Philip Kitcher has advanced an epistemology of science that purports to be naturalistic. For Kitcher, this entails that his epistemology of science must explain the correctness of belief-regulating norms while endorsing a realist notion of truth. This paper concerns whether or not Kitcher's epistemology of science is naturalistic on these terms. I find that it is not but that by supplementing the account we can secure its naturalistic standing.
In this paper I outline my conception of the epistemology of science, by reference to my published papers, showing how the ideas presented there fit together. In particular I discuss the aim of science, scientific progress, the nature of scientific evidence, the failings of empiricism, inference to the best (or only) explanation, and Kuhnian psychology of discovery. Throughout, I emphasize the significance of the concept of scientific knowledge.
This paper concerns Jean Piaget's (1896–1980) philosophy of science and, in particular, the picture of scientific development suggested by his theory of genetic epistemology. The aims of the paper are threefold: (1) to examine genetic epistemology as a theory concerning the growth of knowledge both in the individual and in science; (2) to explicate Piaget's view of ‘scientific progress’, which is grounded in his theory of equilibration; and (3) to juxtapose Piaget's notion of progress with Thomas (...) Kuhn's (1922–1996). Issues of scientific continuity, scientific realism and scientific rationality are discussed. It is argued that Piaget's view highlights weaknesses in Kuhn's ‘discontinuous’ picture of scientific change. (shrink)
Engineering science is a scientific discipline that from the point of view of epistemology and the philosophy of science has been somewhat neglected. When engineering science was under philosophical scrutiny it often just involved the question of whether engineering is a spin-off of pure and applied science and their methods. We, however, hold that engineering is a science governed by its own epistemology, methodology and ontology. This point is systematically argued by comparing the (...) different sciences with respect to a particular set of characterization criteria. (shrink)
Feminist philosophy of science has been criticized on several counts. On the one hand, it is claimed that it results in relativism of the worst sort since the political commitment to feminism is prima facie incompatible with scientific objectivity. On the other hand, when critics acknowledge that there may be some value in work that feminists have done, they comment that there is nothing particularly feminist about their accounts. I argue that both criticisms can be addressed through a better (...) understanding of the current work in feminist epistemology. I offer an examination of standpoint theory as an illustration. Harding and Wylie have suggested ways in which the objectivity question can be addressed. These two accounts, together with a third approach, ‘model-based objectivity’, indicate there is a clear sense in which we can understand how standpoint theory both contributes to a better understanding of scientific knowledge and can provide a feminist epistemology. (shrink)
Both Popper and van Fraassen have used evolutionary analogies to defend their views on the aim of science, although these are diametrically opposed. By employing Price's equation in an illustrative capacity, this paper considers which view is better supported. It shows that even if our observations and experimental results are reliable, an evolutionary analogy fails to demonstrate why conjecture and refutation should result in: (1) the isolation of true theories; (2) successive generations of theories of increasing truth-likeness; (3) empirically (...) adequate theories; or (4) successive generations of theories of increasing proximity to empirical adequacy. Furthermore, it illustrates that appeals to induction do not appear to help. It concludes that an evolutionary analogy is only sufficient to defend the notion that the aim of science is to isolate a particular class of false theories, namely those that are empirically inadequate. (shrink)
Recent trends towards an e-Science offer us the opportunity to think about the specific epistemological changes created by computational empowerment in scientific practices. In fact, we can say that a computational epistemology exists that requires our attention. By ‘computational epistemology’ I mean the computational processes implied or required to achieve human knowledge. In that category we can include AI, supercomputers, expert systems, distributed computation, imaging technologies, virtual instruments, middleware, robotics, grids or databases. Although several authors talk about (...) the extended mind and computational extensions of the human body, most of these proposals don’t analyze the deep epistemological implications of computer empowerment in scientific practices. At the same time, we must identify the principal concept for e-Science: Information . Why should we think about a new epistemology for e-Science? Because several processes exist around scientific information that require a good epistemological model to be understood. (shrink)
Recent trends towards an e-Science offer us the opportunity to think about the specific epistemological changes created by computational empowerment in scientific practices. In fact, we can say that a computational epistemology exists that requires our attention. By ‘computational epistemology’ I mean the computational processes implied or required to achieve human knowledge. In that category we can include AI, supercomputers, expert systems, distributed computation, imaging technologies, virtual instruments, middleware, robotics, grids or databases. Although several authors talk about (...) the extended mind and computational extensions of the human body, most of these proposals don’t analyze the deep epistemological implications of computer empowerment in scientific practices. At the same time, we must identify the principal concept for e-Science: Information. Why should we think about a new epistemology for e-Science? Because several processes exist around scientific information that require a good epistemological model to be understood. (shrink)
This article examines the best contemporary arguments for a feminist epistemology of scientific knowledge as found in recent works by S. Harding. I argue that no feminist epistemology of science is worthy of the name, because such an epistemology fails to escape well-known vicissitudes of epistemic relativism. But feminist epistemology merits attention from philosophers of science because it is part of a larger relativist turn in the social sciences and humanities that now aims to (...) extend its critique to science, and Harding's "standpoint feminism" is the best-developed case. She attempts to make new use of discredited philosophical ideas concerning underdetermination, Planck's Hypothesis, and the role of counterfactuals in historical studies of science. (shrink)
Three contrasting approaches to the epistemology of argument are presented. Each one is naturalistic, drawing upon successful practices as the basis for epistemological virtue. But each looks at very different sorts of practices and they differ greatly as to the manner with which relevant practices may be described. My own contribution relies on a metamathematical reconstruction of mature science, and as such, is a radical break with the usual approaches within the theory of argument.
