such property is reduction in empirical content, which is not. In the former case I argue that non-circularity is clearly preferable to non-ad hocness as a criterion for a satisfactory explanation or explanans, as the case may be, and in the latter case that Popper is barking up the wrong tree. Some cases of so-called avoidance are obviously not unscientific. The discovery of Neptune from a prediction based on the reasonable belief that there were residual perturbations in the motion of Uranus is an important case in point, and one that is much discussed in the literature. The manifest failure of astronomers to account for Uranus's motion did not lead to the refutation of Newton's law of gravitiation, yet significant scientific progress obviously did result. Retreating to WPF, Popper claims that Newton's law was prima facie refuted. In general, astronomers have never shared this view, and they are correct in not doing so. I argue that the law of gravitation would have been prima facie refuted only if there had been good reason at the time to believe as false what is true, namely, that an unknown trans-Uranian planet was the cause of those Uranian residuals. Knowledge of the trans-Uranian region was then so slight that it was merely a convenient assumption, one which there was little reason to believe was false, that the known influences on Uranus's motion were the only such influences. I conclude that in believing vi or supposing that it was this assumption that was false, rather than the law of gravitation, Leverrier and Adams, the co-predictors of Neptune, were acting rationally and intelligently. Popper's commentators offer a variety of accounts of the alleged practice of avoiding a refutation, and of this case in particular. I analyse a sample of their accounts to show how common is the acceptance of some of Popper's basic mistakes, even amongst those who claim to reject his falsificationism, and to display the effects on their accounts of this acceptance of his mistakes. Many commentators recognize that anomalies are typically dealt with by changes in the boundary conditions or in other of the auxiliary propositions employed. Where many still go wrong, however, is in retaining the presupposition of WPF which encouraged Popper to hold the contradictory view about anomalies in the first place. Thus Imre Lakatos and others, for example, have developed a 'siege mentality' about major scientific theories; they see them as under continual threat of refutation from anomalies, and so come to believe that dogmatism is essential in science if such theories are to survive as they do. I examine various such doomed attempts to reconcile Popper with the history of science. It is a common failure in this literature to conflate or to fail to see the need to distinguish a belief from a supposition, and an epistemic reason from a pragmatic reason. I argue that only if one does draw these distinctions can one give an adequate account of how anomalies are rationally dealt with in science. The other important strand in Popper's thinking about 'avoidance' of refutation which has seriously misled some of his commentators is his unfounded belief in the dangers of ad hoc hypotheses. I examine the accounts that a sample of such commentators provide of the trans-Uranian planet hypotheses of Leverrier and Adams. These commentators imply or assert what Popper only hints at, namely, that there is something fishy about this hypothesis. I provide a further defence of the rationality of entertaining this hypothesis at the time. I conclude with a few remarks about Popper's dilemma in respect of scientific practice and his long standing emphasis on refutations. (shrink)
Sometimes themes can be found in common across very different systems in which change occurs. Imre Lakatos developed a theory of change in science, and one involving entities visible at different levels. There are theories defended at a particular time, and there are also research programs, larger units that bundle together a sequence of related theories and within which many scientists may work. Research programs are competing higher-level units within a scientific field. Scientific change involves change within research programs, (...) and change in the ensemble of research programs present at a time, where some will be growing, some shrinking, some progressing, some degenerating. These are also themes in biological evolution. Recent biology has often found itself dealing with the relation between change at a level of "collectives" – such as organisms like us – and change at a lower level – the level of cells, genes, and other evolving parts. This work is continuous with an older discussion, one that arose when biological evolution was no more than a vague speculation, round the beginning of the 19th century. What is the living individual? What is the basic unit of life or living organization? Questions like this were pursued by Goethe, by Erasmus Darwin, the grandfather of Charles, and many others. Initially it was plants, especially, that were seen to raise these problems, and then newly described marine animals with strange life cycles. The discussion was influenced by the rise of the cell theory in the early 19th century, but some writers looked for individuals well below the level of the cell. (shrink)
