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Summary The question of the nature of scientific progress arises from reflection on the nature of scientific change.  Change in science is not typically mere change nor is it typically a change of fashion.  Scientific change leads to scientific progress.  But how is progress to be conceived?  Some have thought of scientific progress in terms of advance on truth or the cumulative build-up of truth.  Others have been inclined to think of progress in terms of the growth of knowledge.  Still others have thought of progress in a way that does not require growth of knowledge or truth, so much as improved problem-solving capacity or efficacity.
Key works Concerns about the cumulative model of scientific progress may be found in Kuhn 1962, or in later editions, e.g. Kuhn 1962Laudan 1977 is a sustained discussion of the topic which proposes a problem-solving model of progress.  For a good introduction to Popper's views about science and scientific progress, see Popper 1962.  A recent proposal which understands scientific progress in terms of the accumulation of knowledge is found in Bird 2007
Introductions Niiniluoto 2008
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331 found
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  1. added 2019-01-08
    Scientific Progress: Why Getting Closer to Truth is Not Enough.Moti Mizrahi - forthcoming - International Studies in the Philosophy of Science.
    The aim of this discussion note is to contribute to the ongoing debate over the nature of scientific progress. I argue against the semantic view of scientific progress, according to which scientific progress consists in approximation to truth or increasing verisimilitude. If the semantic view of scientific progress were true, then scientists would make scientific progress simply by arbitrarily adding true disjuncts to their hypotheses or theories. Given that it is not the case that scientists would make scientific progress simply (...)
  2. added 2018-12-21
    Is Science Progressive. [REVIEW]Graham Oddie - 1987 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 38 (2):272-276.
  3. added 2018-12-19
    The Concept of Truth in a Historistic Theory of Science.Kurt Hübner - 1980 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 11 (2):145-151.
  4. added 2018-10-31
    The Bain of Two Truths.Vincent F. Hendricks - unknown
    A view among methodologists is that truth and convergence are related in such a way that scienti…c theories in their historical order of appearance contribute to the convergence to an ultimate ideal theory. It is not a fact that science develops accordingly but rather a hypothetical thought experiment to explain why science develops at all. Here, a simple formal model is presented for scrutinizing the relations between two truths and convergence.
  5. added 2018-10-31
    Realists Waiting for Godot? The Verisimilitudinarian and the Cumulative Approach to Scientific Progress.Andrea Roselli - forthcoming - Erkenntnis:1-14.
    After a brief presentation of the Verisimilitudinarian approach to scientific progress, I argue that the notion of estimated verisimilitude is too weak for the purposes of scientific realism. Despite the realist-correspondist intuition that inspires the model—the idea that our theories get closer and closer to ‘the real way the world is’—, Bayesian estimations of truthlikeness are not objective enough to sustain a realist position. The main argument of the paper is that, since estimated verisimilitude is not connected to actual verisimilitude, (...)
  6. added 2018-10-31
    Measuring the Success of Science.Ilkka Niiniluoto - 1990 - PSA: Proceedings of the Biennial Meeting of the Philosophy of Science Association 1990:435 - 445.
    This paper discusses alternative ways of defining and measuring institutional, pragmatic, empirical, and cognitive success in science. Four realist measures of epistemic credit are compared: posterior probability, confirmation (corroboration), expected verisimilitude, and probable verisimilitude. Laudan's non-realist concept of the empirical problem-solving effectiveness of a theory is found to be similar to Hempel's notion of systematic power. It is argued that such truth-independent concepts alone are insufficient and inadequate to characterize cognitive success. But if they are used as truth-dependent epistemic utilities, (...)
  7. added 2018-10-15
    Conceptual Development in Interdisciplinary Research.Hanne Andersen - 2012 - In Uljana Feest & Friedrich Steinle (eds.), Scientific Concepts and Investigative Practice. De Gruyter. pp. 3--271.