The “context of discovery” and “context of justification” distinction has been used by Noretta Koertge and Lynn Hankinson Nelson in debates over the legitimacy of feminist approaches to philosophy of science. Koertge uses the context distinction to focus the conversation by barring certain approaches. I contend this focus masks points of true disagreement about the nature of justification. Nonetheless, Koertge raises important questions that have been too quickly set aside by some. I conclude that the context distinction should not (...) be used to block feminist philosophy of science because the use of the context distinction is deeply ambiguous, masking underlying debates about naturalism and the nature of justification. (shrink)
The impact of social factors upon the philosophical investigations in a broad sense is quite evident. Nevertheless their impact upon epistemology as a branch of philosophy, logic, and history of science as fields of research with noticeable philosophical content is not evident enough. We are keen to claim that this impact exists within some limits, although it is not so overtly evident. Moreover in the case of Marxism it is of a paradoxical nature. Marxism always puts the accent (...) on the role of social and economic factors in the development, development of science included. To a large extent due to Marxism, externalism emerged; the key idea of externalism may be expressed through the statement that social and economic reasons are the main sources of development of science. B.M. Hessen declared and did his best in 1931 to justify this statement through the example of the emergence of classical mechanics. Meanwhile the social milieu of Marxist countries placed a taboo on the externalist approach towards epistemology, the interpretation of logic, and history of science. All these fields of knowledge were evolved in the Marxist era in the USSR and Eastern Europe - despite the spirit of Marxism - within strict internalist boarders. We offer the explanation of this contradiction. (shrink)
This paper presents a critical analysis of Tamar Szabó Gendler’s view of thought experiments, with the aim of developing further a constructivist epistemology of thought experiments in science. While the execution of a thought experiment cannot be reduced to standard forms of inductive and deductive inference, in the process of working though a thought experiment, a logical argument does emerge and take shape. Taking Gendler’s work as a point of departure, I argue that performing a thought experiment involves (...) a process of self-interrogation, in which we are compelled to reflect on our pre-existing knowledge of the world. In doing so, we are forced to make judgments about what assumptions we see as relevant and how they apply to an imaginary scenario. This brings to light the extent to which certain forms of skill, beyond the ability to make valid logical inferences, are necessary to execute a thought experiment well. (shrink)
Ethical particularists allege that there are, on account of epistemological limitations, no such things as general moral principles. This paper defends the existence of general moral principles by adapting and appropriating Polanyi’s epistemology of science to this problem in moral philosophy.
