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Profile: Howard Sankey (University of Melbourne)
  1. Howard Sankey (2012). Scepticism, Relativism and the Argument From the Criterion. Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 43 (1):182-190.
    This article explores the relationship between epistemic relativism and Pyrrhonian scepticism. It is argued that a fundamental argument for contemporary epistemic relativism derives from the Pyrrhonian problem of the criterion. Pyrrhonian scepticism is compared and contrasted with Cartesian scepticism about the external world and Humean scepticism about induction. Epistemic relativism is characterized as relativism due to the variation of epistemic norms, and is contrasted with other forms of cognitive relativism, such as truth relativism, conceptual relativism and ontological relativism. An argument (...)
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  2. Howard Sankey (2011). Epistemic Relativism and the Problem of the Criterion. Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 42 (4):562-570.
    This paper explores the relationship between scepticism and epistemic relativism in the context of recent history and philosophy of science. More specifically, it seeks to show that significant treatments of epistemic relativism by influential figures in the history and philosophy of science draw upon the Pyrrhonian problem of the criterion. The paper begins with a presentation of the problem of the criterion as it occurs in the work of Sextus Empiricus. It is then shown that significant treatments of epistemic relativism (...)
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  3.  66
    Howard Sankey (2013). How the Epistemic Relativist May Use the Sceptic's Strategy: A Reply to Markus Seidel. Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 44 (1):140-144.
    This paper is a response to an objection that Markus Seidel has made to my analysis of epistemic relativism. Seidel argues that the epistemic relativist is unable to base a relativist account of justification on the sceptical problem of the criterion in the way that I have suggested in earlier work. In response to Seidel, I distinguish between weak and strong justification, and argue that all the relativist needs is weak justification. In addition, I explain my reasons for employing the (...)
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  4.  40
    Howard Sankey (forthcoming). Realism, Progress and the Historical Turn. Foundations of Science:1-14.
    The contemporary debate between scientific realism and anti-realism is conditioned by a polarity between two opposing arguments: the realist’s success argument and the anti-realist’s pessimistic induction. This polarity has skewed the debate away from the problem that lies at the source of the debate. From a realist point of view, the historical approach to the philosophy of science which came to the fore in the 1960s gave rise to an unsatisfactory conception of scientific progress. One of the main motivations for (...)
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  5. Howard Sankey (2010). Witchcraft, Relativism and the Problem of the Criterion. Erkenntnis 72 (1):1 - 16.
    This paper presents a naturalistic response to the challenge of epistemic relativism. The case of the Azande poison oracle is employed as an example of an alternative epistemic norm which may be used to justify beliefs about everyday occurrences. While a distinction is made between scepticism and relativism, an argument in support of epistemic relativism is presented that is based on the sceptical problem of the criterion. A response to the resulting relativistic position is then provided on the basis of (...)
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  6. Howard Sankey (2013). Methodological Incommensurability and Epistemic Relativism. Topoi 32 (1):33-41.
    This paper revisits one of the key ideas developed in The Structure of Scientific Revolutions. In particular, it explores the methodological form of incommensurability which may be found in the original edition of Structure. It is argued that such methodological incommensurability leads to a form of epistemic relativism. In later work, Kuhn moved away from the original idea of methodological incommensurability with his idea of a set of epistemic values that provides a basis for rational theory choice, but do not (...)
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  7. Howard Sankey (2014). Scientific Realism and Basic Common Sense. Kairos 10:11-24.
    This paper considers the relationship between science and common sense. It takes as its point of departure, Eddington’s distinction between the table of physics and the table of common sense, as well as Eddington’s suggestion that science shows common sense to be false. Against the suggestion that science shows common sense to be false, it is argued that there is a form of common sense, basic common sense, which is not typically overthrown by scientific research. Such basic common sense is (...)
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  8. Howard Sankey (2009). Scientific Realism and the Semantic Incommensurability Thesis. Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 40 (2):196-202.
    This paper reviews the situation with respect to the referential approach to the problem of semantic incommensurability. It argues that the thesis of semantic incommensurability does not pose a significant threat to scientific realism. However, there exists a "non-realist" defence of incommensurability, according to which the referential approach begs the question against advocates of the incommensurability thesis. This defence is criticized, and the basis for a realist response to incommensurability is presented.
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  9.  29
    Howard Sankey (2016). Fifty Years of Structure. [REVIEW] Metascience 25 (1):65-70.
    This is an essay review of W. J. Devlin and A. Bokulich (eds.) Kuhn's Structure of Scientific Revolutions 50 years on.
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  10. Howard Sankey (1994). The Incommensurability Thesis. Avebury.
