About this topic
Summary In the fairly strict sense understood here, the idea of a research program(me) was introduced and developed by Imre Lakatos in a number of papers in the late 1960's and early 1970's.  Lakatos may be seen as seeking some sort of reconciliation of the views of Karl Popper and Thomas Kuhn.  Lakatos characterized research programs as consisting of a hard core of central theoretical principles or laws, surrounded by a protective belt of auxiliary hypotheses.  Research programs are series or sequences of theories which are connected by the hard core of the program which all members of the program share.  The hard core of a research program is not open to modification.  However, the protective belt may be altered, and changes to the protective belt constitute shifts between different phases of the research program.  Research programs are capable of making progress in a theoretical sense when they make predictions, as well as in an empirical sense when the predictions are confirmed.  Programs are evaluated in terms of their progressiveness, and a rational choice between competing programs is made on the basis of comparative judgements of progress. In some respects, Lakatos's idea of a research programme is intended as a refinement of Kuhn's idea of a paradigm.  Larry Laudan later developed a related proposal with his notion of a research tradition.
Key works The classic reference for Lakatos is his paper  (see Imre 1970).  Lakatos addresses the question of how to evaluate competing theories of scientific method in his Lakatos 1971.  These and other papers are reprinted in his collected papers (see Lakatos 1978 and Lakatos 1978).  An important text relevant to the issue of research programs is Lakatos & Musgrave 1970, which contains contributions by Popper, Kuhn, Feyerabend, among others, in addition to Lakatos's 'Falsification and the Methodology of Scientific Research Programmes'.  Laudan 1977 contains good discussion of the idea of a research program, as well as related discussion of Kuhn, and Laudan's own idea of a research tradition.  An interesting discussion of Lakatos may be found in Ian Hacking's review of the collected papers (see Hacking 1979).
Introductions Chalmers 1982
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  1. added 2019-01-14
    Systemic Functional Adaptedness and Domain-General Cognition: Broadening the Scope of Evolutionary Psychology.Michael Lundie - 2019 - Biology and Philosophy 34 (1):8.
    Evolutionary psychology tends to be associated with a massively modular cognitive architecture. On this framework of human cognition, an assembly of specialized information processors called modules developed under selection pressures encountered throughout the phylogenic history of hominids. The coordinated activity of domain-specific modules carries out all the processes of belief fixation, abstract reasoning, and other facets of central cognition. Against the massive modularity thesis, I defend an account of systemic functional adaptedness, according to which non-modular systems emerged because of adaptive (...)
  2. added 2018-04-19
    Lakatosian Particularism.Howard Sankey - 2018 - Logos and Episteme (1):49-59.
    This paper explores a particularist element in the theory of method of Imre Lakatos, who appealed to the value-judgements of élite scientists in the appraisal of competing theories of method. The role played by such value-judgements is strongly reminiscent of the epistemological particularism of Roderick Chisholm. Despite the existence of a clear parallel between the particularist approaches of both authors, it is argued that Lakatos’s approach is subject to a weakness that does not affect the approach of Chisholm.
  3. added 2018-02-17
    Lakatos’s Challenge? Auxiliary Hypotheses and Non-Monotonous Inference.Frank Zenker - 2006 - Journal for General Philosophy of Science / Zeitschrift für Allgemeine Wissenschaftstheorie 37 (2):405-415.
    Gerhard Schurz [2001, Journal for General Philosophy of Science, 32, 65-107] has proposed to reconstruct auxiliary hypothesis addition, e.g., postulation of Neptune to immunize Newtonian mechanics, with concepts from non-monotonous inference to avoid the retention of false predictions that are among the consequence-set of the deductive model. However, the non-monotonous reconstruction retains the observational premise that is indeed rejected in the deductive model. Hence, his proposal fails to do justice to Lakatos' core-belt model, therefore fails to meet what Schurz coined (...)
  4. added 2018-02-17
    Lakatos: An Introduction.Brendan Larvor - 1998 - Routledge.
    _Lakatos: An Introduction_ provides a thorough overview of both Lakatos's thought and his place in twentieth century philosophy. It is an essential and insightful read for students and anyone interested in the philosophy of science.
