It is an unfortunate fact of academic life that there is a sharp divide between science and philosophy, with scientists often being openly dismissive of philosophy, and philosophers being equally contemptuous of the naivete ́ of scientists when it comes to the philosophical underpinnings of their own discipline. In this paper I explore the possibility of reducing the distance between the two sides by introducing science students to some interesting philosophical aspects of research in evolutionary biology, using biological (...) theories of the origin of religion as an example. I show that philosophy is both a discipline in its own right as well as one that has interesting implications for the understanding and practice of science. While the goal is certainly not to turn science students into philoso- phers, the idea is that both disciplines cannot but benefit from a mutual dialogue that starts as soon as possible, in the classroom. (shrink)
Genes are often described by biologists using metaphors derived from computa- tional science: they are thought of as carriers of information, as being the equivalent of ‘‘blueprints’’ for the construction of organisms. Likewise, cells are often characterized as ‘‘factories’’ and organisms themselves become analogous to machines. Accordingly, when the human genome project was initially announced, the promise was that we would soon know how a human being is made, just as we know how to make airplanes and buildings. Impor- (...) tantly, modern proponents of Intelligent Design, the latest version of creationism, have exploited biologists’ use of the language of information and blueprints to make their spurious case, based on pseudoscientific concepts such as ‘‘irreducible complexity’’ and on flawed analogies between living cells and mechanical factories. However, the living organ- ism = machine analogy was criticized already by David Hume in his Dialogues Concerning Natural Religion. In line with Hume’s criticism, over the past several years a more nuanced and accurate understanding of what genes are and how they operate has emerged, ironically in part from the work of computational scientists who take biology, and in particular developmental biology, more seriously than some biologists seem to do. In this article we connect Hume’s original criticism of the living organism = machine analogy with the modern ID movement, and illustrate how the use of misleading and outdated metaphors in science can play into the hands of pseudoscientists. Thus, we argue that dropping the blueprint and similar metaphors will improve both the science of biology and its understanding by the general public. (shrink)
Cosmological speculation about the ultimate nature of the universe, being necessary for science to be possible at all, must be regarded as a part of scientific knowledge itself, however epistemologically unsound it may be in other respects. The best such speculation available is that the universe is comprehensible in some way or other and, more specifically, in the light of the immense apparent success of modern natural science, that it is physically comprehensible. But both these speculations may be (...) false; in order to take this possibility into account, we need to adopt an hierarchy of increasingly contentless cosmological conjectures until we arrive at the conjecture that the universe is such that it is possible for us to acquire some knowledge of something, a conjecture which we are justified in accepting as knowledge since doing so cannot harm the pursuit of knowledge in any circumstances whatsoever. As a result of adopting such an hierarchy of increasingly contentless cosmological conjectures in this way, we maximize our chances of adopting conjectures that promote the growth of knowledge, and minimize our chances of taking some cosmological assumption for granted that is false and impedes the growth of knowledge. The hope is that as we increase our knowledge about the world we improve (lower level) cosmological assumptions implicit in our methods, and thus in turn improve our methods. As a result of improving our knowledge we improve our knowledge about how to improve knowledge. Science adapts its own nature to what it learns about the nature of the universe, thus increasing its capacity to make progress in knowledge about the world. This aim-oriented empiricist conception of science solves outstanding problems in the philosophy of science such as the problems of induction, simplicity and verisimilitude. (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)
Since antiquity well into the beginnings of the 20th century geometry was a central topic for philosophy. Since then, however, most philosophers of science, if they took notice of topology at all, considered it as an abstruse subdiscipline of mathematics lacking philosophical interest. Here it is argued that this neglect of topology by philosophy may be conceived of as the sign of a conceptual sea-change in philosophy of science that expelled geometry, and, more generally, mathematics, from the central (...) position it used to have in philosophy of science and placed logic at center stage in the 20th century philosophy of science. Only in recent decades logic has begun to loose its monopoly and geometry and topology received a new chance to find a place in philosophy of science. (shrink)
Against the ideal of value-free science I argue that science is not––and cannot be––value-free and that relevant values are both cognitive and moral. I develop an argument by indicating various aspects of the value-ladenness of science. The recognition of the value-ladenness of science requires rethinking our understanding of the rationality and responsibility of science. Its rationality cannot be seen as merely instrumental––as it was seen by the ideal of value-free science––for this would result in (...) limiting the autonomy of science and reducing scientists to “minds to hire”. The scientific rationality must be seen as practical rationality which takes into account the full horizon of values. The scientific responsibility must also be broaden in scope and type. On this basis I draw three practical conclusions concerning the organization of research and training of young scientists, appealing to Plato’s claim that those most capable of healing are also those most capable of harming. (shrink)
This is a review of Craig Dilworth's The Metaphysics of Science (Dordrecht, Springer, 2007). The book propounds an immensely important idea. Science makes metaphysical presuppositions. Unfortunately, Dilworth ignores work that has been done on this issue which takes the matter much further than he does.