Here is a dilemma concerning the history of science. Can the history of scientific thought be reduced to the history of the beliefs, motives and actions of scientists? Or should we think of the history of scientific thought as in some sense independent from the history of scientists? The aim of this paper is to carve out an intermediate position between these two. I will argue that the history of scientific thought supervenes on, but not reducible to, the history of (...) scientists. There is a legitimate level of description for analyzing the history of scientific thought that does not reduce to the individual level of scientists. Yet, every aspect of the history of scientific thought is determined by the actual motives and actions of individual scientists. Maybe surprisingly, I use Imre Lakatos’s controversial concept of the rational reconstruction of the history of science in order to argue for this intermediate position. (shrink)
Debates in the philosophy of science typically take place around issues such as realism and theory change. Recently, the debate has been reformulated to bring in the role of experiments in the context of theory change. As regards realism, Ian Hacking’s contribution has been to introduce ‘intervention’ as the basis of realism. He also proposed, following Imre Lakatos, to replace the issue of truth with progress and rationality. In this context we examine the case of the vitalism — reductionism (...) debate in biology inspired by the works of Indian physicist-turned-biologist Jagadish Chandra Bose (1858–1937), in the early twentieth century. Both camps had their characteristic hardcores. Vitalists led by John S. Burdon-Sanderson and Augustus D. Waller accepted religious metaphysics to support their research programme, which ultimately degenerated. Bose worked more with the ideals of science such as Occam’s razor, large-scale systematization of phenomena and novel prediction. I argue that his religious metaphysics, instead of acting as a protective shield, helped him to consolidate his position and allowed further problem shift resulting in a research programme that involved consciousness too. His research programme remains relevant even today. (shrink)
The late Imre Lakatos once hoped to found a school of dialectical philosophy of mathematics. The aim of this paper is to ask what that might possibly mean. But Lakatos's philosophy has serious shortcomings. The paper elaborates a conception of dialectical philosophy of mathematics that repairs these defects and considers the work of three philosophers who in some measure fit the description: Yehuda Rav, Mary Leng and David Corfield.
In spite of being a very public intellectual, the philosopher Imre Lakatos (who died in 1974) was little understood. His Hungarian background seemed irrelevant to his career at the London School of Economics as the colleague and then successor to Sir Karl Popper. In Imre Lakatos and The Guises of Reason, John Kadvany demonstrates the overwhelming importance of Lakatos's Hungarian background, and thereby also explains and illuminates Lakatos's philosophy. His study also demonstrates the power of Hegel's thought as (...) the background to any genuinely historical approach to philosophy, even of science and mathematics. He also provides a glimpse of the nightmare world of Stalinist Hungary, as a contribution to an explanation of Lakatos's personal and intellectual style. Kadvany's exposition does much to clarify and explain Lakatos's philosophy, thereby enhancing his reputation and also making his work, much of it still of vital significance, more accessible to a new public. (shrink)
Much ink has been spent on Popper's falsificationism. Why, then, am I writing another paper on this subject? This paper is neither a new kind of criticism nor a new kind of defense of falsificationism. Recent debate about the legitimacy of adaptationism among biologists centers on the question of whether Popper's falsificationism or Lakatos' methodology of scientific research programs (SRP) is adequate in understanding science. S. Jay Gould and Richard C. Lewontin (1978) argue that adaptationism is unfalsifiable since it easily (...) invites ad hoc adjustments when it makes false predictions. William A. Mitchell and Thomas J. Valone (1990) argue that adaptationism is a research program, and that the charge of falsifiability does not apply to a research program. Although both sides make use of the theories of scientific methodology proposed by Karl R. Popper (1934, 1957, 1963, 1971) and Imre Lakatos (1965, 1974, 1978), the differences and the similarities between these philosophers are overlooked. The purpose of the present paper is to explicate the differences and the similarities between the two philosophies of science. (shrink)
Lakatos: An Introduction is the first comprehensive analysis on the intellectual life and theories of the distinguished thinker Imre Lakatos. This book clearly presents Lakatos's development of a philosophy of mathematics and empirical science, Lakatos's thought as an important hybrid of Popperian philosophy and Hegelian-Marxist thought, the relationship between Lakatos's views on science and mathematics and his more general philosophical beliefs. Brendan Larvor clearly locates Lakatos in the liberal-rationalist tradition and explains connections between the philosopher's life, philosophy, politics, and (...) technical work in science and mathematics. (shrink)