  5. added 2018-02-16
    Bohr's Theory of the Atom 1913–1923: A Case Study in the Progress of Scientific Research Programmes.Hinne Hettema - 1995 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part B: Studies in History and Philosophy of Modern Physics 26 (3):307-323.
  6. added 2017-09-04
    Beyond Kuhn: Methodological Contextualism and Partial Paradigms.Darrell P. Rowbottom - forthcoming - In Moti Mizrahi (ed.), The Kuhnian Image of Science: Time for a Decisive Transformation? Rowman & Littlefield.
  7. added 2017-07-09
    From the Logic of Mathematical Discovery to the Methodology of Scientific Research Programmes.Zheng Yuxin - 1990 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 41 (3):377-399.
  8. added 2017-07-05
    The Methodology of Scientific Research Programmes and Some Developments in High Energy Physics in Imre Lakatos and Theories of Scientific Change.K. Gavroglu - 1989 - Boston Studies in the Philosophy of Science 111:123-133.
  9. added 2017-07-05
    Zahar on Einstein.Paul K. Feyerabend - 1974 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 25 (1):25-28.
  10. added 2017-06-30
    Explaining Same-Sex Sexual Behavior: The Stagnation of the Genetic and Evolutionary Research Programs.Karori Mbugua - 2015 - Journal for General Philosophy of Science / Zeitschrift für Allgemeine Wissenschaftstheorie 46 (1):23-43.
    This paper is an attempt to reconstruct the history of genetic and evolutionary theories of same-sex sexual behavior using Imre Lakatos’ methodology of scientific research programs . Although distinct, those two programs are complementary. Whereas the genetic program maintains that homosexuality is genetically inherited, the evolutionary program attempts to explain how such a gene, which apparently reduces the reproductive fitness of its homozygous carrier, is maintained in the population. This appraisal reveals that the two research programs have not been empirically (...)
  11. added 2017-06-30
    Philosophy, Science, and (Anti-) Communism: The Two Lives of Imre Lakatos.Roberto Festa - 2006 - Logic and Philosophy of Science 4 (1):247-253.
  12. added 2017-06-30
    Reconstructing Lakatos: A Reassessment of Lakatos' Epistemological Project in the Light of the Lakatos Archive.M. Motterlini - 2002 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 33 (3):487-509.
    Based on the material in the Lakatos Archive, this paper reconstructs, and then re-assesses, Lakatos' epistemological project by placing it in the context of the debate on the role of reason in the history of science, and of the justification of rationality as a normative notion. It is claimed that Lakatos' most fruitful ideas come from a peculiar philosophical combination of Hegelian historicism and Popperian fallibilism. The original tension, however, cannot be ultimately resolved. As a consequence, the problems that Lakatos (...)
  13. added 2017-06-30
    Lakatos’s Approach on Prediction and Novel Facts.Wenceslao J. Gonzalez - 2001 - Theoria: Revista de Teoría, Historia y Fundamentos de la Ciencia 16 (3):499-518.
    Lakatos’s approach to prediction and novel facts is of considerable interest. Prediction appears in his conception in at least three different levels: a) as an important aim of the research programs; b) as a procedure -a key method- for increasing our scientific knowledge both theoretically and empirically; and c) as the way to assess the scientific character of knowledge claims -means for evaluating results-. At all these levels he envisions a close connection between prediction and novel facts. The paper has (...)
  14. added 2017-06-30
    Lakatos's Philosophy Today.Wenceslao J. González - 2001 - Theoria: Revista de Teoría, Historia y Fundamentos de la Ciencia 16 (3):409-413.
  15. added 2017-06-30
    Rational Reconstructions Revised.Peter Machamer & Franccsca Di Poppa - 2001 - Theoria: Revista de Teoría, Historia y Fundamentos de la Ciencia 16 (3):461-480.
    Imre Lakatos’ idea that history of science without philosophy of science is blind may still be given a plausible interpretation today, even though his theory of the methodology of scientific research programmes has been rejected. The latter theory captures neither rationality in science nor the sense in which history must be told in a rational fashion. Nonetheless, Lakatos was right in insisting that the discipline of history consists of written rational reconstructions. In this paper, we will examine possible ways to (...)