  8. added 2018-08-06
    The Noetic Account of Scientific Progress and the Factivity of Understanding.Fabio Sterpetti - 2018 - In David Danks & Emiliano Ippoliti (eds.), Building Theories. Heuristics and Hypotheses in Sciences. Cham:
    There are three main accounts of scientific progress: 1) the epistemic account, according to which an episode in science constitutes progress when there is an increase in knowledge; 2) the semantic account, according to which progress is made when the number of truths increases; 3) the problem-solving account, according to which progress is made when the number of problems that we are able to solve increases. Each of these accounts has received several criticisms in the last decades. Nevertheless, some authors (...)
  9. added 2018-08-06
    Sulla concezione noetica del progresso scientifico.Fabio Sterpetti - 2017 - Paradigmi. Rivista di Critica Filosofica 35 (3):135-155.
    Le principali concezioni del progresso scientifico sono tre: la concezione epistemica, secondo cui il progresso si verifica quando si verifica un incremento della conoscenza; la concezione semantica, secondo cui il progresso si verifica quando vi è un incremento delle verità; la concezione problem-solving, secondo cui il progresso si verifica quando si verifica un incremento del numero dei problemi che si è in grado di risolvere. La concezione epistemica è ritenuta la più compatibile con una prospettiva realista. Di recente, Dellsén ha (...)
  10. added 2018-07-29
    Hermann von Helmholtz, Philosophische Und Populärwissenschaftliche Schriften. 3 Bände.Gregor Schiemann, Michael Heidelberger & Helmut Pulte (eds.) - 2017 - Hamburg: Meiner.
    Aus dem vielfältigen Werk von Hermann von Helmholtz versammelt diese Ausgabe die im engeren Sinne philosophischen Abhandlungen, vor allem zur Wissenschaftsphilosophie und Erkenntnistheorie, sowie Vorträge und Reden, bei denen der Autor seine Ausnahmestellung im Wissenschaftsbetrieb nutzte, um die Wissenschaften und ihre Institutionen in der bestehenden Form zu repräsentieren und zu begründen. -/- Ein Philosoph wollte Helmholtz nicht sein, aber er legte der philosophischen Reflexion wissenschaftlicher Erkenntnis und wissenschaftlichen Handelns große Bedeutung bei. Vor allem bezog er, in der Regel ausgehend von (...)
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  11. added 2018-07-25
    Understanding the Progress of Science.C. D. McCoy - manuscript
    This paper develops a problem-solving account of scientific progress that takes understanding as the principal epistemic aim of science. It examines a recent paper of Bird's on scientific progress, argues for the primacy of understanding over knowledge in this context, illustrates the account using a Kuhnian picture of science, and defends it against knowledge reductionism.
  12. added 2018-07-20
    Popper and Maxwell on Scientific Progress.Leemon McHenry - 2009 - In Science and the Pursuit of Wisdom: Studies in the Philosophy of Nicholas Maxwell. Frankfurt, Germany: pp. 233-248.
    Karl Popper's celebrated theory of falsification provides a rigorous view of science but it has been criticized as failing to explain how science makes progress. In this essay, I compare Popper's falsificationism with Nicholas Maxwell's aim-oriented empiricism and examine the role that metaphysics plays in explaining scientific progress.
  13. added 2018-06-17
    Strukturwandel der Wissenschaft.Gregor Schiemann, Alfred Nordmann & Hans Radder (eds.) - 2014
    Mit Robotik, Digitalisierung, softwaregesteuerten Präzisionsinstrumenten und hochkomplexen Simulationsverfahren wird heute Technik zur treibenden Kraft der wissenschaftlichen Forschungspraxis. Gleichzeitig sieht sich die universitäre Forschung wachsenden gesellschaftlichen Einflüssen ausgesetzt und nähert sich selbst immer mehr der Industrieforschung an, woraus sich neue Fragen nach den Werten und der Objektivität der Wissenschaft ergeben. Derartig weitreichende Veränderungen haben zahlreiche Spekulationen darüber provoziert, ob sich in der Wissenschaftsgeschichte gegenwärtig ein Epochenbruch vollzieht. Dieser Sammelband setzt sich aus philosophischen, historischen und kulturwissenschaftlichen Perspektiven mit den Epochenbruchthesen auseinander, bestätigt (...)
