Los científicos tratan de persuadir a sus colegas y, en última instancia, al conjunto de la sociedad, para que acepten sus tesis, descubrimientos y propuestas. Desarrollan para ello una serie de estrategias que pueden ser estudiadas como un"juego de persuasión" en el que intervienen, además de los procesos de argumentación formal e informal típicamente estudiados por la lógica y metodología de la ciencia, aspectos tradicionalmente considerados "sociológicos". En este artículo se analiza el debate sobre la ciencia del cambio climático como (...) un juego de este tipo, desde un enfoque inferencialista, sobre la base del esquema presentado en ZamoraBonilla (2006a).Scientists try to persuade their colleagues, and ultimately the whole society, of the acceptability of their claims, discoveries and proposals. In order to reach that goal, they develop a number of strategies that can be studied as a 'game of persuasion', in which, beside the processes of formal and informal argumentation typically studied by logic and methodology of science, there are also 'sociological' aspects intervening. This paper analyses the debate on climate change science as a 'persuasion game', from an inferentialist point of view, according to the lines of ZamoraBonilla (2006a). (shrink)
The constitution of a collective judgment is analyzed from a contractarian point of view. The optimal collective judgment is defined as the one that maximizes the sum of the utility each member gets from the collective adoption of that judgment. It is argued that judgment aggregation is a different process from the aggregation of information and public deliberation. This entails that the adoption of a collective judgment should not make any rational member of the group change her individual opinion, and (...) so the collective judgment can not have any kind of epistemic superiority over the individual ones. ‡The author acknowledges Spanish Government's research projects HUM2005–01686/FISO and HUM2005-25447-E, as well as the grant PR2006-0108 which allowed a three months stay at the Helsinki Collegium for Advanced Studies, in which a big part of this paper was written. †To contact the author, please write to: Universidad Nacional de Educación a Distancia, Dpto. de Lógica, Historia y F. de la ciencia, Humanidades, Paseo de Senda del rey 7, 28040 Madrid, Spain; e-mail: email@example.com. (shrink)
In this article we defend the inferential view of scientific models and idealisation. Models are seen as “inferential prostheses” (instruments for surrogative reasoning) construed by means of an idealisation-concretisation process, which we essentially understand as a kind of counterfactual deformation procedure (also analysed in inferential terms). The value of scientific representation is understood in terms not only of the success of the inferential outcomes arrived at with its help, but also of the heuristic power of representation and their capacity to (...) correct and improve our models. This provides us with an argument against Sugden’s account of credible models: the likelihood or realisticness (their “credibility”) is not always a good measure of their acceptability. As opposed to “credibility” we propose the notion of “enlightening”, which is the capacity of giving us understanding in the sense of an inferential ability. (shrink)
Scientific research is reconstructed as a language game along the lines of Robert Brandom's inferentialism. Researchers are assumed to aim at persuading their colleagues of the validity of some claims. The assertions each scientist is allowed or committed to make depend on her previous claims and on the inferential norms of her research community. A classification of the most relevant types of inferential rules governing such a game is offered, and some ways in which this inferentialist approach can be used (...) for assessing scientific knowledge and practices are explored. Some similarities and differences with a game-theoretic analysis are discussed. (shrink)
In this article we defend the inferential view of scientific models and idealisation. Models are seen as "inferential prostheses" (instruments for surrogative reasoning) construed by means of an idealisation-concretisation process, which we essentially understand as a kind of counterfactual deformation procedure (also analysed in inferential terms). The value of scientific representation is understood in terms not only of the success of the inferential outcomes arrived at with its help, but also of the heuristic power of representation and their capacity to (...) correct and improve our models. This provides us with an argument against Sugden's account of credible models: the likelihood or realisticness (their "credibility") is not always a good measure of their acceptability. As opposed to "credibility" we propose the notion of "enlightening", which is the capacity of giving us understanding in the sense of an inferential ability. (shrink)
Of the six sections composing «The Methodology of Posive Economics», the first one («The Relation between Positive and Normative Economics») is apparently the less discussed in the F53 literature, probably as a result of being the shortest one and the less relevant for the realism issue, all at once. In view of Milton Friedman’s subsequent career as a political preacher, it seems difficult not to wonder whether this first section ruled it the way the other five directed Friedman’s scientific performance. (...) After all, the role of prediction in defining positive economics was already advanced therein: when an economist predicts, her results are «independent of any particular ethical position or normative judgments». This is also why positive economics is a politically relevant discipline: as long as the differences about economic policy –among disinterested citizens– derive only from different predictions about the economic consequences of taking action, these differences could be eliminated by the progress of positive economics. Our plan in this paper is to present, in the first place, the role of political motivations in the development of Friedman’s methodological stance. As we will discuss in §2, Friedman was involved in the policy-making process right from the beginning of his professional career, and could experience at first hand the relevance of economic predictions in generating a consensus not only among politicians or the public opinion, but among the profession itself. Conversely, Friedman could also appreciate how difficult was to reach a consensus on a particular policy when the economists disagreed on its practical consequences. In this respect, as we will see, «The Methodology» attempted at guaranteeing the political efficiency of economic research. However, the sociological turn in science studies suggests to question on what basis can we deem a prediction neutral. Is it simply that economists produce these positive predictions disinterestedly, even while deeply engaged in political debates? In §3, we analyse how Friedman himself produced predictions immediately before «The Methodology» was drafted, and how this procedure lies at the core of his Marshallian approach, which he contrasted to the Walrasian strategy on the grounds of its higher political relevance.. (shrink)
