Duhem—Quine underdetermination plays a constructive role in epistemology by pinpointing the impact of non-empirical virtues or cognitive values on theory choice. Underdetermination thus contributes to illuminating the nature of scientific rationality. Scientists prefer and accept one account among empirical equivalent alternatives. The non-empirical virtues operating in science are laid open in such theory choice decisions. The latter act as an epistemological test tube in making explicit commitments to how scientific knowledge should be like.
Funding policies for science are usually directed at supporting technological innovations. The im-pact and success of such policies depend crucially on how science and technology are connected to each other. I propose an “interactive view” of the relationship between basic science and technol-ogy development which comprises the following four claims: First, technological change derives from science but only in part. The local models used in accounting for technologically relevant phenomena contain theoretical and non-theoretical elements alike. Second, existing technologies and rules (...) of experience constitute another major repository of technological inventions. Third, technology dynamics is only weakly coupled to progress in basic science but it is closely related to science. There is a dependence of technological change on a more fundamental understanding, to be sure, but it is of an indirect and long-term character. Fourth, progress in basic research is some-times the effect (rather than the cause) of technological change. Technological change sometimes brings about increased theoretical understanding (application innovation). (shrink)
Transdisciplinarity includes the assumption that within new institutional settings, scientific research becomes more closely responsive to practical problems and user needs and is therefore often subject to considerable application pressure. This raises the question whether transdisciplinarity affects the epistemic standards and the fruitfulness of research. Case studies show how user-orientation and epistemic innovativeness can be combined. While the modeling involved in all cases under consideration was local and focused primarily on features of immediate practical relevance, it was informed by theoretical (...) insights from basic research. Conversely, industrial research turns out sometimes to produce theoretical understanding. These findings highlight an interactive relationship between science and technology (moderate emergentism), which is distinct from the traditional view of a one-sided dependence of technology on science (cascade model) and from the newly received independence account (emergentism). (shrink)
We reconstruct genetic determinism as a reductionist thesis to the effect that the molecular properties of cells can be accounted for to a great extent by their genetic outfit. The non-reductionist arguments offered at this molecular level often use the relationship between structure and function as their point of departure. By contrast, we develop a non-reductionist argument that is confined to the structural characteristics of biomolecules; no appeal to functions is made. We raise two kinds of objections against the reducibility (...) claim underlying genetic determinism. First, some conceptual distinctions at the protein level cannot be captured on a genetic basis. A one-to-many relationship between DNA sequences and proteins emerges from them. Second, the relationship between genes and proteins is characterized by explanatory loops or reciprocal explanatory dependence. The presence of proteins is explained by the transcription from corresponding DNA sequences, and the latter is in turn accounted for by the action of proteins. By contrast, a reductive account requires a unidirectional explanatory dependence. (shrink)
Following the philosophical work of Jürgen Mittelstrass, the papers presented in this volume justify this thesis and differentiate it in both its historical and its systematic dimension (including its practical philosophical implications).
