With his book The Nature of Mathematical Knowledge (1983), Ph. Kitcher, that had been doing extensive research in the history of the subject and in the contemporary debates on epistemology, saw clearly the need for a change in philosophy of mathematics. His goal was to replace the dominant, apriorist philosophy of mathematics with an empiricist philosophy. The current philosophies of mathematics all appeared, according to his analysis, not to fit well with how mathematicians actually do mathematics. A shift in orientation (...) should invoke the more general reflection that causal, genetic factors are as significant for epistemology as logical structure. As I am to a large extent sympathetic with Kitcher's proposal, my aims here will be simple: first I start presenting Kitcher's argument, and then I try to raise some doubts about his contribution. These doubts come probably from my unskilfulness to follow the torrential flow of Kitcher's ideas. (shrink)
This paper addresses the problem of the distinction between basic science and applied science. It also explores their differences with regard to technology. For this analysis, as well as a general epistemological and methodological approach, we study a particular case: information science. As the emphasis of the paper is on the category of applied science, it includes a critical analysis of Philip Kitcher's proposal. First, there is an examination of Ph. Kitcher's thought, because he has addressed this issue without offering (...) a clear distinction between the various categories. I then consider the contributions of I. Niiniluoto, which determine in a more genuine way the features that distinguish applied science from basic science. Here, I focus on the ideas of H. A Simon on the science of design, to the extent that it is an applied science. This then allows us to shed light on the disciplinary field of information science, which is characterized as an applied science of design. This is a case that shows the need to distinguish three epistemological and methodological domains: basic science, applied science and technology. (shrink)
Kitcher's philosophical approach has moved from the reflection on the nature of mathematical knowledge to an explicit social concern about science, because he considers seriously the relevance of democratic values to scientific activity. Focal issues in this trajectory - from the internal perspective to the external - have been naturalism and scientific progress, which includes studies of the uses of scientific findings in the social milieu. Within this intellectual context, the chapter pays particular attention to his epistemological and methodological evolution. (...) The analysis of Philip Kitcher's contents on progress begins with mathematics, a conception that follows a naturalist perspective. Thereafter, the growth of science comes to the front line, an advancement that he views according to realism and cognitive naturalism. Later, the social concern about science receives a visible consideration, when his vision of scientific undertaking is characterized following modest realism and social naturalism. After these four steps (philosophical context, progress in mathematics, the growth in science, and the social concern about science), there is an analysis of his philosophical-methodological framework in retrospective. This is continued by the presentation of the origins of this book and the bibliography related to this thinker. (shrink)
Philip Kitcher has developed a sort of inductivist-reliabilist justification for scientific realism. After distinguishing his argument from a well-known abductivist one (the "no-miracles" argument), I will argue that Kitcher's proposal cannot adequately meet the antirealist challenge. Firstly, it begs the question against the antirealists; secondly, it can hardly support a plausible - piecemeal - scientific realism. I will explore an alternative inductivist approach that exploits correlations between theoretical properties and empirical success. On my view, its prospects for avoiding the aforementioned (...) shortcomings are better than Kitcher's standpoint. I dare say, however, that an inductivist strategy alone cannot satisfy the demands of scientific realism since, in the end, an abductive move may well be mandatory for grounding it. (shrink)
The version of modest scientific realism I favor, real realism, does not depend on any weighty metaphysical doctrines about truth. It presupposes that we typically refer to objects that exist independently of ourselves. I argue that this approach can be reconciled with the insights of pragmatism, and that, in consequence, those inclined to pragmatism should have no quarrel with real realism.