  11. Howard Sankey (1997). Scientific Realism and the Problem of Progress. Cogito 11 (2):89-94.
  12. Howard Sankey (1993). Kuhn's Changing Concept of Incommensurability. British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 44 (4):759-774.
    Since 1962 Kuhn's concept of incommensurability has undergone a process of transformation. His current account of incommensurability has little in common with his original account of it. Originally, incommensurability was a relation of methodological, observational and conceptual disparity between paradigms. Later Kuhn restricted the notion to the semantical sphere and assimilated it to the indeterminacy of translation. Recently he has developed an account of it as localized translation failure between subsets of terms employed by theories.
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  13.  92
    Howard Sankey (2015). Constructively Engaging with Relativism. [REVIEW] Metascience 24 (2):265-269.
    Traditional epistemology is haunted by the spectre of scepticism. Yet the more pressing concern in the contemporary intellectual scene must surely be relativism rather than scepticism. This has been the case in the history and philosophy of science since the work of Thomas Kuhn and Paul Feyerabend, to say nothing of the emergence of the sociology of scientific knowledge.In Epistemic Relativism: A Constructive Critique, Markus Seidel comes firmly to grips with this modern spectre. Though Seidel devotes attention to other forms (...)
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  14. Howard Sankey (1998). Taxonomic Incommensurability. International Studies in the Philosophy of Science 12 (1):7 – 16.
    In a shift of position that has gone largely unnoticed by the great majority of commentators, Thomas Kuhn's version of the incommensurability thesis underwent a major transformation over the last decade and a half of his life. In his later work, Kuhn argued that incommensurability is a relation of translation failure between local subsets of interdefined theoretical terms, which encapsulate the taxonomic structure of a theory. Incommensurability arises because it is impossible to transfer the natural categories employed within one taxonomic (...)
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  15.  53
    Howard Sankey (2015). Scepticism, Relativism and a Naturalistic Particularism. Social Epistemology 29 (4):395-412.
    This paper presents a particularist and naturalist response to epistemic relativism. The response is based on an analysis of the source of epistemic relativism, according to which epistemic relativism is closely related to Pyrrhonian scepticism. The paper starts with a characterization of epistemic relativism. Such relativism is explicitly distinguished from epistemological contextualism. Next the paper presents an argument for epistemic relativism that is based on the Pyrrhonian problem of the criterion. It then considers a response to the problem of the (...)
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  16.  91
    Howard Sankey (2008). Scientific Realism and the Rationality of Science. Ashgate.
    Scientific realism is the position that the aim of science is to advance on truth and increase knowledge about observable and unobservable aspects of the mind-independent world which we inhabit. This book articulates and defends that position. In presenting a clear formulation and addressing the major arguments for scientific realism Sankey appeals to philosophers beyond the community of, typically Anglo-American, analytic philosophers of science to appreciate and understand the doctrine. The book emphasizes the epistemological aspects of scientific realism and contains (...)
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  17.  32
    Howard Sankey (2001). Scientific Realism. Theoria 48 (98):35-54.
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  18.  71
    Howard Sankey (2014). On Relativism and Pluralism: Response to Steven Bland. Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 47:98-103.
    This paper responds to criticism presented by Steven Bland of my naturalistic approach to epistemic relativism. In my view, the central argument for epistemic relativism derives from the Pyrrhonian problem of the criterion. This opens relativism to an anti-sceptical response. I combine Roderick Chisholm’s particularist response to the problem of the criterion with a reliabilist conception of epistemic warrant. A distinction is made between epistemic norms which provide genuine warrant and those which do not. On the basis of this distinction, (...)
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  19.  29
    Howard Sankey (1991). Translation Failure Between Theories. Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 22 (2):223-236.
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  20.  97
    Howard Sankey (2012). Kuhn, Normativity and History and Philosophy of Science. Epistemologia:103-111.
    This paper addresses the relationship between the history and philosophy of science by way of the issue of epistemic normativity. After brief discussion of the relationship between history and philosophy of science in Kuhn’s own thinking, the paper focuses on the implications of the history of science for epistemic normativity. There may be historical evidence for change of scientific methodology, which may seem to support a position of epistemic relativism. However, the fact that the methods of science undergo variation does (...)
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  21.  26
    Howard Sankey (2010). Witchcraft, Relativism and the Problem of the Criterion. Erkenntnis 72 (1):1-16.
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  22. Howard Sankey (2008). Scientific Realism and the Inevitability of Science. Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 39 (2):259-264.
    This paper examines the question of whether scientific realism is committed to the inevitability of science or is consistent with claims of the contingency of science. In order to address this question, a general characterization of the position of scientific realism is presented. It is then argued that scientific realism has no evident implications with regard to the inevitability of science. A historical case study is presented in which contingency plays a significant role, and the appropriate realist response to this (...)