The surprise exam paradox has attracted the attention of prominent logicians, mathematicians and philosophers for decades. Although the paradox itself has been resolved at least since Quine (1953), some aspects of it are still being discussed. In this paper we propose, following Sober (1998), to translate the paradox into the language of game theory to clarify these aspects. Our main conclusions are that a much simpler game?theoretic analysis of the paradox is possible, which solves most of the puzzles related (...) to it, and that this way of analysing the paradox can also throw light on our comprehension of the pragmatics of linguistic communication. (shrink)
Se discute el proyecto de la naturalización de la filosofía de la ciencia, a través de las teorías de Ronald Giere y Philip Kitcher. Ambas tienen en común la atención preferente que prestan a los procesos de decisión de los científicos individuales y la defensa de una concepción realista y racionalista de la ciencia. La comparación se lleva a cabo desde una triple perspectiva: su consideración como teorías darwinianas del desarrollo científico, su referencia a los modelos de la psicología cogni (...) tiva, y su posible coherencia con la tesis de la simetría defendida por los sociólogos de la escuela de Edimburgo. (shrink)
Our main aim is to discuss the topic of scientific controversies in the context of a recent issue that has been the centre of attention of many epistemologists though not of argumentation theorists or philosophers of science, namely the ethics of belief in face of rational disagreement. We think that the consideration of scientific examples may be of help in the epistemological debate on rational disagreement, making clear some of the deficiencies of the discussion as it has been produced until (...) now. Another central claim of our paper is that the common view according to which beliefs (and changes of beliefs) may exhibit and commonly exhibit a deontic status can be clarified in the light of Brandom’s approach to normative pragmatics and the pragmatic theories of argumentation that also have a normative character (here our example is van Eemeren’s pragma-dialectics). Our article highlights the similarities between both projects, similarities that to our knowledge were not noticed before. Finally, an important point of the article is that we need to take contextual elements into account in order to develop an adequate theory of disagreement. (shrink)
In this paper I want to present the guiding lines of a research programme into the economics of scientific knowledge, a programme whose ultimate goal is to develop what I would like to call a contractarian epistemology. The structure of the paper is as follows: in the first section I will comment on two conflicting approaches to the topic of rationality in science: the view of the rationality of scientific knowledge as deriving from the employment of sound methodological norms, and (...) the view of scientists as rational agents pursuing the optimisation of their own personal and professional interests. In section 2 I will try to make both approaches mutually consistent by showing that a competition among rational "recognition-seekers" is only possible if they agree in accepting some system of methodological norms. Section 3 will be devoted to analyse the main kinds and properties of these norms. Finally, in section 4 I will discuss a question which is far from being easy and innocent: why are scientific norms obeyed by researchers, once they have been established in a scientific discipline? (shrink)
The connection between scientific knowledge and our empirical access to realityis not well explained within the structuralist approach to scientific theories. I arguethat this is due to the use of a semantics not rich enough from the philosophical pointof view. My proposal is to employ Sellars–Brandom's inferential semantics to understand how can scientific terms have empirical content, and Hintikka's game-theoretical semantics to analyse how can theories be empirically tested. The main conclusions are that scientific concepts gain their meaning through `basic (...) theories' grounded on `common sense, and that scientific method usually allows the pragmatic verification and falsification of scientific theories. (shrink)
Methodological norms are seen as rules defining a competitive game, and it is argued that rational recognition‐seeking scientists can reach a collective agreement about which specific norms serve better their individual interests, especially if the choice is made 'under a veil of ignorance', i.e. , before knowing what theory will be proposed by each scientist. Norms for theory assessment are distinguished from norms for theory choice (or inference rules), and it is argued that pursuit of recognition only affects this second (...) type of rule. An inference rule similar to 'eliminative induction' is defended on the basis of such a possible agreement. According to this contractarian approach, both the explanation and the justification of scientific norms only need to refer to the preferences of individual scientists, without assuming the existence of 'collective' points of view. (shrink)
: Being scientific research a process of social interaction, this process can be studied from a game-theoretic perspective. Some conceptual and formal instruments that can help to understand scientific research as a game are introduced, and it is argued that game theoretic epistemology provides a middle ground for 'rationalist' and 'constructivist' theories of scientific knowledge. In the first part ('The game theoretic logic of scientific discovery'), a description of the essential elements of game of science is made, using an inferentialist (...) conception of rationality. In the second part ('Sociology of science and its rational reconstructions'), some ideas for the reconstruction of case studies are introduced, and applied to one example: Latour's analysis of Joliot's attempt to build an atomic bomb. Lastly, in the third part ('Fact making games'), a formal analysis of the constitution of scientific consensus is offered. (shrink)
Science Bought and Sold collects a large portion of the most relevant works on the 'economics of scientific knowledge production,' as well as other more recent and unpublished papers on the topic, and the long introductory essay by the editors is an illuminating guide to the field. In this critical notice, I argue that economic theorising about scientific research is providing a peaceful meeting point for many of the combatants in the 'science wars,' one from which both epistemic and political (...) questions about science can be more rationally set forth. (shrink)
Some peculiarities of the evaluation of theories within scientific research programmes (SRPs) and of the assessing of rival SRPs are described assuming that scientists try to maximise an 'epistemic utility function' under economic and institutional constraints. Special attention is given to Lakatos' concepts of 'empirical progress' and 'theoretical progress'. A notion of 'empirical verisimilitude' is defended as an appropriate utility function. The neologism 'methodonomics' is applied to this kind of studies.