Bernard Lavor and John Kadvany argue that Lakatoss Hegelian approach to the philosophy of mathematics and science enabled him to overcome all competing philosophies. His use of the approach Hegel developed in his Phenomenology enabled him to show how mathematics and science develop, how they are open-ended, and that they are not subject to rules, even though their rationality may be understood after the fact. Hegel showed Lakatos how to falsify the past to make progress in the present. A critique (...) based on normal standards of fairness and honesty finds this argument an attack on rationality. The similarity of the methods Lakatos used as a Stalinist politician and those he used as a philosopher are pointed out. The Hegelian interpretation of his philosophy is an excuse for his misdeeds. Key Words: Lakatos Popper Agassi research program historiography. (shrink)
Abstract The paper is an attempt to interpret Imre Lakatos's methodology of scientific research programmes (MSRP) on the basis of his mathematical methodology, the method of proofs and refutations (MPR). After sketching MSRP and MPR and analysing their relationship to Popper's and Poly a's work, I argue that MSRP was originally conceived as a methodology in the same sense as MPR. The most conspicuous difference between the two, namely that MSRP is fundamentally backward?looking, whereas MPR is primarily forward?looking, is (...) due to the fact that Lakatos could not carry out his project in the full sense. I also explain why he could not. (shrink)
This paper attempts to present a general picture of the most important philosophical elements found in the Hungarian writings of Imre Lakatos, later the famous philosopher of science in England, with a focus on his views on science and its social context. In the first section, Lakatos' life in Hungary is summarized, with a special emphasis on those few years when most of the Hungarian works were written. The second section offers a list of his Hungarian publications, each item (...) accompanied by a brief description. Then we examine the lost doctoral dissertation and its possible contents as reconstructed from the reports of the readers and the published texts. Finally we identify the main philosophical sources the young Lakatos could have used, and give a summary of his basic views on science. (shrink)
This volume provides analyses of the logic-reality relationship from different approaches and perspectives. The point of convergence lies in the exploration of the connections between reality – social, natural or ideal – and logical structures employed in describing or discovering it. Moreover, the book connects logical theory with more concrete issues of rationality, normativity and understanding, thus pointing to a wide range of potential applications. -/- -/- The papers collected in this volume address cutting-edge topics in contemporary discussions amongst specialists. (...) Some essays focus on the role of indispensability considerations in the justification of logical competence, and the wide range of challenges within the philosophy of mathematics. Others present advances in dynamic logical analysis such as extension of game semantics to non-logical part of vocabulary and development of models of contractive speech act. -/- Table of Contents: Introduction: Majda Trobok, Nenad Miščević and Berislav Žarnić.- I. Logical and Mathematical Structures.- Life on the Ship of Neurath: Mathematics in the Philosophy of Mathematics: Stewart Shapiro.- Applied Mathemathics in the Sciences: Dale Jacquette.- The Philosophical Impact of the Löwenheim-Skolem Theorem: Miloš Arsenijević.- Debating (Neo)logicism: Frege and the neo-Fregeans: Majda Trobok.- II. Epistemology and Logic.- Informal Logic and Informal Consequence: Danilo Šuster.- Logical Consequence and Rationality: Nenad Smokrović.- Logic, Indispensability and Aposteriority: Nenad Miščević.- III . Dynamic Logical Models of Meaning.- Extended Game-Theoretical Semantics: Manuel Rebuschi.- Dynamic Logic of Propositional Commitments: Tomoyuki Yamada.- Is Unsaying Polite?: Berislav Žarnić.- IV Logical Methods in Ontological and Linguistic Analyses.- Towards a Formal Account of Identity Criteria: Massimiliano Carrara and Silvia Gaio.- A Mereology for the Change of Parts: Pierdaniele Giaretta and Giuseppe Spolaore.- Russell versus Frege: Imre Rusza.- Goodman’s OnlyWorld: Vladan Djordjević.-. (shrink)
A standard problem in empirical inquiry is how to adjudicate between contending theories when they work from different fundamental assumptions. In the field of political sociology, several strategies are adopted, from metatheoretical and comparative historical approaches to the recent formal models of scientific growth proposed by Imre Lakatos and Larry Laudan. After considering the limitations of these approaches, I develop an alternative strategy"secondorder empiricism"based on the idea that successor theories have an onus to explain the apparent success of their (...) rivals, not only their own and their rivals' anomalies. Such a strategy, I argue, underscores some of the most effective analysis and argument in political sociology, yet is obscured by the appeal to other methodologies. (shrink)
A brief correction to a review of my book Imre Lakatos and the Guises of Reason published in Philosophia Mathematica, regarding the role of George Polya's notion of heuristic in Lakatos' Proofs and Refutations.