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  23.  88
    Robert Nola & Howard Sankey (eds.) (2000). After Popper, Kuhn, and Feyerabend: Recent Issues in Theories of Scientific Method. Kluwer Academic Publishers.
    Some think that issues to do with scientific method are last century's stale debate; Popper was an advocate of methodology, but Kuhn, Feyerabend, and others are alleged to have brought the debate about its status to an end. The papers in this volume show that issues in methodology are still very much alive. Some of the papers reinvestigate issues in the debate over methodology, while others set out new ways in which the debate has developed in the last decade. The (...)
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  24. Howard Sankey (2012). Reference, Success and Entity Realism. Kairos 5:31-42.
    The paper discusses the version of entity realism presented by Ian Hacking in his book, Representing and Intervening. Hacking holds that an ontological form of scientific realism, entity realism, may be defended on the basis of experimental practices which involve the manipulation of unobservable entities. There is much to be said in favour of the entity realist position that Hacking defends, especially the pragmatist orientation of his approach to realism. But there are problems with the position. The paper explores two (...)
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  25. Howard Sankey (1997). Incommensurability: The Current State of Play. Theoria 12 (3):425-45.
    The incommensurability thesis is the thesis that the content of some alternative scientific theories is incomparable due to translation failure between the vocabulary the theories employ. This paper presents an overview of the main issues which have arisen in the debate about incommensurability. It also briefly outlines a response to the thesis based on a modified causal theory of reference which allows change of reference subsequent to initial baptism, as well as a role to description in the determination of reference. (...)
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  26. Howard Sankey (2011). El realismo cientifico y el punto de vista del Ojo de Dios. Revista Disertaciones 2:59-74.
    This article is a Spanish translation of 'Scientific Realism and the God's Eye Point of View'.
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  27.  33
    Howard Sankey (1997). The Semantic Stance of Scientific Entity Realism. Philosophia 25 (1 - 4):481-482.
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  28. Howard Sankey & Dimitri Ginev (2011). The Scope and Multidimensionality of the Scientific Realism Debate. Journal for General Philosophy of Science / Zeitschrift für Allgemeine Wissenschaftstheorie 42 (2):263-283.
    At stake in the classical realism-debate is the clash between realist and anti-realist positions. In recent years, the classical form of this debate has undergone a double transformation. On the one hand, the champions of realism began to pay more attention to the interpretative dimensions of scientific research. On the other hand, anti-realists of various sorts realized that the rejection of the hypostatization of a “reality out there” does not imply the denial of working out a philosophically adequate concept of (...)
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  29. Howard Sankey & Robert Nola (eds.) (2000). After Popper, Kuhn and Feyerabend: Recent Issues in Theories of Scientific Method.
  30. Howard Sankey (1997). Van Fraassen's Constructive Empiricism. Cogito 11 (3):175-181.
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  31.  71
    Howard Sankey (2014). Relativism, Particularism and Reflective Equilibrium. Journal for General Philosophy of Science / Zeitschrift für Allgemeine Wissenschaftstheorie 45 (2):281-292.
    In previous work, I have sought to show that the basic argument for epistemic relativism derives from the problem of the criterion that stems from ancient Pyrrhonian scepticism. Because epistemic relativism depends upon a sceptical strategy, it is possible to respond to relativism on the basis of an anti-sceptical strategy. I argue that the particularist response to scepticism proposed by Roderick Chisholm may be combined with a naturalistic and reliabilist conception of epistemic warrant as the basis for a satisfactory response (...)
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  32. Howard Sankey (2001). Scientific Realism: An Elaboration and a Defence. Theoria: A Journal of Social and Political Theory 98 (98):35-54.
    This paper describes the position of scientific realism and presents the basic lines of argument for the position. Simply put, scientific realism is the view that the aim of science is knowledge of the truth about observable and unobservable aspects of a mind-independent, objective reality. Scientific realism is supported by several distinct lines of argument. It derives from a non-anthropocentric conception of our place in the natural world, and it is grounded in the epistemology and metaphysics of common sense. Further, (...)
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  33. Howard Sankey (1990). In Defence of Untranslatability. Australasian Journal of Philosophy 68 (1):1 – 21.
  34. Paul Hoyningen-Huene & Howard Sankey (eds.) (2001). Incommensurability and Related Matters. Kluwer.
  35. Howard Sankey (1997). Incommensurability: The Current State of Play. Theoria 12 (3):425-445.
    The incommensurability thesis is the thesis that the content of some alternative scientific theories is incomparable due to translation failure between the vocabulary the theories employ. This paper presents an overview of the main issues which have arisen in the debate about incommensurability. It also briefly outlines a response to the thesis based on a modified causal theory of reference which allows change of reference subsequent to initial baptism, as well as a role to description in the determination of reference. (...)