Cognitive science has always included multiple methodologies and theoretical commitments. The philosophy of cognitive science should embrace, or at least acknowledge, this diversity. Bechtel’s (2009a) proposed philosophy of cognitive science, however, applies only to representationalist and mechanist cognitive science, ignoring the substantial minority of dynamically oriented cognitive scientists. As an example of nonrepresentational, dynamical cognitive science, we describe strong anticipation as a model for circadian systems (Stepp & Turvey, 2009). We then propose a philosophy of (...)science appropriate to nonrepresentational, dynamical cognitive science. (shrink)
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)
In this paper I will argue that a profile of the pseudo-sciences can be gained from the scientific pretensions of the pseudo-scientist. These pretensions provide two yardsticks which together take care of the charge of scientific prejudice that any suggested demarcation of pseudo-science has to face. To demonstrate that my analysis has teeth I will apply it to Freud and modern-day Bach-kabbalists. Against Laudan I will argue that the problem of demarcation is not a pseudo-problem, though the discussion will (...) bear out that Laudan's replacement question, namely the question whether someone's theory is well-confirmed, is not, as Lugg claimed, independent of the question as to whether that person is a pseudo-scientist. I further argue that my prototype pseudo-scientists do not have the shortcomings highlighted in Thagard's recent analysis of pseudo-science. (shrink)
Sciences are often regarded as providing the best, or, ideally, exact, knowledge of the world, especially in providing laws of nature. Ilya Prigogine, who was awarded the Nobel Prize for his theory of non-equilibrium chemical processes—this being also an important attempt to bridge the gap between exact and non-exact sciences [mentioned in the Presentation Speech by Professor Stig Claesson (nobelprize.org, The Nobel Prize in Chemistry 1977)]—has had this ideal in mind when trying to formulate a new kind of science. (...) Philosophers of science distinguish theory and reality, examining relations between these two. Nancy Cartwright’s distinction of fundamental and phenomenological laws, Rein Vihalemm’s conception of the peculiarity of the exact sciences, and Ronald Giere’s account of models in science and science as a set of models are deployed in this article to criticise the common view of science and analyse Ilya Prigogine’s view in particular. We will conclude that on a more abstract, philosophical level, Prigogine’s understanding of science doesn’t differ from the common understanding. (shrink)
This article critically reviews an outstanding collection of new essays addressing Edmund Husserl’s Crisis of European Sciences. In Science and the Life-World (Stanford, 2010), David Hyder and Hans-Jörg Rheinberger bring together an impressive range of first-rate philosophers and historians. The collection explicates key concepts in Husserl’s often obscure work, compares Husserl’s phenomenology of science to the parallel tradition of historical epistemology, and provocatively challenges Husserl’s views on science. The explications are uniformly clear and helpful, the comparative work (...) intriguing, and the criticisms interesting but uneven. The article also elaborates on Husserl’s phenomenological method as it relates to the historiography of science, and compares his views on mathematical idealisation to more recent work in the analytical tradition. (shrink)
Debates over the politicization of science have led some to claim that scientists have or should have a “right to research.” This article examines the political meaning and implications of the right to research with respect to different historical conceptions of rights. The more common “liberal” view sees rights as protections against social and political interference. The “republican” view, in contrast, conceives rights as claims to civic membership. Building on the republican view of rights, this article conceives the right (...) to research as embedding science more firmly and explicitly within society, rather than sheltering science from society. From this perspective, all citizens should enjoy a general right to free inquiry, but this right to inquiry does not necessarily encompass all scientific research. Because rights are most reliably protected when embedded within democratic culture and institutions, claims for a right to research should be considered in light of how the research in question contributes to democracy. By putting both research and rights in a social context, this article shows that the claim for a right to research is best understood, not as a guarantee for public support of science, but as a way to initiate public deliberation and debate about which sorts of inquiry deserve public support. (shrink)