  14. added 2018-06-16
    Epistemic Justification and Methodological Luck in Inflationary Cosmology.C. D. McCoy - forthcoming - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science:axy014.
    I present a recent historical case from cosmology—the story of inflationary cosmology— and on its basis argue that solving explanatory problems is a reliable method for making progress in science. In particular, I claim that the success of inflationary theory at solving its predecessor’s explanatory problems justified the theory epistemically, even in advance of the development of novel predictions from the theory and the later confirmation of those predictions.
  15. added 2018-06-01
    We Need Progress in Ideas About How to Achieve Progress.Nicholas Maxwell - 2018 - Metascience (2).
    Steven Pinker's book Enlightenment NOW is in many ways a terrific book, from which I have learnt much. But it is also deeply flawed. Science and reason are at the heart of the book, but the conceptions that Steven Pinker defends are damagingly irrational. And these defective conceptions of science and reason, as a result of being associated with the Enlightenment Programme for the past two or three centuries, have been responsible, in part, for the genesis of the global problems (...)
  16. added 2018-05-18
    Scientific Progress: Four Accounts.Finnur Dellsén - 2018 - Philosophy Compass 13 (11):e12525.
    Scientists are constantly making observations, carrying out experiments, and analyzing empirical data. Meanwhile, scientific theories are routinely being adopted, revised, discarded, and replaced. But when are such changes to the content of science improvements on what came before? This is the question of scientific progress. One answer is that progress occurs when scientific theories ‘get closer to the truth’, i.e. increase their degree of truthlikeness. A second answer is that progress consists in increasing theories’ effectiveness for solving scientific problems. A (...)
  17. added 2018-05-07
    Scientific Progress, Understanding, and Knowledge: Reply to Park.Finnur Dellsén - 2018 - Journal for General Philosophy of Science / Zeitschrift für Allgemeine Wissenschaftstheorie 49 (3):451-459.
    Dellsén has recently argued for an understanding-based account of scientific progress, the noetic account, according to which science makes cognitive progress precisely when it increases our understanding of some aspect of the world. I contrast this account with Bird’s ; epistemic account, according to which such progress is made precisely when our knowledge of the world is increased or accumulated. In a recent paper, Park criticizes various aspects of my account and his arguments in favor of the noetic account as (...)
  18. added 2018-03-31
    Karl Popper, Science and Enlightenment: An Idea to Help Save the World.Nicholas Maxwell - 2018 - Ethical Record 123 (1):27-30.
    Natural science, properly understood, provides us with the methodological key to the salvation of humanity. First, we need to acknowledge that the actual aims of science are profoundly problematic, in that they make problematic assumptions about metaphysics, values and the social use of science. Then we need to represent these aims in the form of a hierarchy of aims, which become increasingly unproblematic as one goes up the hierarchy; as result we create a framework of relatively unproblematic aims and methods, (...)
  19. added 2018-02-17
    Introduction: The Progress of Science.Rogier De Langhe - 2014 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 46:54-54.
  20. added 2018-02-17
    The Advancement of Science: Science Without Legend, Objectivity Without Illusions. [REVIEW]Carl Matheson - 1996 - Canadian Journal of Philosophy 26 (3):463-489.
  21. added 2018-02-17
    Legend Naturalism and Scientific Progress: An Essay on Philip Kitcher's : The Advancement of Science.Miriam Solomon - 1995 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 26 (2):205-218.
    Philip Kitcher's The Advancement of Science sets out, programmatically, a new naturalistic view of science as a process of building consensus practices. Detailed historical case studies—centrally, the Darwinian revolutio—are intended to support this view. I argue that Kitcher's expositions in fact support a more conservative view, that I dub ‘Legend Naturalism’. Using four historical examples which increasingly challenge Kitcher's discussions, I show that neither Legend Naturalism, nor the less conservative programmatic view, gives an adequate account of scientific progress. I argue (...)