Wittgenstein accepts the linguistic hypothesis about science according which science is the corpus of significant propositions. The epistemological problem can be divided into the problem of demarcation and the problem of justification. The answer to the demarcation problem consists in a criterion for significant propositions. Wittgenstein proposes a syntactical criterion. A proposition has sense if it is composed of elementary propositions and logical operators. The domains that contain senseless propo- sitions must be excluded from the scientific field. Wittgenstein’s (...) solution to the justification problem consists in the hypothesis of identity between tautology and necessary truth. In this way, the logical decision methods may be extended to the epistemo- logical decision. Wittgenstein’s epistemological conclu- sion is that only mathematics and logic (but not physics) are justified, because their propositions are tautologies. (shrink)
There has been recently a substantial rise of relativism in the epistemology of social science. It has seriously discredited normative function of the epistemology and changed the context of epistemological discussion. Some hold that the problem of relativism cannot be solved by scientific means, because it ultimately depends on personal beliefs. However, present paper shows that there are different scientific strategies of coping with relativism. The key argument is that the epistemological stance towards relativism is closely related (...) to the conceptualization of sense in general social theory. Some prominent examples of socialtheorizing are presented to support this point and demonstrate that different conceptualizations of sense are possible, and that these are connected to the approach to social-scientific cognition. Relationship between epistemological grounds and conceptualization of sense in work of Scheler, Weber, Bourdieu, Luhmann is briefly analyzed. The conclusion is drawn that future exploration of epistemological problems in social sciences may benefit from rethinking and refining the concept of sense. (shrink)
This article examines questions connected with the two features of Locke's intellectual landscape that are most salient for understanding his philosophy of science: (1) the profound shift underway in disciplinary boundaries, in methodological approaches to understanding the natural world, and in conceptions of induction and scientific knowledge; and (2) the dominant scientific theory of his day, the corpuscular hypothesis. Following the introduction, section 2 addresses questions connected to changing conceptions of scientific knowledge. What does Locke take science (scientia) (...) and scientific knowledge to be generally, why does he think that scientia in natural philosophy is beyond the reach of human beings, and what characterizes the conception of human knowledge in natural philosophy that he develops? Section 3 addresses the question provoked by Locke's apparently conflicting treatments of the corpuscular hypothesis. Does he accept or defend the corpuscular hypothesis? If not, what is its role in his thought, and what explains its close connection to key theses of the Essay? Since a scholarly debate has arisen about the status of the corpuscular hypothesis for Locke, Section 3 reviews some main positions in that debate. Section 4 considers the relationship between Locke's thought and that of a figure instrumental to the changing conceptions of scientific knowledge, Isaac Newton. (shrink)
Although various statistical measures may have other valid uses, the single purpose served by statistical significance testing in the epistemology of experimental science is as a peremptory rebuttal of one potential alternative interpretation of the data.
Feminist epistemology and philosophy of science studies the ways in which gender does and ought to influence our conceptions of knowledge, the knowing subject, and practices of inquiry and justification. It identifies ways in which dominant conceptions and practices of knowledge attribution, acquisition, and justification systematically disadvantage women and other subordinated groups, and strives to reform these conceptions and practices so that they serve the interests of these groups. Various practitioners of feminist epistemology and philosophy of (...) class='Hi'>science argue that dominant knowledge practices disadvantage women by (1) excluding them from inquiry, (2) denying them epistemic authority, (3) denigrating their “feminine” cognitive styles and modes of knowledge, (4) producing theories of women that represent them as inferior, deviant, or significant only in the ways they serve male interests, (5) producing theories of social phenomena that render women's activities and interests, or gendered power relations, invisible, and (6) producing knowledge (science and technology) that is not useful for people in subordinate positions, or that reinforces gender and other social hierarchies. Feminist epistemologists trace these failures to flawed conceptions of knowledge, knowers, objectivity, and scientific methodology. They offer diverse accounts of how to overcome these failures. They also aim to (1) explain why the entry of women and feminist scholars into different academic disciplines, especially in biology and the social sciences, has generated new questions, theories, and methods, (2) show how gender has played a.. (shrink)
A basic thesis of Neokantian epistemology and philosophy of science contends that the knowing subject and the object to be known are only abstractions. What really exists, is the relation between both. For the elucidation of this “knowledge relation ("Erkenntnisrelation") the Neokantians of the Marburg school used a variety of mathematical metaphors. In this con-tribution I reconsider some of these metaphors proposed by Paul Natorp, who was one of the leading members of the Marburg school. It is shown (...) that Natorp's metaphors are not unrelated to those used in some currents of contemporary epistemology and philosophy of science. (shrink)