The very idea of a general philosophy of science relies on the assumption that there is this thing called science—as opposed to the various individual sciences. In this programmatic piece I make a case for the claim that general philosophy of science is the philosophy of science in general or science as such. Part of my narrative makes use of history, for two reasons. First, general philosophy of science is itself characterised by an intellectual (...) tradition which aimed to develop a coherent philosophical view of science, qua a part of culture with distinctive epistemic features and a distinctive relation to reality. But, second, this tradition went through some important conceptual shifts which re-oriented it and made it more sensitive to the actual development of science itself. The historical narrative focuses on three such moments: the defining moment, associated with Aristotle, and two major conceptual turns, related to Kant and Duhem. The pressures on the very idea of a general philosophy of science that followed the collapse of the macro-models of science that became popular in the 1960s, the pressures that lay all of the emphasis on fragmentation and not on integration, can be dealt with by a new synthesis within general philosophy of science of the constitutive and the historical, in light of the intellectual tradition that has defined it. (shrink)
There is a need to bring about a revolution in the philosophy of science, interpreted to be both the academic discipline, and the official view of the aims and methods of science upheld by the scientific community. At present both are dominated by the view that in science theories are chosen on the basis of empirical considerations alone, nothing being permanently accepted as a part of scientific knowledge independently of evidence. Biasing choice of theory in the direction (...) of simplicity, unity or explanatory power does not permanently commit science to the thesis that nature is simple or unified. This current ‘paradigm’ is, I argue, untenable. We need a new paradigm, which acknowledges that science makes a hierarchy of metaphysical assumptions concerning the comprehensibility and knowability of the universe, theories being chosen partly on the basis of compatibility with these assumptions. Eleven arguments are given for favouring this new ‘paradigm’ over the current one. (shrink)
Cognitive science has always included multiple methodologies and theoretical commitments. The philosophy of cognitive science should embrace, or at least acknowledge, this diversity. Bechtel's (2009a) proposed philosophy of cognitive science, however, applies only to representationalist and mechanist cognitive science, ignoring the substantial minority of dynamically-oriented cognitive scientists. As an example of non-representational, dynamical cognitive science, we describe strong anticipation as a model for circadian systems (Stepp and Turvey 2009). We then propose a philosophy of (...) class='Hi'>science appropriate to non-representational, dynamical cognitive science. (shrink)
Functional reductionism concerning mental properties has recently been advocated by Jaegwon Kim in order to solve the problem of the 'causal exclusion' of the mental. Adopting a reductionist strategy first proposed by David Lewis, he regards psychological properties as being 'higher-order' properties functionally defined over 'lower-order' properties, which are causally efficacious. Though functional reductionism is compatible with the multiple realizability of psychological properties, it is blocked if psychological properties are subdivided or crosscut by neurophysiological properties. I argue that there is (...) recent evidence from cognitive neuroscience that shows that this is the case for the psychological property of fear. Though this may suggest that some psychological properties should be revised in order to conform to those of neurophysiology, the history of science demonstrates that this is not always the outcome, particularly with properties that play an important role in our folk theories and are central to human concerns. (shrink)
This paper gives a philosophical outline of the initial foundations of politics as presented in the work of Plato and argues why this traditional philosophical approach can no longer serve as the foundation of politics. The argumentation is mainly based on the work of Latour (1993, 1997, 1999a, 2004, 2005, 2007, 2008) and consists of five parts. In the first section I elaborate on the initial categorization of politics and science as represented by Plato in his Republic. In the (...) second section I discuss the gap between humans and non-humans and how they are tied together in actual real life political topics. In the third section I elaborate on the concepts of political and scientific discourse and how they are thought of as separated fields based on the ancient constitution of human society. In the fourth section I link the concepts of matter of fact and matter of concern. In a final section I present a redefinition of the nature of politics as represented in the work of Bruno Latour as an alternative foundation for the study of political systems. (shrink)