Imre Lakatos’ idea that history of science without philosophy of science is blind may still be given a plausible interpretation today, even though his theory of the methodology of scientific research programmes has been rejected. The latter theory captures neither rationality in science nor the sense in which history must be told in a rational fashion. Nonetheless, Lakatos was right in insisting that the discipline of history consists of written rational reconstructions. In this paper, we will examine possible ways (...) to cash out different, philosophically interesting, relationships: between rationality and science, between rationality and philosophy of science and/or epistemology, and, of course, between history and philosophy of science. Our conclusion is that the historian of science may be a philosopher of science as weIl, but if that philosophy of science is essentially a historical and dogmatic, it either cannot be used for history or it will deprive history of some of its most interesting and useful categories. (shrink)
Technical, ethical, and social questions of germ-line gene interventions have been widely discussed in the literature. The majority of these discussions focus on planned interventions executed on the nuclear DNA (nDNA). However, human cells also contain another set of genes that is the mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA). As the characteristics of the mtDNA grossly differ from those of nDNA, so do the social, ethical, psychological, and safety considerations of possible interventions on this part of the genetic substance.
Imre Lakatos' conception of the history of science is explicated with the purpose of replying to criticism leveled against it by Thomas Kuhn, Ian Hacking, and others. Kuhn's primary argument is that the historian's internal—external distinction is methodologically superior to Lakatos' because it is "independent" of an analysis of rationality. That distinction, however, appears to be a normative one, harboring an implicit and unarticulated appeal to rationality, despite Kuhn's claims to the contrary. Lakatos' history, by contrast, is clearly the (...) history of a normatively defined discipline; of science and not scientists and their activities. How such history can be written, the historiographic and critical tools available for its construction, and its importance as history, are considered in detail. In an afterword, the prevalence of Lakatos' treatment of history in philosophical discussion is indicated: A related approach is shown to arise in social contract theory. (shrink)
Bringing together important writings not easily available elsewhere, this volume provides a convenient and stimulating overview of recent work in the philosophy of science. The contributors include Paul Feyerabend, Ian Hacking, T.S. Kuhn, Imre Lakatos, Laurens Laudan, Karl Popper, Hilary Putnam, and Dudley Shapere. In addition, Hacking provides an introductory essay and a selective bibliography.
Imre Lakatos argued that a theory of scientific method must be empirical, and therefore self-applicable; the standards it imposes on scientific theories must be ones it satisfies itself. But in relying on this standard of self-referential consistency to protect his theory from criticism, Lakatos becomcs vulnerable to relativism. He escapes by hypothesizing that scientific changes which are methodologically progressive according to his theory are also progressive epistemically. The question is whethcr his theory of method has the resources to warrant (...) this hypothesis. I construct a line of argument logically open to him, and use its inevitable failure to show that his epistemic aspirations depend on precepts of method that he has wrongly rejected. (shrink)
McCloskey's work on the rhetoric of economics has little to say about Imre Lakatos, and indeed the scientific method prescribed by Lakatos, as it stands, would support McCloskey's claim that philosophers? imperatives bear little relation to what economists actually do. But a Bayesianized version of Lakatos is a different matter, and provides a yardstick against which the various rhetorical devices noted by McCloskey can be measured. We argue that McCloskey's list can be divided into those forms of persuasion which (...) would and would not remain convincing once the reader saw how the persuasion was being worked, and that this distinction corresponds precisely to those forms of persuasion which do and do not represent the ?Bayesianized Lakatos? method. (shrink)
Spiro Latsis (Latsis 1972) applied Imre Lakatos? methodology of scientific research programmes (MSRP) to economics. In that paper he proposed a distinction between ?situational determinism? and alternative theory. His distinction is effective at highlighting the importance of determinism in economics, the drive of economists to create fully deterministic models, at least up to a probability distribution. But he has been rightly criticized for arguing an alternative on grounds incompatible with Lakatos? MSRP. Latsis, at least implicitly, had hoped for the (...) development of the alternative for which he argued. My argument is that Latsis? expectations have not been fulfilled. His alternative scientific research programme (SRP), that of the behaviouralists, has not developed as he expected. However, a different and theoretically progressive SRP has developed, one that includes most if not all of what might have been the behaviouralist SRP. This is the evolutionary SRP (ESRP). This SRP is defined in a manner that neatly sections off current orthodoxy as incompatible with it. The stage is thus set for a contest between SRPs. (shrink)