New perspectives on Pierre Duhem’s The aim and structure of physical theory Content Type Journal Article DOI 10.1007/s11016-010-9467-3 Authors Anastasios Brenner, Department of Philosophy, Paul Valéry University-Montpellier III, Route De Mende, 34199 Montpellier cedex 5, France Paul Needham, Department of Philosophy, University of Stockholm, 10691 Stockholm, Sweden David J. Stump, Department of Philosophy, University of San Francisco, 2130 Fulton Street, San Francisco, CA 94117, USA Robert Deltete, Department of Philosophy, Seattle University, 901 12th Avenue, Seattle, WA 98122-1090, USA (...) Journal Metascience Online ISSN 1467-9981 Print ISSN 0815-0796 Journal Volume Volume 20 Journal Issue Volume 20, Number 1. (shrink)
Duhem’s concept of “good sense” is central to his philosophy of science, given that it is what allows scientist to decide between competing theories. Scientists must use good sense and have intellectual and moral virtues in order to be neutral arbiters of scientific theories, especially when choosing between empirically adequate theories. I discuss the parallels in Duhem’s views to those of virtue epistemologists, who understand justified belief as that arrived at by a cognitive agent with intellectual and moral virtues, showing (...) how consideration of Duhem as a virtue epistemologist offers insights into his views, as well as providing possible answers to some puzzles about virtue epistemology. The extent to which Duhem holds that the intellectual and moral virtues of the scientist determine scientific knowledge has not been generally noticed. (shrink)
Recent defenses of a priori knowledge can be applied to the idea of conventions in science in order to indicate one important sense in which conventionalism is correctsome elements of physical theory have a unique epistemological status as a functionally a priori part of our physical theory. I will argue that the former a priori should be treated as empirical in a very abstract sense, but still conventional. Though actually coming closer to the Quinean position than recent defenses of a (...) priori knowledge, the picture of science developed here is very different from that developed in Quinean holism in that categories of knowledge can be differentiated. (shrink)
Poincaré's claim that Euclidean and non-Euclidean geometries are translatable has generally been thought to be based on his introduction of a model to prove the consistency of Lobachevskian geometry and to be equivalent to a claim that Euclidean and non-Euclidean geometries are logically isomorphic axiomatic systems. In contrast to the standard view, I argue that Poincaré's translation thesis has a mathematical, rather than a meta-mathematical basis. The mathematical basis of Poincaré's translation thesis is that the underlying manifolds of Euclidean and (...) Lobachevskian geometries are homeomorphic. Assuming as Poincaré does that metric relations are not factual, it follows that we can rewrite a physical theory using Euclidean geometry as one using Lobachevskian geometry and express the same facts. (shrink)
Is science unified or disunified? This collection brings together contributions from prominent scholars in a variety of scientific disciplines to examine this important theoretical question. They examine whether the sciences are, or ever were, unified by a single theoretical view of nature or a methodological foundation and the implications this has for the relationship between scientific disciplines and between science and society.
Naturalism implies unity of method--an application of the methods of science to the methodology of science itself and to value theory. Epistemological naturalists have tried to find a privileged discipline to be the methodological model of philosophy of science and epistemology. However, since science itself is not unitary, the use of one science as a model amounts to a reduction and distorts the philosophy of science just as badly as traditional philosophy of science distorted science, despite the fact that the (...) central theme of naturalized philosophy of science is that methodology should be true to science as practiced. I argue that naturalized philosophy of science must apply a plurality of methods to epistemological issues. (shrink)
I trace the development of arguments for the consistency of non-Euclidean geometries and for the independence of the parallel postulate, showing how the arguments become more rigorous as a formal conception of geometry is introduced. I analyze the kinds of arguments offered by Jules Hoüel in 1860-1870 for the unprovability of the parallel postulate and for the existence of non-Euclidean geometries, especially his reaction to the publication of Beltrami’s seminal papers, showing that Beltrami was much more concerned with the existence (...) of non-Euclidean objects than he was with the formal consistency of non-Euclidean geometries. The final step towards rigorous consistency proofs is taken in the 1880s by Henri Poincaré. It is the formal conception of geometry, stripping the geometric primitive terms of their usual meanings, that allows the introduction of a modern fully rigorous consistency proof. (shrink)