Scholars in science and technology studies (STS) have recently been called upon to advise governments on the design of procedures for public engagement. Any such instrumental function should be carried out consistently with STS’s interpretive and normative obligations as a social science discipline. This article illustrates how such threefold integration can be achieved by reviewing current US participatory politics against a 70-year backdrop of tacit constitutional developments in governing science and technology. Two broad cycles of constitutional adjustment (...) are discerned: the first enlarging the scope of state action as well as public participation, with liberalized rules of access and sympathetic judicial review; the second cutting back on the role of the state, fostering the rise of an academic-industrial complex for technology transfer, and privatizing value debates through increasing delegation to professional ethicists. New rules for public engagement in the United Sates should take account of these historical developments and seek to counteract some of the anti-democratic tendencies observable in recent decades. (shrink)
There is much good work for philosophers to do in cognitive science if they adopt the constructive attitude that prevails in science, work toward testable hypotheses, and take on the task of clarifying the relationship between the scientiﬁc concepts and the everyday concepts with which we conduct our moral lives.
A variety of inaccurate claims about Gold's Theorem have appeared in the cognitive science literature. I begin by characterizing the logic of this theorem and its proof. I then examine several claims about Gold's Theorem, and I show why they are false. Finally, I assess the significance of Gold's Theorem for cognitive science.
Epistemic trust is crucial for science. This article aims to identify the kinds of assumptions that are involved in epistemic trust as it is required for the successful operation of science as a collective epistemic enterprise. The relevant kind of reliance should involve working from the assumption that the epistemic endeavors of others are appropriately geared towards the truth, but the exact content of this assumption is more difficult to analyze than it might appear. The root of the (...) problem is that methodological decisions in science typically involve a complex trade-off between the reliability of positive results, the reliability of negative results, and the investigation's power (the rate at which it delivers definitive results). Which balance between these is the ‘correct’ one can only be determined in light of an evaluation of the consequences of all the different possible outcomes of the inquiry. What it means for the investigation to be ‘appropriately geared towards the truth’ thus depends on certain value judgments. I conclude that in the optimal case, trusting someone in her capacity as an information provider also involves a reliance on her having the right attitude towards the possible consequences of her epistemic work. 1 Introduction2 Epistemic Reliance within the Sciences3 Methodological Conventionalism4 Trust in Science5 Conclusions. (shrink)
The thesis that the practice and evaluation of science requires social value-judgment, that good science is not value-free or value-neutral but value-laden, has been gaining acceptance among philosophers of science. The main proponents of the value-ladenness of science rely on either arguments from the underdetermination of theory by evidence or arguments from inductive risk. Both arguments share the premise that we should only consider values once the evidence runs out, or where it leaves uncertainty; they adopt (...) a criterion of lexical priority of evidence over values. The motivation behind lexical priority is to avoid reaching conclusions on the basis of wishful thinking rather than good evidence. The problem of wishful thinking is indeed real---it would be an egregious error to adopt beliefs about the world because they comport with how one would prefer the world to be. I will argue, however, that giving lexical priority to evidential considerations over values is a mistake, and unnecessary for adequately avoiding the problem of wishful thinking. Values have a deeper role to play in science than proponents of the underdetermination and inductive risk arguments have suggested. (shrink)
My purpose in this brief paper is to consider the implications of a radically different computer architecure to some fundamental problems in the foundations of Cognitive Science. More exactly, I wish to consider the ramifications of the 'Gödel-Minds-Machines' controversy of the late 1960s on a dynamically changing computer architecture which, I venture to suggest, is going to revolutionize which 'functions' of the human mind can and cannot be modelled by (non-human) computational automata. I will proceed on the presupposition that (...) the reader is familiar with some of the fundamentals of computational theory and mathematical logic. (shrink)
