Franklin and Pickering agree that scientists in an experimental sequence, like the one to be discussed here, choose to accept certain experiments and their results as crucial, but disagree as to whether such choice can be justified in terms of an on-line estimate of evidential reliability. This paper suggests that it is possible to define a position between Franklin's Bayesian objectivism and Pickering's social constructivism. This position depends on considering the sequence of improvement in material technique and instrumentation (...) as more important than any measure of reliability determined merely from such factors as evidential spread in relevant sequences, a factor that neither Franklin nor Pickering takes sufficiently into account. (shrink)
This paper couples the variation and selection analogy utilized in evolutionary epistemology with the hermeneutical insight that novel data and theoretical texts are obscure in meaning. Dissensus must be valued as a distancing mechanism of variation on the space of possible meanings while argumentation attacks the initial obscurity. The objection that evolutionary accounts can only describe practice is countered by indicating how dissensus has normative purchase wherever science is producing novel text.
This paper is intended to explore Jeffrey's proposal for the measurement of the simplicity of scientific laws. The first part is a sketch of Jeffreys' development of a view on simplicity, which will be followed by a discussion of what seem to be some rather crucial defects in the proposal as it stands. It will be suggested here that no plausible way of countering these defects seems available.