Traditionally it has been thought that scientific controversies can always be resolved on the basis of empirical data. Recently, however, social constructionists have claimed that the outcome of scientific debates is strongly influenced by non-evidential factors such as the rhetorical prowess and professional clout of the participants. This volume of previously unpublished essays by well-known philosophers of science presents historical studies and philosophical analyses that undermine the plausibility of an extreme social constructionist perspective while also indicating the need for a (...) richer and more realistic account of scientific rationality. (shrink)
Summary The present paper constitutes an elaboration of a previous work by one of us which, among other things, proposed some modifications of Popper's tetradic schema. Here, in the first part, we consider critically and develop further these modifications and elaborate on methods which prove more satisfactory for the mapping of the problem solving processes in Physics. We also find the opportunity to make some comments on Physics and on its relation to Mathematics. In the second part, there is an (...) attempt to test the above ideas on the genesis and development of the Special Relativity Theory. In doing this, we concentrate mainly on Einstein's 1905 paper and try to explicitate its relation with the situation Physics found itself in that period as well as to clarify the epistemological status of Einstein's two postulates. (shrink)
The paper attempts to walk some first steps toward a unified and empirically oriented theory of both the structure and the history of physics. Physics is considered a structured whole made up of three interconstitutive elements (conceptual system, object, experimental procedures). This conceptual system is always already interpreted while it is this interpretation which ties the system to our overall experience thereby making it understood. It is argued that our experience is always ideologically (and thence socially) determined and that this (...) interpretation inevitably harbours the ideological element in the form of scientifically unwarranted ideological "assumptions." The character of such "assumptions" is discussed, some examples are given and some consequences for the history of physics are drawn. (shrink)
Bachelard's concept of the problématique is used in order to classify physical problems and their interrelations. This classification is effectuated along two dimensions. Along the horizontal dimension, physical problems are divided into the kinds that the different modes of physics' development define. These modes are themselves determined by the interplay among the conceptual system, the object and the experimentation transactions specific to physics. Along the vertical dimension, physical problems are classified according to the different stages of maturation they have to (...) undergo before the process of their solution is effectively undertaken. To determine these maturation stages, the Althusserian conception of ideology is used. The interrelations between physical problems are examined through the introduction and elaboration of the notion interdependence network. (shrink)
This public lecture commemorating the 40th anniversary of the Center for the Philosophy of Science at the University of Pittsburgh provides a brief history of philosophical activity in Greece from ancient to modern times. The lecture culminates in an exploration of the Center's fruitful interactions with Greece's contemporary philosophical community.
This paper points out the vagueness and methodological naivete of current anti-normative studies of science. The Tversky-Kahneman paradigm catalogues common 'mistakes' in statistical reasoning, but fails to describe and explain people's embarrassment when these 'mistakes' are pointed out to them. A comprehensive naturalistic account of science should not limit itself to the quick-and-dirty aspects of scientific practice. The semantic view of theories is faulted for failing to account for the processes of prediction and explanation. I also argue against Baltas' (...) examples of ideological assumptions which are purported to be impossible to criticize during certain historical periods. (shrink)