In the course of the history of science, some concepts have forged theoretical foundations, constituting paradigms that hold sway for substantial periods of time. Research on the history of explanations of the action of one body on another is a testament to the periodic revival of one theory in particular, namely, the theory of ether. Even after the foundation of modern Physics, the notion of ether has directly and indirectly withstood the test of time. Through a spontaneous physics philosophical (...) analysis, this article will explore how certain aspects of the concept of ether have appeared in different branches of the history of science. (shrink)
Codes of ethics abound in science, but the question of why such codes should be obeyed is rarely asked. Various reasons for obeying a professional code have been proposed, but all are unsatisfactory in that they do not really motivate behavior. This article suggests that the long forgotten virtue of reverence provides both a reason to obey a professional code and motivation to do so. In addition, it discusses the importance of reverence as a cardinal virtue for scientists drawing (...) on the ideas of Paul Woodruff on the role of virtue in community. (shrink)
The Arab Spring of 2011 has highlighted an unprecedent fact in the region: it was the young and educated population who established the spearheading of change, and led their countries to democracy. In this paper, we try to analyze how science has been a key factor in these moves, in Tunisia as well as in Egypt, and how it can help to anchor democracy in these countries.
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)
The paper starts with the assumption that the Precautionary Principle (PP) is one of the most important elements of the concept of sustainability. It is noted that PP has entered international treaties and national law. PP is widely referred to as a central principle of environmental policy. However, the precise content of PP remains largely unclear. In particular it seems unclear how PP relates to science. In section 2 of the paper a general overview of some historical and systematic (...) features of PP are presented. In section 3 a specific case is discussed in greater detail. It is claimed that the escape of farmed salmon from fish cages in the Sea, and its eventual invasion of the breeding places of the wild salmon up the rivers, must be regarded a proper case for applying PP. Yet there is no single PP-strategy. Instead, four different strategies are presented, and all of them can be regarded precautionary strategies in the light of PP. The choice between these strategies is based upon personal values. In section 4 of the paper a general analysis is given which relates these different value perspectives to basic differences in risk aversion, which in turn are related to differing conceptions of nature and/or society. In the concluding section 5 some general consequences of the foregoing analysis are outlined. (shrink)
David Hull accounts for the success of science in terms of an invisible hand mechanism, arguing that it is difficult to reconcile scientists' self-interestedness or their desire for recognition with traditional philosophical explanations for the success of science. I argue that we have less reason to invoke an invisible hand mechanism to explain the success of science than Hull implies, and that many of the practices and institutions constitutive of science are intentionally designed by scientists with (...) an eye to realizing the very goals that Hull believes need to be explained by reference to an invisible hand mechanism. Thus, I reduce the scope of Hull's invisible hand explanation and supplement it by appealing to a hidden hand explanation. (shrink)
In pure science, the standard approach to non-epistemic values is to exclude them as far as possible from scientific deliberations. When science is applied to practical decisions, non-epistemic values cannot be excluded. Instead, they have to be combined with (value-deprived) scientific information in a way that leads to practically optimal decisions. A normative model is proposed for the processing of information in both pure and applied science. A general-purpose corpus of scientific knowledge, with high entry requirements, has (...) a central role in this model. Due to its high entry requirements, the information that it contains is sufficiently reliable for the vast majority of practical purposes. However, for some purposes, the corpus needs to be supplemented with additional information, such as scientific indications of danger that do not satisfy the entry requirements for the corpus. The role of non-epistemic values in the evaluation of scientific information should, as far as possible, be limited to determining the level of evidence required for various types of practical decisions. (shrink)