  22. added 2018-02-16
    The Epistemology of Science—a Bird’s-Eye View.Alexander Bird - 2010 - Synthese 175 (S1):5-16.
    In this paper I outline my conception of the epistemology of science, by reference to my published papers, showing how the ideas presented there fit together. In particular I discuss the aim of science, scientific progress, the nature of scientific evidence, the failings of empiricism, inference to the best (or only) explanation, and Kuhnian psychology of discovery. Throughout, I emphasize the significance of the concept of scientific knowledge.
  23. added 2018-02-16
    A Curious Disagreement: Response to Hoyningen-Huene and Oberheim.Howard Sankey - 2009 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 40 (2):210-212.
    In this response, doubts are expressed relating to the treatment by Hoyningen-Huene and Oberheim of the relation between incommensurability and content comparison. A realist response is presented to their treatment of ontological replacement. Further questions are raised about the coherence of the neo-Kantian idea of the world-in-itself as well as the phenomenal worlds hypothesis. The notion of common sense is clarified. Meta-incommensurability is dismissed as a rhetorical device which obstructs productive discussion.Keywords: Scientific realism; Incommensurability; Meta-incommensurability; Paul Hoyningen-HueneArticle Outline.
  24. added 2018-02-16
    ¿Existen los descubrimientos científicos?Armando Aranda-Anzaldo - 1990 - Ciencia y Desarrollo 16 (93):85-97.
    Considerar un evento como descubrimiento científico es tarea compleja que, casi siempre, se ve influida por la sistematización de las investigaciones, la publicación de los hallazgos, o las ideas sobre la realidad del contexto donde se presenta.
  25. added 2018-02-10
    Verisimilitude and Belief Revision. With a Focus on the Relevant Element Account.Gerhard Schurz - 2011 - Erkenntnis 75 (2):203-221.
    The expansion or revision of false theories by true evidence does not always increase their verisimilitude. After a comparison of different notions of verisimilitude the relation between verisimilitude and belief expansion or revision is investigated within the framework of the relevant element account. We are able to find certain interesting conditions under which both the expansion and the revision of theories by true evidence is guaranteed to increase their verisimilitude.
  26. added 2018-02-02
    Empirical Progress and Truth Approximation by the 'Hypothetico-Probabilistic Method'.Theo A. F. Kuipers - 2009 - Erkenntnis 70 (3):313 - 330.
    Three related intuitions are explicated in this paper. The first is the idea that there must be some kind of probabilistic version of the HD-method, a ‘Hypothetico-Probabilistic (HP-) method’, in terms of something like probabilistic consequences, instead of deductive consequences. According to the second intuition, the comparative application of this method should also be functional for some probabilistic kind of empirical progress, and according to the third intuition this should be functional for something like probabilistic truth approximation. In all three (...)
  27. added 2018-02-02
    Inductive Inference in the Limit of Empirically Adequate Theories.Bernhard Lauth - 1995 - Journal of Philosophical Logic 24 (5):525 - 548.
    Most standard results on structure identification in first order theories depend upon the correctness and completeness (in the limit) of the data, which are provided to the learner. These assumption are essential for the reliability of inductive methods and for their limiting success (convergence to the truth). The paper investigates inductive inference from (possibly) incorrect and incomplete data. It is shown that such methods can be reliable not in the sense of truth approximation, but in the sense that the methods (...)
  28. added 2018-02-02
    Is Science Progressive?Ilkka Niiniluoto.Ernan McMullin - 1987 - Isis 78 (2):260-261.
  29. added 2018-02-02
    Book Review:Is Science Progressive? Ilkka Niiniluoto. [REVIEW]Jarrett Leplin - 1985 - Philosophy of Science 52 (4):646-.
  30. added 2018-01-28
    Science and Values: The Aims of Science and Their Role in Scientific Debate.Larry Laudan - 1984 - University of California Press.
    Laudan constructs a fresh approach to a longtime problem for the philosopher of science: how to explain the simultaneous and widespread presence of both agreement and disagreement in science. Laudan critiques the logical empiricists and the post-positivists as he stresses the need for centrality and values and the interdependence of values, methods, and facts as prerequisites to solving the problems of consensus and dissent in science.