  16. added 2017-06-30
    The Interdependence of the Core, the Heuristic and the Novelty of Facts in Lakanto's MSRP.G. Zahar Elie - 2001 - Theoria: Revista de Teoría, Historia y Fundamentos de la Ciencia 16 (3):415-435.
    In this paper I try to explain why Lakatos’s conventionalist view must be replaced by a phenomenological conception of the empirical basis; for only in this way can one make sense of the theses that the hard core of an RP can be shielded against refutations; that this metaphysical hard core can be turned into a set of guidelines or, alternatively, into a set of heuristic metaprinciples governing the development of an RP; and that a distinction can legitimately be made (...)
  17. added 2017-06-30
    Competing Research Programmes on the Origin of Life.Juan Manuel Torres - 1996 - Journal for General Philosophy of Science / Zeitschrift für Allgemeine Wissenschaftstheorie 27 (2):325-346.
    During the course of its short history the discipline concerned with the origin of life has given birth to several scientific programmes in the Lakatosian sense, two of the most prominent and widespread being those initiated by Oparin (life began from protein entities) and Muller-Haldane (life began from genetic entities). The present paper sets down the bases for the rational reconstruction of both views by identifying their hard core and some of their successive developments. An assessment is made of the (...)
  18. added 2017-06-30
    Mathematical Progress: Between Reason and Society. [REVIEW]Eduard Glas - 1993 - Journal for General Philosophy of Science / Zeitschrift für Allgemeine Wissenschaftstheorie 24 (2):235-256.
    It is shown how the historiographic purport of Lakatosian methodology of mathematics is structured on the theme of analysis and synthesis. This theme is explored and extended to the revolutionary phase around 1800. On the basis of this historical investigation it is argued that major innovations, crucial to the appraisal of mathematical progress, defy reconstruction as irreducibly rational processes and should instead essentially be understood as processes of social-cognitive interaction. A model of conceptual change is developed whose essential ingredients are (...)
  19. added 2017-06-30
    Lakatos Und Politische Theorie.U. Steinvorth - 1980 - Journal for General Philosophy of Science / Zeitschrift für Allgemeine Wissenschaftstheorie 11 (1):135-146.
    Summary I try to apply Lakatos's metacriterion of the rationality of normative philosophies of science to normative political theories, stressing that Lakatos's metacriterion is not only an extension of Popper's idea of tests by potentially falsifyingdescriptive basic judgments to tests by potentially falsifyingnormative judgments. Rather, its application is a test by demonstrating the tested theory's capability of reconstructing its own history as rational. Finally I argue that the tradition of utilitarian political theories is fittest to be confirmed by a Lakatosian (...)
  20. added 2017-06-30
    Towards a Theory of Mathematical Research Programmes (II).Michael Hallett - 1979 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 30 (2):135-159.
  21. added 2017-06-30
    The Methodology of Scientific Research Programmes: Philosophical Papers.Imre Lakatos, John Worrall & Gregory Currie - 1979 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 30 (4):381-402.
  22. added 2017-06-30
    Imre Lakatos.Paul Feyerabend - 1975 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 26 (1):1-18.
  23. added 2017-06-30
    Nachruf Auf Imre Lakatos.John Worrall - 1974 - Journal for General Philosophy of Science / Zeitschrift für Allgemeine Wissenschaftstheorie 5 (2):i-217.
  24. added 2017-02-16
    A Methodological Note on Proving Agreement Between the Elementary Process Theory and Modern Interaction Theories.Cabbolet Marcoen - manuscript
    The Elementary Process Theory (EPT) is a collection of seven elementary process-physical principles that describe the individual processes by which interactions have to take place for repulsive gravity to exist. One of the two main problems of the EPT is that there is no proof that the four fundamental interactions (gravitational, electromagnetic, strong, and weak) as we know them can take place in the elementary processes described by the EPT. This paper sets forth the method by which it can be (...)
  25. added 2017-02-15
    Introduction to the Archives of Imre Lakatos, 1922-1974.Sue Donnelly - 2006 - Perspectives on Science 14 (3):347-353.