Neuroethology is a branch of biology that studies the neural basis of naturally occurring animal behavior. This science, particularly a recent program called computational neuroethology, has a similar structure to the interdisciplinary endeavor of cognitive science. I argue that it would be fruitful to conceive of cognitive science as the computational neuroethology of humans. However, there are important differences between the two sciences, including the fact that neuroethology is much more comparative in its perspective. Neuroethology is a (...) biological science and as such, evolution is a central notion. Its target organisms are studied in the context of their evolutionary history. The central goal of this paper is to argue that cognitive science can and ought to be more comparative in its approach to cognitive phenomena in humans. I show how the domain of cognitive phenomena can be divided up into four different classes, individuated by the relative phylogenetic uniqueness of the behavior. I then describe how comparative evidence can enrich our understanding in each of these different arenas. (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)
The widespread impression that recent philosophy of science has pioneered exploration of the “social dimensions of scientific knowledge‘ is shown to be in error, partly due to a lack of appreciation of historical precedent, and partly due to a misunderstanding of how the social sciences and philosophy have been intertwined over the last century. This paper argues that the referents of “democracy‘ are an important key in the American context, and that orthodoxies in the philosophy of science tend (...) to be molded by the actual regimes of science organization within which they are embedded. These theses are illustrated by consideration of three representative philosophers of science: John Dewey, Hans Reichenbach, and Philip Kitcher. [Copyright &y& Elsevier]. (shrink)
In contrast to the opinion of numerous authors (e.g. R. Rudner, P. Kitcher, L. R. Graham, M. Dummett, N. Chomsky, R. Lewontin, etc.) it is argued here that the formation of opinion in science should be greatly insulated from political considerations. Special attention is devoted to the view that methodological standards for evaluation of scientific theories ought to vary according to the envisaged political uses of these theories.
This article presents an in-depth analysis of past and present publishing practices in academic computer science to suggest the establishment of a more consistent publishing standard. Historical precedent for academic publishing in computer science is established through the study of anecdotes as well as statistics collected from databases of published computer science papers. After examining these facts alongside information about analogous publishing situations and standards in other scientific fields, the article concludes with a list of basic principles (...) that should be adopted in any computer science publishing standard. These principles would contribute to the reliability and scientific nature of academic publications in computer science and would allow for more straightforward discourse in future publications. (shrink)
The philosophical analysis of chemistry has advanced at such a pace during the last dozen years that the existence of philosophy of chemistry as an autonomous discipline cannot be doubted any more. The present paper will attempt to analyse the experience of philosophy of chemistry at the, so to say, meta-level. Philosophers of chemistry have especially stressed that all sciences need not be similar to physics. They have tried to argue for chemistry as its own type of science and (...) for a pluralistic understanding of science in general. However, when stressing the specific character of chemistry, philosophers do not always analyse the question ‘What is science?’ theoretically. It is obvious that a ‘monistic’ understanding of science should not be based simply on physics as the epitome of science, regarding it as a historical accident that physics has obtained this status. The author’s point is that the philosophical and methodological image of science should not be chosen arbitrarily; instead, it should be theoretically elaborated as an idealization (theoretical model) substantiated on the historical practice of science. It is argued that although physics has, in a sense, justifiably obtained the status of a paradigm of science, chemistry, which is not simply a physical science, but a discipline with a dual character, is also relevant for elaborating a theoretical model of science. The theoretical model of science is a good tool for examining various issues in philosophy of chemistry as well as in philosophy of science or science studies generally. (shrink)
Artificial Intelligence (AI) is a core area of Cognitive Science, yet today few AI researchers attend the Cognitive Science Society meetings. This essay examines why, how AI has changed over the last 30 years, and some emerging areas of potential interest where AI and the Society can go together in the next 30 years, if they choose.