  31. added 2017-08-16
    The Grand Pessimistic Induction.Seungbae Park - 2018 - Review of Contemporary Philosophy 17:7-19.
    After decades of intense debate over the old pessimistic induction (Laudan, 1977; Putnam, 1978), it has now become clear that it has at least the following four problems. First, it overlooks the fact that present theories are more successful than past theories. Second, it commits the fallacy of biased statistics. Third, it erroneously groups together past theories from different fields of science. Four, it misses the fact that some theoretical components of past theories were preserved. I argue that these four (...)
  32. added 2017-05-29
    A Priori Conjectural Knowledge in Physics: The Comprehensibility of the Universe.Nicholas Maxwell - 2005 - In Michael Veber & Michael Shaffer (eds.), What Place for the A Priori? Chicago: Open Court. pp. 211-240.
    In this paper I argue for a priori conjectural scientific knowledge about the world. Physics persistently only accepts unified theories, even though endlessly many empirically more successful disunified rivals are always available. This persistent preference for unified theories, against empirical considerations, means that physics makes a substantial, persistent metaphysical assumption, to the effect that the universe has a (more or less) unified dynamic structure. In order to clarify what this assumption amounts to, I solve the problem of what it means (...)
  33. added 2017-05-05
    Who is Afraid of Scientific Imperialism?Roberto Fumagalli - 2018 - Synthese 195 (9):4125-4146.
    In recent years, several authors have debated about the justifiability of so-called scientific imperialism. To date, however, widespread disagreements remain regarding both the identification and the normative evaluation of scientific imperialism. In this paper, I aim to remedy this situation by making some conceptual distinctions concerning scientific imperialism and by providing a detailed assessment of the most prominent objections to it. I shall argue that these objections provide a valuable basis for opposing some instances of scientific imperialism, but do not (...)
  34. added 2017-04-19
    Does Scientific Progress Consist in Increasing Knowledge or Understanding?Seungbae Park - 2017 - Journal for General Philosophy of Science / Zeitschrift für Allgemeine Wissenschaftstheorie 48 (4):569-579.
    Bird argues that scientific progress consists in increasing knowledge. Dellsén objects that increasing knowledge is neither necessary nor sufficient for scientific progress, and argues that scientific progress rather consists in increasing understanding. Dellsén also contends that unlike Bird’s view, his view can account for the scientific practices of using idealizations and of choosing simple theories over complex ones. I argue that Dellsén’s criticisms against Bird’s view fail, and that increasing understanding cannot account for scientific progress, if acceptance, as opposed to (...)
  35. added 2017-02-15
    Laudan's Model Criticised'.F. M. Akeroyd - 1993 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 44:385-388.
  36. added 2017-02-14
    Progress and Problems in Psychokinesis Research.Helmut Schmidt - 1992 - In B. Rubik (ed.), The Interrelationship Between Mind and Matter. Center for Frontier Sciences Temple University. pp. 39--56.
  37. added 2017-02-14
    Scientific and Technological Progress, Economics and Social Development.N. P. Fedorenko - 1980 - In E. P. Velikhov, Dzhermen Mikhaĭlovich Gvishiani & S. R. Mikulinskiĭ (eds.), Science, Technology, and the Future: Soviet Scientists Analysis of the Problems of and Prospects for the Development of Science and Technology and Their Role in Society. Pergamon Press. pp. 51.
  38. added 2017-02-13
    Anticipations of Progress: Historical Evidence for a Realist Epistemology.Kenneth Goodman - 1994 - In Dag Prawitz & Dag Westerståhl (eds.), Logic and Philosophy of Science in Uppsala. Kluwer Academic Publishers. pp. 273--295.
  39. added 2017-02-12
    Internal and External Influences in I. Hrusovsky's Conception of the Development of Scientific Knowledge.Jozef Vicenik & Milan Zigo - 2010 - Filozofia 65 (10):939-952.