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  36. Howard Sankey (2000). Methodological Pluralism, Normative Naturalism and the Realist Aim of Science. In Howard Sankey & Robert Nola (eds.), After Popper, Kuhn and Feyerabend: Recent Issues in Theories of Scientific Method.
    There are two chief tasks which confront the philosophy of scientific method. The first task is to specify the methodology which serves as the objective ground for scientific theory appraisal and acceptance. The second task is to explain how application of this methodology leads to advance toward the aim(s) of science. In other words, the goal of the theory of method is to provide an integrated explanation of both rational scientific theory choice and scientific progress.
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  37. Howard Sankey (2010). Ciencia, sentido común y realidad. Discusiones Filosóficas 16 (16):41-58.
    ¿La ciencia otorga conocimiento de larealidad? En este artículo ofrezco unarespuesta positiva a esta pregunta. Rechazola pretensión anti-realista según la cualsomos incapaces de adquirir conocimientode la realidad; al contrario, apoyo la visiónrealista que afirma que la ciencia produceconocimiento del mundo externo. Pero:¿cuál mundo es ese? Algunos sostienenque la ciencia conduce a la superaciónde nuestra visión del mundo dada porel sentido común. El sentido común esla “metafísica de la edad de piedra” quedebe rechazarse como la teoría falsa denuestros primi ti vos (...)
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  38.  67
    David Cockburn & Howard Sankey (1992). A Dialogue on Scientific Realism. Cogito 6 (3):163-169.
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  39.  97
    Howard Sankey (2012). Philosophical Fairytales From Feyerabend. [REVIEW] Metascience 21 (2):471-476.
    This article is a review of Paul Feyerabend's book, The Tyranny of Science.
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  40. Howard Sankey (2013). On the Evolution of Criteria of Theory Choice. [REVIEW] Metascience 22 (1):169-172.
    This article is a book review of Anastasios Brenner's book Raison Scientifique et Valeurs Humaines.
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  41.  10
    Mikael Karlsson, Andre Kukla, Jarrett Leplin, David Papineau, Stathis Psillos & Howard Sankey (2006). Scientific Realism. In Patrick Greenough & Michael P. Lynch (eds.), Theoria. Oxford University Press 35-54.
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  42.  59
    Howard Sankey (1993). Five Varieties of Cognitive Relativisrn. Cogito 7 (2):106-111.
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  43. Howard Sankey (1997). Rationality, Relativism and Incommensurability. Ashgate.
  44.  58
    Howard Sankey (2010). A View From Sydney: How to Stove the Enemies of Science. [REVIEW] Metascience 19 (2):289-292.
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  45.  56
    Howard Sankey (1996). Paul Hoyningen-Huene. Metascience 5 (2):59-70.
    This is an interview of Paul Hoyningen-Huene conducted by Howard Sankey in 1996 in Tuscany.
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  46.  64
    Howard Sankey (2010). Descartes's Language Test and Ape Language Research. Teorema: International Journal of Philosophy 29 (2):111-123.
    Some philosophers (e.g. Descartes) argue that there is an evidential relationship between language and thought, such that presence of language is indicative of mind. Recent language acquisition research with apes such as chimpanzees and bonobos attempts to demonstrate the capacity of these primates to acquire at least rudimentary linguistic capacity. This paper presents a case study of the ape language research and explores the consequences of the research with respect to the argument that animals lack mind because they fail to (...)
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  47.  56
    Howard Sankey (2014). Revisiting Structure. [REVIEW] Metascience 23 (1):43-47.
    This is a book review of Vasso Kindi and Theodore Arabatzis (Eds.), Kuhn’s The Structure of Scientific Revolutions Revisited.
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  48. Howard Sankey (1995). The Problem of Rational Theory-Choice. Epistemologia 18 (2):299-312.
    The problem of rational theory-choice is the problem of whether choice of theory by a scientist may be objectively rational in the absence of an invariant scientific method. In this paper I offer a solution to the problem, but the solution I propose may come as something of a surprise. For I wish to argue that the work of the very authors who have put the rationality of such choice in question, Thomas Kuhn and Paul Feyerabend, contains all that is (...)
     
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  49.  80
    Howard Sankey (1999). The Theory-Dependence of Observation. Cogito 13 (3):201-206.
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  50. Howard Sankey (1993). Kuhn's Model of Scientific Theory Change. Cogito 7 (1):18-24.
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