  26. added 2017-02-15
    Einstein's Revolution: A Study in Heuristic. Elie Zahar.Robert DiSalle - 1990 - Isis 81 (4):809-810.
  27. added 2017-02-15
    Lakatos Und Bohrs Programm.Martin Carrier - 1983 - Journal for General Philosophy of Science / Zeitschrift für Allgemeine Wissenschaftstheorie 14 (2):368-371.
    In a paper published in this Journal, Hans Radder argues that a detailed analysis of the degenerating phase of Bohr's programme reveals the basic incorrectness of Lakatos' own reconstruction of this period. Furthermore the corrected version shows the impossibility to account for the development in Lakatosian concepts. In this reply I try to point out that a slight modification of Lakatos' reconstruction is sufficient for reconciling the theory with the historical data. It is not Lakatos's theory itself that causes the (...)
  28. added 2016-12-08
    Imre Lakatos and the Guises of Reason.John Kadvany - 2001 - Duke University Press.
    The Hungarian émigré Imre Lakatos earned a worldwide reputation through the influential philosophy of science debates involving Thomas Kuhn, Paul Feyerabend, and Sir Karl Popper. In _Imre Lakatos and the Guises of Reason_ John Kadvany shows that embedded in Lakatos’s English-language work is a remarkable historical philosophy rooted in his Hungarian past. Below the surface of his life as an Anglo-American philosopher of science and mathematics, Lakatos covertly introduced novel transformations of Hegelian and Marxist ideas about historiography, skepticism, criticism, and (...)
  29. added 2016-12-07
    The Methodological Problems of Theory Unification (in the context of Maxwell's fusion of optics and electrodynamics).Rinat M. Nugayev - 2016 - Philosophy of Science and Technology (Moscow) 21 (2).
    It is discerned what light can bring the recent historical reconstructions of maxwellian optics and electromagnetism unification on the following philosophical/methodological questions. I. Why should one believe that Nature is ultimately simple and that unified theories are more likely to be true? II. What does it mean to say that a theory is unified? III. Why theory unification should be an epistemic virtue? To answer the questions posed genesis and development of Maxwellian electrodynamics are elucidated. It is enunciated that the (...)
  30. added 2016-04-08
    Towards an Objective Theory of Rationality.Leslie Allan - manuscript
    Drawing on insights from Imre Lakatos' seminal work on theories of rationality, Leslie Allan develops seven criteria for rational theory choice that avoid presuming the rationality of the scientific enterprise. He shows how his axioms of rationality follow from the general demands of an objectivist epistemology. Allan concludes by considering two weighty objections to his framework.
  31. added 2016-02-26
    Philosophy of Science and History of Science: A Productive Engagement.Eric Palmer - 1991 - Dissertation, University of California, San Diego
    Philosophy of science and history of science both have a significant relation to science itself; but what is their relation to each other? That question has been a focal point of philosophical and historical work throughout the second half of this century. An analysis and review of the progress made in dealing with this question, and especially that made in philosophy, is the focus of this thesis. Chapter one concerns logical positivist and empiricist approaches to philosophy of science, and the (...)
  32. added 2016-02-24
    Imre Lakatos: A Critical Appraisal.Leslie Allan - manuscript
    Imre Lakatos holds a well-deserved primary place in current philosophy of science. In this essay, Leslie Allan critically examines Lakatos' theory of knowledge in two key areas. The first area of consideration is Lakatos' notion that knowledge is gained through a process of competition between rival scientific research programmes. Allan identifies and discusses four problems with Lakatos' characterization of a research programme. Next, Allan considers Lakatos' proposed test of adequacy for theories of rationality using his methodology of historiographical research programmes. (...)
  33. added 2015-10-18
    Lakatosian Methodology of Rival Research Programmes in Economics.Rinat M. Nugayev - 2010 - In Ildar Talip-Uli Nasretdinoff (ed.), The Problems of Cooperation.Moscow: Russian University of Cooperation. pp. 332-336.
    Pros and contras of Lakatosian epistemological theory-change model in respect to economics are considered. It is argued that one of the main shortcomings of the model is connected in its inability to treat the social factors.