    In the first part of the paper the authors describe Hrušovský’s model of the development of scientific knowledge, which, due to the influence of logical empiricism, he saw as cumulative, hypothetical-confirmationist and internalistic, i.e. taking into account only scientific factors. In the second part it is showed, that Hrušovský acknowledged the influence of the external factors, emphasizing at the same time the fundamental independence of scientific knowledge. He dismissed the vulgar eco nomism as well as the extreme internalism.
  40. added 2017-02-09
    Inventing Temperature: Measurement and Scientific Progress.Hasok Chang - 2004 - Oup Usa.
    In Inventing Temperature, Chang takes a historical and philosophical approach to examine how scientists were able to use scientific method to test the reliability of thermometers; how they measured temperature beyond the reach of thermometers; and how they came to measure the reliability and accuracy of these instruments without a circular reliance on the instruments themselves. Chang discusses simple epistemic and technical questions about these instruments, which in turn lead to more complex issues about the solutions that were developed.
  41. added 2017-02-09
    Scientific Progress.Jeff Foss - 1981 - Canadian Journal of Philosophy 11 (4):761-773.
  42. added 2017-02-09
    Problem-Solving, Research Traditions, and the Development of Scientific Fields.Henry Frankel - 1980 - PSA: Proceedings of the Biennial Meeting of the Philosophy of Science Association 1980:29 - 40.
    The general thesis that science is essentially a problem-solving activity is extended to the development of new fields. Their development represents a research strategy for generating and solving new unsolved problems and solving existing ones in related fields. The pattern of growth of new fields is guided by the central problems within the field and applicable problems in other fields. Proponents of existing research traditions welcome work in new fields, if they believe it will increase the problem-solving effectiveness of their (...)
  43. added 2017-02-09
    Scientific Progress.Gerald F. Hutchinson - 1938 - Thought: Fordham University Quarterly 13 (3):500-501.
  44. added 2017-02-08
    An Anomaly for Laudan's Pragmatic Model.Margaret Schabas - 1987 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 18 (1):43-52.
  45. added 2017-02-08
    Under What Conditions Does Theory Obstruct Research Progress?Anthony R. Pratkanis - 1986 - Psychological Review 93 (2):216-229.
    Researchers display confirmation bias when they persevere by revising procedures until obtaining a theory-predicted result. This strategy produces findings that are overgeneralized in avoidable ways, and this in turn binders successful applications. (The 40-year history of an attitude-change phenomenon.
  46. added 2017-02-07
    Laudan's Problem Solving Model.F. Michael Akeroyd - 1993 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 44 (4):785-788.
    A historical example is considered which conflicts with Laudan's Problem Solving Model [1981]. In the period 1840–85 chemists preferred a theory with 3 major conceptual problems (the Liebig Theory of Acids) to Lavoisier's which had only one major conceptual problem (why are the halogen hydrides acids?). The overall conceptual merits of Lavoisier's scheme have been revived in the modern Lux-Flood classification of Acids. Larry Laudan [1977], [1981] proposed a problem solving model of scientific rationality which not only applied to global (...)
  47. added 2017-02-07
    Book Review:The Advancement of Science, and Its Burdens Gerald Holton. [REVIEW]George Gale - 1989 - Philosophy of Science 56 (3):536-.
  48. added 2017-02-07
    Book Reviews : Problems of Scientific Revolution: Progress and Obstacles to Progress in the Sciences. The Herbert Spencer Lectures 1973. Edited by Rom Harre. Toronto: Oxford University Press, 1975. Pp. VI + 104. Can. $5.75. [REVIEW]D. L. Hull - 1976 - Philosophy of the Social Sciences 6 (4):375-380.
  49. added 2017-02-03
    Thematic Presuppositions and the Direction of Scientific Advance.Gerald Holton - 1981 - In A. F. Heath (ed.), Scientific Explanation: Papers Based on Herbert Spencer Lectures Given in the University of Oxford. Clarendon Press.
  50. added 2017-02-01
    Toward a Rational Theory of Progress.Menachem Fisch - 1994 - Synthese 99 (2):277 - 304.
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