Genetic epistemology analyzes the growth of knowledge both in the individual person (genetic psychology) and in the socio-historical realm (the history of science). But what the relationship is between the history of science and genetic psychology remains unclear. The biogenetic law that ontogeny recapitulates phylogeny is inadequate as a characterization of the relation. A critical examination of Piaget's Introduction à l'Épistémologie Généntique indicates these are several examples of what I call stage laws common to both areas. Furthermore, (...) there is at least one example of a paradoxical inverse relation between the two — geometry. Both similarities and differences between the two domains require an explanation, a developmental explanation. Although such an explanation seems to be psychological in nature, it is not merely empirical but also normative (since psychology is both factual and normative according to Piaget). Hence genetic epistemology need not be reduced to psychology (narrowly conceived), but rather should be seen as being both empirical and normative and thus similar to certain types of contemporary philosophy of science. (shrink)
One of the principal difficulties in assessing Science as aProcess (Hull 1988) is determining the relationship between the various elements of Hull's theory. In particular, it is hard to understand precisely how conceptual selection is related to Hull's account of the social dynamics of science. This essay aims to clarify the relation between these aspects of his theory by examining his discussion of the``demic structure'' of science. I conclude that the social account cando significant explanatory work independently (...) of the selectionistaccount. Further, I maintain that Hull's treatment of the demicstructure of science points us toward an important set of issues insocial epistemology. If my reading of Science as a Process iscorrect, then most of Hull's critics (e.g., those who focus solelyon his account of conceptual selection) have ignored promisingaspects of his theory. (shrink)
Medicine has been a very fruitful source of significant issues for philosophy over the last 30 years. The vast majority of the issues discussed have been normative—they have been problems in morality and political philosophy that now make up the field called bioethics. However, biomedical science presents many other philosophical questions that have gotten relatively little attention, particularly topics in metaphysics, epistemology and philosophy of science. This volume focuses on problems in these areas as they surface in (...) biomedical science. Important changes in philosophy make biomedical science an especially interesting area of inquiry. Contemporary philosophy is largely naturalistic in approach—it takes philosophy to be constrained by the results of the natural sciences and able to contribute to the natural sciences as well. Exactly what those constraints and contributions should be is a matter of controversy. What is not controversial is that important questions in philosophy of science and metaphysics are raised by the practice of science. Physics, biology, and economics have all drawn extensive philosophical analysis, so much so that philosophical study of these areas have become specialized subdisciplines within philosophy of science. Philosophy of medicine approached from the perspective of philosophy of science—with important exceptions (Schaffner, 1993; Thagard, 2000)—has been relatively undeveloped. Nonetheless, medicine should have a central place in epistemological and metaphysical debates over science. It is unarguably the most practically important of the sciences. It also draws by the far the greatest resources and research efforts of any area in biology. Yet philosophy of biology has focused almost exclusively on evolutionary biology, leaving the vast enterprises of immunology, cancer biology, virology, clinical medicine, and so on unexplored. Naturalized philosophy has emphasized the important interplay of historical and sociological aspects of science with its philosophical interpretation. Biomedical science as a large scale social enterprise is a natural target for such approaches. Relatedly, within philosophy there has been a growing interest and appreciation for the connections between issues of value and issues of fact in science (Kincaid et al., 2007). Biomedical science is a paradigm instance where the two intersect. The upshot is that biomedical science is a potential rich area for philosophical investigation in areas outside biomedical ethics. This volume seeks to show that promise and to encourage its exploration. (shrink)
Preparative and analytical methods developed by separation scientists have played an important role in the history of molecular biology. One such early method is gel electrophoresis, a technique that uses various types of gel as its supporting medium to separate charged molecules based on size and other properties. Historians of science, however, have only recently begun to pay closer attention to this material epistemological dimension of biomolecular science. This paper substantiates the historiographical thread that explores the relationship between (...) modern laboratory practice and the production of scientific knowledge. It traces the historical development of gel electrophoresis from the mid-1940s to the mid-1960s, with careful attention to the interplay between technical developments and disciplinary shifts, especially the rise of molecular biology in this time-frame. Claiming that the early 1950s marked a decisive shift in the evolution of electrophoretic methods from moving boundary to zone electrophoresis, I reconstruct various trajectories in which scientists such as Oliver Smithies sought out the most desirable solid supporting medium for electrophoretic instrumentation. Biomolecular knowledge, I argue, emerged in part from this process of seeking the most appropriate supporting medium that allowed for discrete molecular separation and visualization. The early 1950s, therefore, marked not only an important turning point in the history of separation science, but also a transformative moment in the history of the life sciences as the growth of molecular biology depended in part on the epistemological access to the molecular realm available through these evolving technologies. (shrink)
In his critical notice, Rosenberg (1991) raises three objections to my evolutionary account of science: whether it is more than a week metaphor, the compatibility of my past objections to reduction and my current advocacy of viewing selection in terms of replication and interaction, and finally, the feasibility of identifying appropriate replicators and interactors in biological evolution, let alone conceptual evolution. I discuss each of these objections in turn.