The main innovation in Questioning Technology is Feenberg?s use of the results of various social constructivist accounts of science and technology to rethink the philosophy of technology. I agree with Feenberg that the social constructivist studies developed by historians and sociologists refute the essentialist account of technology that has been the mainstream position of philosophers of technology. The autonomy of technology seems to be nothing but a myth from the point of view of social construction, since social and political factors (...) always influence decisions made in technology and science. However, there is a tension in Feenberg?s position, in that he seems to want to keep the general analytical framework that the essentialist account of technology makes available, while at the same time rejecting essentialism and, indeed, showing forcefully how it gets in the way of the positive program he develops for democratizing technology. I argue that Feenberg should clarify what kind of social constructive account of technology he will adopt, and that the general categories for understanding technology that Feenberg retains are problematic. I conclude by arguing that a thoroughgoing antiessentialist philosophy of technology can still provide a general analysis of modernity and develop normative claims including those regarding social justice, without relying on general categories. (shrink)
While Ludwik Fleck's Genesis and Development of a Scientific Fact is mainly concerned with social elements in science, a central argument depends on his case study of the development of a serum test for syphilis, the Wasserman Reaction, which Fleck argues was the product of skill and of laboratory practice, not a simple discovery. Ian Hacking interprets the creation of new phenomena in science very differently, arguing that it can seen as an argument for scientific realism. Hacking's argument shows that (...) Fleck's case study does not lead to the conclusion Fleck expects, and may solve one of the main problems in Fleck's work, how to define an objective element of knowledge. (shrink)
Part of the work for this paper was done during the tenure of a fellowship at the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences. I am grateful for financial support provided by the National Science Foundation, Grant #BNS-8011494, and for the assistance of the staff of the Center. I also want to thank David Bloor, Stephen Downes, David Hull and Andy Pickering for offering good advice and criticism, some of which I have heeded.
In May 2010, philosophers, family and friends gathered at the University of Notre Dame to celebrate the career and retirement of Alvin Plantinga, widely recognized as one of the world's leading figures in metaphysics, epistemology, and the philosophy of religion. Plantinga has earned particular respect within the community of Christian philosophers for the pivotal role that he played in the recent renewal and development of philosophy of religion and philosophical theology. Each of the essays in this volume engages with some (...) particular aspect of Plantinga's views on metaphysics, epistemology, or philosophy of religion. Contributors include Michael Bergman, Ernest Sosa, Trenton Merricks, Richard Otte, Peter VanInwagen, Thomas P. Flint, Eleonore Stump, Dean Zimmerman and Nicholas Wolterstorff. The volume also includes responses to each essay by Bas van Fraassen, Stephen Wykstra, David VanderLaan, Robin Collins, Raymond VanArragon, E. J. Coffman, Thomas Crisp, and Donald Smith. (shrink)
David Widerker has forcefully argued that a libertarian is on firm ground in believing that the principle of alternative possibilities (PAP) is true. Eleonore Stump has argued that not all libertarians need accept PAP, and that its acceptance is not required for a rejection of compatibilism.This paper is a defense of Widerker against Stump. I argue that it is not at all clear that Stump’s view of freedom is libertarian in nature, and that she has not (...) provided a good reason for thinking that a libertarian can abandon PAP. (shrink)
In the 1960s and 1970s, Hilary Putnam articulated a notion of relativized apriority that was motivated to address the problem of scientific change. This paper examines Putnam’s account in its historical context and in relation to contemporary views. I begin by locating Putnam’s analysis in the historical context of Quine’s rejection of apriority, presenting Putnam as a sympathetic commentator on Quine. Subsequently, I explicate Putnam’s positive account of apriority, focusing on his analysis of the history of physics and geometry. In (...) the remainder of the paper, I explore connections between Putnam’s account of relativized a priori principles and contemporary views. In particular, I situate Putnam’s account in relation to analyses advanced by Michael Friedman, DavidStump, and William Wimsatt. From this comparison, I address issues concerning whether a priori scientific principles are appropriately characterized as “constitutive” or “entrenched”. I argue that these two features need to be clearly distinguished, and that only the constitutive function is essential to apriority. By way of conclusion, I explore the relationship between the constitutive function of a priori principles and entrenchment. (shrink)
(Draft copy published as “Science Made Up: Constructivist Sociology of Scientific Knowledge.” In P. Galison and D. Stump (eds.) The Disunity of Science: Boundaries, Contexts, and Power. Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1996, pp. 231-54.).