  34. added 2015-09-05
    The Growth of Knowledge as a Problem of Philosophy of Science.Rinat M. Nugayev - 2006 - Filosofia Nauki (Philosophy of Science, Novosibirsk) 4 (31):3-19.
    The host of the growth of knowledge hallmarks, concocted by various philosophy of science models , is contemplated. It is enunciated that the most appropriate one is provided by methodology of scientific research programmes. Some salient drawbacks of the model, caused by the ambivalence of its basic notions, e.g. of the notions of ‘empirical content of a theory’, ‘progressive’ and ‘regressive’ ‘problemshifts’ can be mitigated by enriching the Lakatosian model with Nancy Cartwright’s results. To recapitulate: the genuine growth of knowledge (...)
  35. added 2015-09-05
    Special Relativity as a Step of Synthesis of Mechanics and Electrodynamics.R. M. Nugayev - 1986 - Scientia 121 (1-4):87.
    Einstein’s three 1905 papers (including special relativity) were parts of a single research programme delved into the fusion of classical mechanics and Maxwellian electrodynamics. Lorentz tried to solve the unification problem by a reduction of mechanics to electrodynamics (field electron model). The failure of his ether programme was due to the failure of attempts to construct an electromagnetic field-theoretical model of the electron. There were no such events as two independent scientific revolutions – quantum and relativistic – at the beginning (...)
  36. added 2015-09-04
    Origin and Resolution of Theory-Choice Situations in Modern Theory of Gravity.Rinat M. Nugayev - 1987 - Methodology and Science 20 (4):177-197.
    A methodological model of origin and settlement of theory-choice situations (previously tried on the theories of Einstein and Lorentz in electrodynamics) is applied to modern Theory of Gravity. The process of origin and growth of empirically-equivalent relativistic theories of gravitation is theoretically reproduced. It is argued that all of them are proposed within the two rival research programmes – (1) metric (A. Einstein et al.) and (2) nonmetric (H. Poincare et al.). Each programme aims at elimination of the cross-contradiction between (...)
  37. added 2015-06-20
    String Theory and General Methodology: A Mutual Evaluation.Lars-Göran Johansson & Keizo Matsubara - 2011 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part B: Studies in History and Philosophy of Modern Physics 42 (3):199-210.
    String theory has been the dominating research field in theoretical physics during the last decades. Despite the considerable time elapse, no new testable predictions have been derived by string theorists and it is understandable that doubts have been voiced. Some people have argued that it is time to give up since testability is wanting. But the majority has not been convinced and they continue to believe that string theory is the right way to go. This situation is interesting for philosophy (...)
  38. added 2014-10-29
    Metodologías rivales de la ciencia: las construcciones racionales como guía de la Historia.Imre Lakatos - 1974 - Teorema: International Journal of Philosophy 4 (2):199-214.
  39. added 2014-10-16
    De Epistemologie Van Gaston Bachelard.W. N. A. Klever - 1979 - Tijdschrift Voor Filosofie 41 (1):3 - 34.
    Outside France the epistemology of G. Bachelard is unknown ; in France his influence is considerable, especially on philosophers like L. Althusser, M. Foucault, G. Canguilhem, J. Hyppolite, M. Serres, G. G. Granger, D. Lecourt and many others. Bachelard occupies a strategic point on the crossroads of all theoretical debates concerning science. The fact that he seems to give satisfactory answers on the problems which have risen after the breakdown of the logical-positivistic philosophy of science, justifies an exposition and evaluation (...)
  40. added 2014-10-16
    On Compton's Research Program.Roger H. Stuewer - 1976 - In R. S. Cohen, P. K. Feyerabend & M. Wartofsky (eds.), Essays in Memory of Imre Lakatos. Reidel. pp. 617--633.
  41. added 2014-10-16
    Research Programs, Rationality, and Ethics.Gene D'Amour - 1976 - In R. S. Cohen, P. K. Feyerabend & M. Wartofsky (eds.), Essays in Memory of Imre Lakatos. Reidel. pp. 87--98.
  42. added 2014-08-04
    The Lakatosian Revolution.Joseph Agassi - 1976 - In R. S. Cohen, P. K. Feyerabend & M. Wartofsky (eds.), Essays in Memory of Imre Lakatos. Reidel. pp. 9--21.