That Piagetian epistemology has the dynamics of knowledge growth as its core consideration predetermines a need to consider it as potentially applicable to teaching. This paper addresses that need by first outlining the Piagetian theory of equilibration and then applying it to the construction of methods of teaching science.
This paper explores some of the important parallels between recent reforms to legal rules for the admissibility of scientific and expert evidence, exemplified by the US Supreme Court's decision in Daubert v Merrell Dow Pharmaceuticals, Inc. in 1993, and similar calls for reforms to medical practice, that emerged around the same time as part of the Evidence-Based Medicine (EBM) movement. Similarities between the “movements” can be observed in that both emerged from a historical context where the quality of medicine and (...) legal approaches to science were being subjected to growing criticism, and in the ways that proponents of both movements have used appeals to “folk epistemologies” of science to help legitimate their reform aspirations. The term folk epistemology is used to describe the weaving together of formal and informal images of scientific method with normative and pragmatic concerns such as eradicating “junk science”, and promoting medical best practice. Perhaps unsurprisingly, given the unfocused breadth of these aspirations the implications of these “reforms” for medical and legal practice have not been straightforward, although they do represent an important new set of rhetorical resources to critique and or legitimate expertise in medical and legal domains. Discussion closes, by noting the growth of calls for these movements to reciprocate in areas where law and medicine intersect, such as medical negligence litigation. (shrink)
We examine the philosophical disputes among computer scientists concerning methodological, ontological, and epistemological questions: Is computer science a branch of mathematics, an engineering discipline, or a natural science? Should knowledge about the behaviour of programs proceed deductively or empirically? Are computer programs on a par with mathematical objects, with mere data, or with mental processes? We conclude that distinct positions taken in regard to these questions emanate from distinct sets of received beliefs or paradigms within the discipline: – (...) The rationalist paradigm, which was common among theoretical computer scientists, defines computer science as a branch of mathematics, treats programs on a par with mathematical objects, and seeks certain, a priori knowledge about their ‘correctness’ by means of deductive reasoning. – The technocratic paradigm, promulgated mainly by software engineers and has come to dominate much of the discipline, defines computer science as an engineering discipline, treats programs as mere data, and seeks probable, a posteriori knowledge about their reliability empirically using testing suites. – The scientific paradigm, prevalent in the branches of artificial intelligence, defines computer science as a natural (empirical) science, takes programs to be entities on a par with mental processes, and seeks a priori and a posteriori knowledge about them by combining formal deduction and scientific experimentation. We demonstrate evidence corroborating the tenets of the scientific paradigm, in particular the claim that program-processes are on a par with mental processes. We conclude with a discussion in the influence that the technocratic paradigm has been having over computer science. (shrink)
Abstract Like the logical empiricists many contemporary philosophers wish to bring the determinateness of scientific judgment to epistemology. Recent efforts to naturalise epistemology (such as those of the Churchlands) seem to jeopardise the position of epistemology as a normative discipline. Putnam argues that attempts to naturalise epistemology are self?refuting. My goal is not to defeat the project for the naturalisation of epistemology, but rather to help clarify what it does and does not amount to. I (...) maintain that attempts to completely eliminate the normative will be either forever incomplete or inimical to the progress of science. However, because it is the first horn of this dilemma which will prevail, these considerations do not undermine the importance of future epistemology carefully attending to the results of the relevant sciences. (shrink)
The paper approaches the topic of what a general philosophy of science could mean today from the perspective of a historical epistemology. Consequently, in a first step, the paper looks at the notion of generality in the sciences, and how it evolved over time, on the example of the life sciences. In the second part of the paper, the urgency of a general philosophy of science is located in the history of philosophy of science. Two attempts (...) at the beginning of the twentieth century are particularly highlighted: that of Karl Popper and that of Martin Heidegger. Both of them concentrate, albeit in widely different form, on the phenomenon of research as an open-ended process. This trend is even more pronounced in Gaston Bachelard’s version of a historical epistemology, whose work is taken as a point of reference for a general historical epistemology of research. The paper concludes with a plea to look, with Georges Canguilhem, at the history of the sciences as a laboratory for epistemology. (shrink)
Reformed epistemology and cognitive science have remarkably converged on belief in God. Reformed epistemology holds that belief in God is basic—that is, belief in God is a natural, non-inferential belief that is immediately produced by a cognitive faculty. Cognitive science of religion also holds that belief in gods is (often) non-reflectively and instinctively produced—that is, non-inferentially and automatically produced by a cognitive faculty or system. But there are differences. In this paper, we will show some remarkable (...) points of convergence, and a few points of divergence, between Reformed epistemology and the cognitive science of religion. (shrink)
This book explores aspects of science from an economic point of view. The author begins with economic models of misconduct in science, moving on to discuss other important issues, including market failure and the market place of ideas.