While the earlier work of Philip Kitcher, in particular The Advancement of Science (1993), continues to inform his more recent studies, such as Science, Truth, and Democracy (2001), there are significant "changes of opinion" from those articulated in the 1990s. One may even speak of two different stages in the configuration of epistemological proposals. An analysis, from an empiricist standpoint, of the shifts between one and the other indicates further evolution towards realist positions but much more modest ones than those (...) previously endorsed. Kitcher qualifies former individualism with an ensuing defence of pluralism, vital to his effort to develop a social epistemology. The present centrality of the achievement of a well-ordered science , one that promotes the common good within the context of democracies, encapsulates recent variation in the work of Kitcher and may be considered one of the author's most defendable proposals, even including its classically empiricist resonance. (shrink)
This essay aims to disentangle various types of anti-realism, and to disarm the considerations that are deployed to support them. I distinguish empiricist versions of anti-realism from constructivist versions, and, within each of these, semantic arguments from epistemological arguments. The centerpiece of my defense of a modest version of realism - real realism - is the thought that there are resources within our ordinary ways of talking about and knowing about everyday objects that enable us to extend our claims to (...) unobservable entities. This strategy, the Galilean strategy, is explained using the historical example of the telescope. (shrink)
Circulation of ideas among philosophers is the core of Philosophy itself. The lack of this circulation can lead to obscurantism and cultural provincialism. The latter, for instance, afflicted Italy during the first half of the 20th century because of the close-minded neo-idealism of Croce and the mutual indifference of science and philosophy. Antonio Gramsci tried to overcome the problem of provincialism. In this essay, I explain how he attempted to overcome it. I focus on his conceptual categories like heg emony, (...) organic intellectual, national-popular and so on. (shrink)
In his literary works, Witold Gombrowicz has developed an interesting concept of a person entangled in a social sphere. A human being, according to the author of Ferdydurke, is an intrinsic being autonomically shaping his or her attitude in relations with other people. It is rather other people's circle, a social form, that fundamentally conditions the way a particular person thinks and acts. The depiction of an individual, portrayed by Gombrowicz, is a scale of attitudes ranging from the attitude of (...) total submission to a social form to the attitude of peculiar freedom from the form. In my article I raise the questions of broadly understood “province-center” relations in the context of Gombrowicz's anthropological theses. Is the attitude of conformity and imitative adopting of thinking and behavior patterns characteristic of the “province” or of the “center” does? Is the “province” doomed to imitative nature of thinking and copying of what the “center” does? Where is it easier to free oneself from the social influence and reach intellectual and cultural autonomy? (shrink)
After presenting a brief history of philosophy in Hispanic-America since the XVI century, we discuss whether the idea of province and empire is applicable to contemporary Hispanic-American philosophy, investigate the form these ideas adopt in this region, and inquire into the ways in which provincialism i s present in philosophical work. We conclude that there are three main groups that understand their peripheral position in different ways, with different views on the way in which they should insert into the mainstream (...) of Western philosophy. (shrink)
Universalism in science, when conceived in methodological terms, leads to the problem of the limits of science. On the one hand, there is “methodological imperialism” which in principle involves a form of universalism. On the other hand, there is the multivariate complexity – structural and dynamic, as well as epistemological and ontological – which represents a huge problem for methodological universalism, as may be seen with the obstacles for scientific prediction. Within the context of the limits of science, there is (...) a better understanding of the issues of expansionism and imperialism. 1. Varieties of Methodological Universalism 1.1. Levels of Methodological Analysis 1.2. The Historical Dimension 2. The Limits for Methodological Universalism: The Problem of Complexity 2.1. Obstacles to Methodological Universalism Due to Complexity 2.2. Methodological Universalism and the Obstacles to Predictors from the Angle of Complexity 3. Coda: Limits of Science, Expansionism and Imperialism. (shrink)
This article deals with various responses to the phenomenon of Orientalism. Since the publication of Edward Said s book _Orientalism_, there has been an ongoing discussion about the influence of Orientalism on contemporary social sciences in the East. In the West, Orientalism was an original theory, but in the East its acceptance was tantamount to an assimilation of foreign point of view on social reality. I argue that it is a symptom of provincialism among scientists from the East. Even though (...) most of them tried to overcome Orientalism, they used the same categories and methodology. In this sense they repeated its mistakes and misunderstandings. This article analyzes different attempts of overcoming Orientalism and shows why they are provincial. (shrink)
I explore the economic, social and cultural constraints of the regional mission of a university located beyond a metropolitan area or urban agglomeration, henceforth referred to as a “peripheral university.” In the first part of the paper, I briefly describe the “third mission” of a university and analyze it within the context of a “peripheral university”. The main constraints on the influence of regional mission and regional development are described. In the second part, I examine one type of a “peripheral (...) university,” namely a cross-border university, on a case study of a consortium of two universities: Viadrina University in Frankfurt am Oder and Collegium Polonicum – a department of Adam Mickiewicz University. I focus on issues like civil mission or problems of the regional contribution of a border university. I also analyze hidden-agenda concerns with respect to the trans-culture added value of the cross-border university. The ensuing analysis is based on interviews made with present and former rectors of those universities. (shrink)
In the essay part, various examples of provincial thinking in Polish culture are recalled. In the thesis part, the phenomenon of provincialism is considered more thoroughly. It is argued that provincialism can be thought of as involving a distortion of a normal division of labor within a scientific school into cre ators, correctors and applicators. The effect of provincialism occurs when this division is transferred onto whole cognitive communities: some play the role of the masters while others are expected to (...) play the role of correctors at best. (shrink)
According to the commonsensical model of educating researchers, young researchers must first acquire the knowledge achieved thus far and then solve new problems by developing applications of the accepted theory. This model, which presupposes a positivist theory of science, is incapable of explaining why the major breakthroughs in science have been carried out by young researchers. On the idealizational view of science, it becomes clear that commonsensical model must be rejected and replaced with an alternative, according to which the primary (...) duty of young researchers is to revise the existing theories. It is the young researchers who are usually creative enough, ignorant enough, and exhibit a sufficient degree of nonconformism, to be capable of developing really new scientific theories. (shrink)
The paper addresses the problem of the delay of the social sciences with respect to the natural sciences. It is argued that there are no special differences between them from a methodological point of view. The methodology of both can be understood in terms of the idealizational conception of science. Nor is the subject-matter the source of the problems. It is argued that it is the social placement of the social sciences within wider communities that is responsible for the delay.