Contrary to common views that philosophy is extraneous to cognitive science, this paper argues that philosophy has a crucial role to play in cognitive science with respect to generality and normativity. General questions include the nature of theories and explanations, the role of computer simulation in cognitive theorizing, and the relations among the different ﬁelds of cognitive science. Normative questions include whether human thinking should be Bayesian, whether decision making should maximize expected utility, and how norms should (...) be established. These kinds of general and normative questions make philosophical reﬂection an important part of progress in cognitive science. Philosophy operates best, however, not with a priori reasoning or conceptual analysis, but rather with empirically informed reﬂection on a wide range of ﬁndings in cognitive science. (shrink)
This is a sequel to my paper, "Searching for a (Post)Foundational Approach to Philosophy of Science", which appeared in an earlier issue of this Journal [Ginev 2001, Journal for General Philosophy of science 32, 27-37]. In the present paper I continue to scrutinize the possibility of a strong hermeneutics of scientific research. My aim is to defend the position of cognitive existentialism that combines the advocacy of science's cognitive specificity and the rejection of any form of essentialism. (...) A special attention will be paid to the notion of the thematizing project of scientific research. (shrink)
What follows from the suggestion to pay attention to what is in-between science and politics? Karen François’s paper “In-between science and politics” follows Latour in arguing for the need for political theory to get out of the Platonic cave that it still inhabits. Political theory needs to be brought into the wild through empirical studies of how science and politics in fact intermix. And the Latourian proposition needs to be strengthened by focusing on the embodied knowledges that (...) enable situated objectivities to emerge. Though worthwhile, these arguments are weakened by a superficial treatment of political theory and by a lack of attention to the difficulties involved in combining Latourian actor-network theory with the “strong objectivity” of standpoint theory. Most problematically the paper purports to define as an agenda (exploring the in-between of science and politics) what whole fields of inquiry have already been in full swing exploring for quite a while. The ‘turn to ontology’ in STS and social anthropology and the development of ‘empirical philosophy’ suggests what might be at stake in such explorations. (shrink)
Timely public engagement in science presents a broad challenge. It includes more than research into the ethical, legal and social dimensions of science and state-initiated citizen’s participation. Introducing a public perspective on science while safeguarding its public value involves a diverse set of actors: natural scientists and engineers, technology assessment institutes, policy makers, social scientists, citizens, interest organisations, artists, and last, but not least, politicians.
Summary The recent turn to the âcontext of discoveryâ and other âpostmodernistâ developments in the philosophy of science have undermined the idea of a universal rationality of science. This parallels the fate of the classical dream of a logic of discovery. Still, justificational questions have remained as a distinct perspective, though comprising both consequential and generative justification â an insight delayed by certain confusions about the (original) context distinction. An examination of one particular heuristic strategy shows its local (...) rationality; even as an efficient procedure of hypothesis generation, it carries probative weight. It will be explored in which respects such a strategy can be normative or contain normative elements. (shrink)
Anthropology and the other cognitive science (CS) subdisciplines currently maintain a troubled relationship. With a debate in topiCS we aim at exploring the prospects for improving this relationship, and our introduction is intended as a catalyst for this debate. In order to encourage a frank sharing of perspectives, our comments will be deliberately provocative. Several challenges for a successful rapprochement are identified, encompassing the diverging paths that CS and anthropology have taken in the past, the degree of compatibility between (...) (1) CS and (2) anthropology with regard to methodology and (3) research strategies, (4) the importance of anthropology for CS, and (5) the need for disciplinary diversity. Given this set of challenges, a reconciliation seems unlikely to follow on the heels of good intentions alone. (shrink)
If folk science means individuals having well worked out mechanistic theories of the workings of the world, then it is not feasible. Laypeople’s explanatory understandings are remarkably coarse, full of gaps, and often full of inconsistencies. Even worse, most people overestimate their own understandings. Yet recent views suggest that formal scientists may not be so different. In spite of these limitations, science somehow works and its success offers hope for the feasibility of folk science as well. The (...) success of science arises from the ways in which scientists learn to leverage understandings in other minds and to outsource explanatory work through sophisticated methods of deference and simplification of complex systems. Three studies ask whether analogous processes might be present not only in laypeople but also in young children and thereby form a foundation for supplementing explanatory understandings almost from the start of our first attempts to make sense of the world. (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)
The intersection of ELSI and science forms a complicated nexus yet their integration is an important goal both for society and for the successful advancement of science. In what follows, I present a heuristic that makes boundary identification and crossing an important tool in the discovery of potential areas of ethical, legal, and social concern in science. A dynamic and iterative application of the heuristic can lead towards a fuller integration and appreciation of the concerns of ELSI (...) and of science from both sides of the divide. (shrink)