Fuller's program of social epistemology engages a rhetoric of inquiry that can be usefully compared and contrasted with other discursive theories of knowledge, such as that of Richard Rorty. Resisting the model of “conversation,” Fuller strikes an activist posture and lays the groundwork for normative “knowledge policy,” in which persuasion and credibility play key roles. The image of investigation is one that overtly rejects the “storehouse” conception of knowledge and invokes the metaphors of distributive economics. Productive questions arise as (...) to how notions of creation and distribution might guide this rhetoric. (shrink)
This essay argues that the really useful character of reflexivity is that it enables a radical critique of representation and its conventional material and rhetorical practices. It is uniquely able to produce paradox and thus disrupt discourses by undermining authorial privilege. Because Fuller's social epistemology is insensitive to its own reflexive implications, and limits itself to normative questions about knowledge policy, it is too limited — and limiting — to provide a context that can nurture reflexivity.
This collection of essays, first published two decades ago, presents central feminist critiques and analyses of natural and social sciences and their philosophies. Unfortunately, in spite of the brilliant body of research and scholarship in these fields in subsequent decades, the insights of these essays remain as timely now as they were then: philosophy and the sciences still presume kinds of social innocence to which they are not entitled. The essays focus on Plato, Aristotle, Descartes, Hobbes, Rousseau, and Marx; on (...) the 'adversary method' model of philosophic reasoning; on principles of individuation on philosophical ontology and philosophy of language; on individualistic assumptions in psychology; functionalism in sociological and biological theory; evolutionary theory; the methodology of political science; and conceptions of objective inquiry in the sciences. In taking insights of both Liberal and Marxian women's movements into the purportedly most abstract and value-free areas of Western thought, these essays chart sexist and androcentric assumptions, claims and practices in the cognitive, technical cores of Western sciences and their philosophies. They begin to identify the distinctive aspects of women's experiences and locations in male-supremacist social structures which can provide resources needed for the creation of post-androcentric thinking in research, scholarship, and public policy. Such uses of feminist insights remain controversial today, and even among some feminists. These authors were all junior researchers and scholars two decades ago; today many are among the most distinguished senior scholars in their fields. Their work here provides a splendid opportunity for upper-level undergraduate and graduate students in philosophy and the social sciences to explore some of the most intriguing and controversial challenges to disciplinary projects and to public policy today. (shrink)
Artificial intelligence has often been seen as an attempt to reduce the natural mind to informational processes and, consequently, to naturalize philosophy. The many criticisms that were addressed to the so-called “old-fashioned AI” do not concern this attempt itself, but the methods it used, especially the reduction of the mind to a symbolic level of abstraction, which has often appeared to be inadequate to capture the richness of our mental activity. As a consequence, there were many efforts to evacuate the (...) semantical models in favor of elementary physiological mechanisms simulated by information processes. However, these views, and the subsequent criticisms against artificial intelligence that they contain, miss the very nature of artificial intelligence, which is not reducible to a “science of the nature”, but which directly impacts our culture. More precisely, they lead to evacuate the role of the semantic information. In other words, they tend to throw the baby out with the bath-water. This paper tries to revisit the epistemology of artificial intelligence in the light of the opposition between the “sciences of nature” and the “sciences of culture”, which has been introduced by German neo-Kantian philosophers. It then shows how this epistemological view opens on the many contemporary applications of artificial intelligence that have already transformed—and will continue to transform—all our cultural activities and our world. Lastly, it places those perspectives in the context of the philosophy of information and more particularly it emphasizes the role played by the notions of context and level of abstraction in artificial intelligence. (shrink)
The aim of this paper is to investigate how we can reunite social philosophy and philosophy of science to address problems in science and technology. First, referring to Don Howard?s, George Reisch?s, and Philip Mirowski?s works, I shall briefly explain how philosophy of science was depoliticised during the cold war. Second, I shall examine Steve Fuller?s criticism of Thomas Kuhn. Third, I shall scrutinise Philip Kitcher?s view of well-ordered science. Fourth, I shall emphasise the importance of (...) autonomy and argue that philosophy of science needs to cultivate a critical attitude towards authority. Fifth, drawing upon Ian Jarvie?s social reading of Karl Popper, I shall argue that Popper?s philosophy can be a model for reuniting social philosophy and philosophy of science. (shrink)