  43. added 2014-08-04
    Falsificationism and the Methodology of Scientific Research Programs' in I. Lakatos and A. Musgrave.Imre Lakatos - 1970 - In Imre Lakatos & Alan Musgrave (eds.), Criticism and the Growth of Knowledge. Cambridge University Press.
  44. added 2014-04-02
    "Essays in Memory of Imre Lakatos," Ed. Robert S. Cohen, Paul K. Feyerabend, and Marx W. Wartofsky.Steven Bartlett - 1978 - Modern Schoolman 55 (3):292-294.
  45. added 2014-03-30
    Could Lakatos, Even with Zahar's Criterion for Novel Fact, Evaluate the Copernican Research Programme?Neil Thomason - 1992 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 43 (2):161-200.
    Why did Copernicus's research programme supersede Ptolemy's?’, Lakatos and Zahar argued that, on Zahar's criterion for ‘novel fact’, Copernican theory was objectively scientifically superior to Ptolemaic theory. They are mistaken, Lakatos and Zahar applied Zahar's criterion to ‘a historical thought-experiment’—fictional rather than real history. Further, in their fictional history, they compared Copernicus to Eudoxus rather than Ptolemy, ignored Tycho Brahe, and did not consider facts that would be novel for geostatic theories. When Zahar's criterion is applied to real history, the (...)
  46. added 2014-03-27
    Kuhn, Lakatos, and the Image of Mathematics.Eduard Glas - 1995 - Philosophia Mathematica 3 (3):225-247.
    In this paper I explore possibilities of bringing post-positivist philosophies of empirical science to bear on the dynamics of mathematical development. This is done by way of a convergent accommodation of a mathematical version of Lakatos's methodology of research programmes, and a version of Kuhn's account of scientific change that is made applicable to mathematics by cleansing it of all references to the psychology of perception. The resulting view is argued in the light of two case histories of radical conceptual (...)
  47. added 2014-03-23
    Beyond the Methodology of Mathematics Research Programmes.Corfield David - 1998 - Philosophia Mathematica 6 (3):272-301.
    In this paper I assess the obstacles to a transfer of Lakatos's methodology of scientific research programmes to mathematics. I argue that, if we are to use something akin to this methodology to discuss modern mathematics with its interweaving theoretical development, we shall require a more intricate construction and we shall have to move still further away from seeing mathematical knowledge as a collection of statements. I also examine the notion of rivalry within mathematics and claim that this appears to (...)
  48. added 2014-03-21
    Searching for the Holy in the Ascent of Imre Lakatos.John Wettersten - 2004 - Philosophy of the Social Sciences 34 (1):84-150.
    Bernard Lavor and John Kadvany argue that Lakatos’s Hegelian approach to the philosophy of mathematics and science enabled him to overcome all competing philosophies. His use of the approach Hegel developed in his Phenomenology enabled him to show how mathematics and science develop, how they are open-ended, and that they are not subject to rules, even though their rationality may be understood after the fact. Hegel showed Lakatos how to falsify the past to make progress in the present. A critique (...)
  49. added 2014-03-21
    Is Folk Psychology a Lakatosian Research Program?Bill Wringe - 2002 - Philosophical Psychology 15 (3):343-358.
    It has often been argued, by philosophers and more recently by developmental psychologists, that our common-sense conception of the mind should be regarded as a scientific theory. However, those who advance this view rarely say much about what they take a scientific theory to be. In this paper, I look at one specific proposal as to how we should interpret the theory view of folk psychology--namely, by seeing it as having a structure analogous to that of a Lakatosian research program. (...)
  50. added 2014-03-20
    Lakatos's Approach on Prediction and Novel Facts.Wenceslao J. Gonzalez - 2001 - Theoria 16 (3):499-518.
    Lakatos’s approach to prediction and novel facts is of considerable interest. Prediction appears in his conception in at least three different levels: a) as an important aim of the research programs; b) as a procedure -a key method- for increasing our scientific knowledge both theoretically and empirically; and c) as the way to assess the scientific character of knowledge claims -means for evaluating results-. At all these levels he envisions a close connection between prediction and novel facts. The paper has (...)
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