This paper examines Duhem’s concept of good sense as an attempt to support a non rule-governed account of rationality in theory choice. Faced with the underdetermination of theory by evidence thesis and the continuity thesis, Duhem tried to account for the ability of scientists to choose theories that continuously grow to a natural classification. I will examine the concept of good sense and the problems that stem from it. I will also present a recent attempt by DavidStump (...) to link good sense to virtue epistemology. I will argue that even though this approach can be useful for the better comprehension of the concept of good sense, there are some substantial differences between virtue epistemologists and Duhem. In the light of this reconstruction of good sense, I will propose a possible way to interpret the concept of good sense, which overcomes the noted problems and fits better with Duhem’s views on scientific method and motivation in developing the concept of good sense. (shrink)
I have argued that like Harry Frankfurt, Augustine implicitly distinguishes between first-order desires and higher-order volitions; yet unlike Frankfurt, Augustineheld that the liberty to form different possible volitional identifications is essential to responsibility for our character. Like Frankfurt, Augustine recognizes that we can sometimes be responsible for the desires on which we act without being able to do or desire otherwise; but for Augustine, this is true only because such responsibility for inevitable desires and actions traces (at least in part) (...) to responsibility for our volitional identifications, which in turn has leeway-libertarianconditions. However, David Hunt has interpreted Augustine’s account of divine foreknowledge as implying a type of source-incompatibilism that does not require alternative possible actions or intentions. Moreover, while Eleonore Stump’s account of Augustine on sanctification supports my interpretation, Augustine’s position on predestination in his latest writings may be incompatible with liberty of the higher-order will. I will argue against Hunt’s interpretation but admit that the leeway-libertarian has to reject the ‘no autonomy’ model in some of Augustine’s late writings. (shrink)
Is evil evidence against the existence of God? Even if God and evil are compatible, it remains hotly contested whether evil renders belief in God unreasonable. The Evidential Argument from Evil presents five classic statements on this issue by eminent philosophers and theologians and places them in dialogue with eleven original essays reflecting new thinking by these and other scholars. The volume focuses on two versions of the argument. The first affirms that there is no reason for God to permit (...) either certain specific horrors or the variety and profusion of undeserved suffering. The second asserts that pleasure and pain, given their biological role, are better explained by hypotheses other than theism. -/- Contributors include William P. Alston, Paul Draper, Richard M. Gale, Daniel Howard-Snyder, Alvin Plantinga, William L. Rowe, Bruce Russell, Eleonore Stump, Richard G. Swinburne, Peter van Inwagen, and Stephen John Wykstra. (shrink)
In a recent article in this journal Andrew Chignell assesses attempts by Marilyn McCord Adams and Eleonore Stump to resolve the problem that infant suffering poses for theistic belief, concluding that while the theodicy of each is inadequate in its current form, both can be satisfactorily amended. I argue that (1) Chignell fails to show that the theodicy of either Adams or Stump is inadequate and that (2) since Chignell's revisions are based on assumptions about God and evil (...) held by few, such revisions are of little value as responses to the actual challenge infant suffering poses for theistic belief. (shrink)
Does G. E. Moore know that he has hands? Yes, says the dogmatist: Moore’s hands are right before his eyes. No, says the skeptic: for all Moore knows he could be a brain-in-a-vat. Yes and no, says the contrastivist: yes, Moore knows that he has hands rather than stumps; but no, Moore does not know that he has hands rather than vat-images of hands. The dogmatist and the skeptic suppose that knowledge is a binary, categorical relation: s knows that p. (...) The contrastivist says that knowledge is a ternary, contrastive relation: s knows that p rather than q. (shrink)
The collusive relationship between the U.S. Forest Service and the lumber industry substantially harms the public interest, and inspires Congressional clearcutting and stumping policies. An anthropocentric1 (or homocentric) culture milieu fosters destruction of America''s old growth forests which results in ethically-relevant questions. It is proposed that corporate moral responsibility be extended to indirect stakeholders and that a transcendent environmental ethic, biocentrism2 (or deep ecology), oblige management to expand the sphere of external stakeholders to include environment objects such as animals, trees, (...) and biotic communities. (shrink)