The aim of this article is to understand an important passage in the history of the sciences of the psyche: starting from the psychiatric problematization — and the consequent emergence — of the concept and the object called ‘sexuality’ in the second half of the 19th century, it attempts to show a series of continuities and discontinuities between this kind of reasoning and the birth of psychoanalysis in the first years of the 20th century. The particular focus is therefore directed (...) on two texts: Krafft-Ebing’s Psychopathia Sexualis and Freud’s Three Essays on the Theory of Sexuality. The argument runs along three intertwined axes: (1) an historico-epistemological analysis of the concepts and their transformations in the field of the science of sexuality; (2) an analysis of the power relationships between patients and physicians; and (3) an account of the psychiatric technologies of the self that have as an effect the emergence of new forms of ‘objective’ knowledge of the subject. The broader goal is to trace a map of the simultaneous and correlate coming into being and transformations both of new forms of objects and of new forms of subjects through the mediation of scientific concepts and techniques. (shrink)
Despite their divergent metaphysical assumptions, Reformed and evolutionary epistemologists have converged on the notion of proper basicality. Where Reformed epistemologists appeal to God, who has designed the mind in such a way that it successfully aims at the truth, evolutionary epistemologists appeal to natural selection as a mechanism that favors truth-preserving cognitive capacities. This paper investigates whether Reformed and evolutionary epistemological accounts of theistic belief are compatible. We will argue that their chief incompatibility lies in the noetic effects of sin (...) and what may be termed the noetic effects of evolution, systematic tendencies wherein human cognitive faculties go awry. We propose a reconceptualization of the noetic effects of sin to mitigate this tension. (shrink)
A prominent phenomenon in contemporary philosophy of science has been the unexpected rise of alternative philosophers of science. This article analyses in depth such alternative philosophers of science as Paul Feyerabend, Richard Rorty, and Michel Foucault, summarizing the similarities and differences between alternative philosophies of science and traditional philosophy of science so as to unveil the trends in contemporary philosophy of science. With its different principles and foundation, alternative philosophy of science has made (...) breakthroughs in terms of its field of vision, scope, and methodology, and its relationship with science has become more humanistic and pluralistic. Attention should be given to alternative perspectives in the contemporary philosophy of science, and research should be expanded into the fields of the epistemology of science and cognitive science, the sociology of scientific knowledge and scientific anthropology, the scientific cultural philosophy, and scientific ethics. (shrink)
The paper analyses the development of some themes in the contemporary philosophy of science in Italy. Section 1 reviews the dabate on the legacy of neopositivism. The spread of the philosophy of Popper is outlined in Section 2, with particular regard to the problem of the vindication of induction. Section 3 deals with the debate on the incommensurability thesis, while Section 4 examines its consequences on the possible relationships between historical and epistemological studies of science. The last section (...) is devoted to one of the most recent trends in the Italian philosophy of science: the resumption of Aristotelian dialectics. (shrink)
This survey of major developments in North American philosophy of science begins with the mid-1960s consolidation of the disciplinary synthesis of internalist history and philosophy of science (HPS) as a response to criticisms of logical empiricism. These developments are grouped for discussion under the following headings: historical metamethodologies, scientific realisms, philosophies of the special sciences, revivals of empiricism, cognitivist naturalisms, social epistemologies, feminist theories of science, studies of experiment and the disunity of science, and studies of (...)science as practice and culture. A unifying theme of the survey is the relation between historical metamethodologists and scientific realists, which dominated philosophical work in the late 1970s. I argue that many of the alternative cognitive naturalisms, social epistemologies, and feminist theories that have been proposed can be understood as analogues to the differences between metamethodological theories of scientific rationality and realist accounts of successful reference to real causal processes. Recent work on experiment, scientific practice, and the culture of science may, however, challenge the underlying conception of the field according to which realism and historical rationalism (or their descendants) are the important alternatives available, and thus may take philosophy of science in new directions. (shrink)