The paper has two goals. First, I reconstruct Nowak's model of provincialism. Second, I argue that there is no room in this model for an intellectual superpower. An intellectual superpower is not simply a paradigm that is buttressed by economic, political, and social resources. Rather it is a network of paradigms that recognize one another as such. In so doing, they create a new quality on the scientific arena that surpasses all single paradigms.
Contacts between Polish historians, French historians and French centers of historiography – espcially with the prestigious milieu of Fernand Braudel's Annales – were unusual and extraordinary in comparison with other forms of scientific cooperation with foreign countries: both with the West and the “friendly countries.” Because of the undeniable uniqueness of these relations many scholars from various countries claim that the annalistic methodology “influnced” Polish historiography. What is characteristic, however, is that these statements are most often completely a priori. This (...) paper is a reflection on the nature of the methodological influence of one historical school on the other and discusses such a possibility, taking into consideration models of circulation of ideas proposed by Pierre Bourdieu and Jerzy Maternicki. It is also an attempt at answering whether historical sciences are able to freely interfere on a supra-national level or whether they are by nature characterized by provincialism, understood here as a limitation to national frameworks outside of which they cannot be understood. (shrink)
The paper is intended as a contribution to historical materialism. The authors are not interested in any historical-philosophical, still less in exegetical, problems. They believe that this intellectual tradition is relevant for understanding the social transformations ongoing contemporarily and for coping with practical problems to which these transformations give rise. Among the most important changes there are those labeled as “globalization” and the rise and development of “knowledge society” and “information civilization.” If one adopts this stance, one should admit that (...) the problems of space and culture deserve special attention. Discussing the ways these problems could be tackled in historical materialism, the authors use the ideas of Leszek Nowak and Immanuel Wallerstein. (shrink)
In times of modern information technology, the world of science is becoming smaller. Does this mean that there will be no more provinces? We do not think so. Setting out from Leszek Nowak's thought “province is where one thinks not on one's own account but on account of another,” we indicate a number of processes that perpetuate provinces. These processes are driven by specific access to scientific knowledge, by education, by new forms of communication, by shortage of financial support and (...) the concentration of resources. We look at the interplay between criteria of theory choice and location on the scientific map. Next, we explore the connection between geo-social and scientific provinces, taking into consideration political and cultural parameters. The conceptual framework of metropolises and provinces in science turns out to be, though not all-embracing, an extremely fruitful one. (shrink)
Firstly, disregarding multiethnicity, it can refer to a philosophy cultivated in a feature of a nation, for instance, its religion or character. This meaning can be illustrated by ext of the distinction between philosophical superpowers and philosophical provinces. Poland is taken as an example. The paper discusses the views of Kazimierz Twardowski, the founding father of the Polish analytic school. He expressed interesting views concerning how philosophy of provinces should be done in order keep its originality.
Foreword.Jan Wolenski - 2012 - Poznan Studies in the Philosophy of the Sciences and the Humanities 98 (1):9-11.details
On May 11th a round table discussion was held on the subject "The Interactions of Science and Art under the Conditions of the Revolution in Science and Technology ," organized by the editorial boards of the journals Voprosy filosofii and Voprosy literatury.