I attempt a reconstruction of Kant's version of the causal theory of time that makes it appear coherent. Two problems are at issue. The first concerns Kant's reference to reciprocal causal influence for characterizing simultaneity. This approach is criticized by pointing out that Kant's procedure involves simultaneous counterdirected processes-which seems to run into circularity. The problem can be defused by drawing on instantaneous processes such as the propagation of gravitation in Newtonian mechanics. Another charge of circularity against Kant's causal theory (...) was leveled by Schopenhauer. His objection was that Kant's approach is invalidated by the failure to deliver non-temporal criteria for distinguishing between causes and effects. I try to show that the modern causal account has made important progress toward a successful resolution of this difficulty. The fork asymmetry, as based on Reichenbach's principle of the common cause, provides a means for the distinction between cause and effect that is not based on temporal order (if some preconditions are realized). (shrink)
Convergent scientific realism entails that science will sooner or later arrive at the final theory of the fundamental constituents of matter. At that stage, all fundamental truths about nature will be discovered so that the search for basic principle seems bound to come to a halt. I explore options for a non-convergent scientific realism that allows for sustained progress in basic research. I defend the views that the coherence of non-convergent realism requires an emergence claim and that this claim can (...) be supported. I develop the example of the relation between equivalence classes among biological functions and their physiological realizations. Given strongly emergent laws in the sense elaborated in the paper, progress in basic research may survive the discovery of the laws governing the tinymost parts of matter. (shrink)
Abstract It is argued that psychological explanations involve psychological generalizations that exhibit the same features as laws of physics. On the basis of the ?systematic theory of lawhood?, characteristic features of laws of nature are elaborated. Investigating some examples of explanations taken from cognitive psychology shows that these features can also be identified in psychological generalizations. Particular attention is devoted to the notion of ?ccteris?paribus laws?. It is argued that laws of psychology are indeed ceteris?paribus laws. However, this feature does (...) not distinguish them from the laws of physics, because such laws are found in physics as well. Moreover, the laws invoked in psychological explanations are genuine laws of psychology; they are not laws of other disciplines that are brought to bear on psychological problems. The conclusion is that if there are laws of physics then laws of psychology exist as well. (shrink)
One of the arguments advanced in favor of scientific realism is the 'miracle argument'. It says that for the anti-realist the predictive success of science appears as an utter miracle. This argument indeed has some prima facie plausibility, provided that it is sharpened by construing "predictive success" as prediction of previously unknown laws and the occurrence of a consilience of inductions. Still, the history of science teaches us that it is possible to arrive at predictive success in this sense by (...) employing radically non-referring theoretical mechanisms. The 'miracle argument' is thus unsound. Rather, the capacity of a theory to generate predictive success can be traced back to its "classificativity correspondence.". (shrink)
The aim of this paper is to discuss the relation between the observation basis and the theoretical principles of General Relativity. More specifically, this relation is analyzed with respect to constructive axiomatizations of the observation basis of space-time theories, on the one hand, and in attempts to complete them, on the other. The two approaches exclude one another so that a choice between them is necessary. I argue that the completeness approach is preferable for methodological reasons.
Kant's theory of matter is reconstructed and his views about and impact on chemistry are studied. His early "monadological" conception is analyzed and compared to other dynamical approaches of the period. His later attempt to regard matter as a continuum and to derive some of its properties from the interaction of forces is reconstructed. His conception of chemistry is examined and compared to the notion of some chemists who were inspired by Kant's work.
Abstract The paper addresses the question of how the unity of science can adequately be characterized. A mere classification of scientific fields and disciplines does not express the unity of science unless it is supplemented with a perspective that establishes a systematic coherence among the different branches of science. Four ideas of this kind are discussed. Namely, the unity of scientific language, of scientific laws, of scientific method and of science as a practical?operational enterprise. Whereas reference to the unity of (...) scientific language and of scientific laws does not provide a viable basis for the unity of science, the methodological and practical unity might. The unity of science can be characterized by the way in which methodological criteria enter into the assessment or evaluation of theories, and, moreover, by a transdisciplin?ary approach to problems. Accordingly, the unity of science is not expressed by theoretical uniformity but by the unity of scientific practice. (shrink)
Zusammenfassung Da Goethes Farbenlehre im allgemeinen allein unter dem Blickwinkel der darin enthaltenen methodologischen Thesen untersucht wird, tritt hier die Rekonstruktion ihres physikalischen Gehalts in den Vordergrund. Es zeigt sich auf diese Weise, daÃ die Farbenlehre als eine Verbindung physikalischer und sinnesphysiologischer Aspekte einige der zentralen Versuche der Newtonschen Optik angemessen interpretieren kann. Die Diskussion der Methodologie zeitigt anschlieÃend ein zukunftweisendes Element: die Erkenntnis der Bedeutung der MeÃapparatur fÃ¼r die Konstitution der Theorie. SchlieÃlich wird Goethes Naturbild und seine Aktualisierung in (...) den Bestrebungen der kritischen Theorie erÃ¶rtert. (shrink)