I. A. Kieseppä's criticism of the methodological use of the theory of verisimilitude, and D. B. Resnik's arguments against the explanation of scientific method by appeal to scientific aims are critically considered. Since the notion of verisimilitude was introduced as an attempt to show that science can be seen as a rational enterprise in the pursuit of truth, defenders of the verisimilitude programme need to show that scientific norms can be interpreted (at least in principle) as rules that try to (...) increase the degree of truthlikeness of scientific theories. This possibility is explored for several approaches to the problem of verisimilitude. (shrink)
Se discute el proyecto de la "naturalización de la filosofía de la ciencia", a través de las teorías de Ronald Giere y Philip Kitcher. Ambas tienen en común la atención preferente que prestan a los procesos de decisión de los científicos individuales y la defensa de una concepción realista y racionalista de la ciencia. La comparación se lleva a cabo desde una triple perspectiva: su consideración como teorías darwinianas del desarrollo científico, su referencia a los modelos de la psicología cognitiva, (...) y su posible coherencia con la "tesis de la simetría" defendida por los sociólogos de la escuela de Edimburgo. (shrink)
Moulines’ arguments against several types of realism in his book Pluralidad y recursion are considered and a defence of scientific realism consistent with structuralism is offered as a plausible answer to Moulines’ criticisms.
The scientist’s decision of accepting a given proposition is assumed to be dependent on two factors: the scientist’s ‘private’ information about the value of that statement and the proportion of colleagues who also accept it. This interdependence is modelled in an economic fashion, and it is shown that it may lead to multiple equilibria. The main conclusions are that the evolution of scientific knowledge can be path-dependent, that scientific revolutions can be due to very small changes in the empirical evidence, (...) and that not all possible equilibria are necessarily efficient, neither in the economic nor in the epistemic sense. These inefficiencies, however, can be eliminated if scientists can form coalitions. (shrink)
The process of scientific investigation is reconstructed as a process of empirical approximation to the truth. This last concept is explicated as a combination of “degree of simmilarity between theory A and the strongest accepted empirical law at moment t” and the “degree of depth of this empirical law”. A number of methodological theorems are proved, and avision of science closer to sophisticated falsificationism is mathematically deduced from our definitions.
An epistemic notion of verisimilitude (as the 'degree in which a theory seems closer to the full truth to a scientific community') is defined in several ways. Application to the structuralist description of theories is carried out by introducing a notion of 'empirical regularity' in structuralist terms. It is argued that these definitions of verisimilitude can be used to give formal reconstructions of scientific methodologies such as falsificationism, conventionalism and normal science.
Raymond Boudon is the doyen of French sociology. His 2004 book The Poverty of Relativism counters the relativist plague with philosophical, historical, and comparative deconstruction and proposes an alternative: a cognitive notion of values that rehabilitates the notions of reason, correctness, and progress. More surprising is his rehabilitation of moral evolutionism that restores to it a human face. Will his efforts staunch relativism? Some considerations pro and con are offered. Key Words: relativism reason truth morality social (...) facts. (shrink)
Shankman holds that Derek Freeman “trashed” Margaret Mead’s reputation as a public intellectual by portraying her as a naïve and gullible anthropologist who perpetrated a serious error about adolescence in American Samoa. Shankman concedes that Mead’s Coming of Age in Samoa was factually in error but argues that her reputation in anthropology did not rest on it but rather on her extensive works on other societies. Ostensibly about Samoa, her book was rather a critique of American society and should be (...) judged as such. It is unjust that its factual errors undermine her status as a public intellectual. Fieldwork method and the lingering influence of inductivism are shown to underlie the controversy. (shrink)
In this paper, an attempt is made to solve various problems posed to current theories of verisimilitude: (1) the (Miller's) problem of linguistic variance; (2) the problem of which are the best scientific methods for getting the most verisimilar theories; and (3) the question of the ontological commitment in scientific theories. As a result of my solution to these problems, and with the help of other considerations of epistemological character, I conclude that the notion of 'Tarskian truth' is dispensable in (...) a rational (and 'realist') interpretation of the scientific enterprise. As a logical result, however, falsificationism will be vindicated. (shrink)