About this topic
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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  1. Experiment as the Motor of Scientific Progress.Robert Ackermann - 1988 - Social Epistemology 2 (4):327 – 335.
  2. Replicative Nature of Indian Research, Essence of Scientific Temper, and Future of Scientific Progress.Shakuntala A. Singh Ajai R. Singh - 2004 - Mens Sana Monographs 2 (1):57.
  3. Laudan's Model Criticised'.F. M. Akeroyd - 1993 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 44:385-388.
  4. Problems of Scientific Revolution. Progress and Obstacles to Progress. [REVIEW]S. Alberchi & Lecce Milella - 1976 - International Logic Review: Rassegna Internazionale di Logica 18 (13-16).
  5. Epistemic Landscapes, Optimal Search, and the Division of Cognitive Labor.Jason McKenzie Alexander, Johannes Himmelreich & Christopher Thompson - 2015 - Philosophy of Science 82 (3):424-453,.
    This article examines two questions about scientists’ search for knowledge. First, which search strategies generate discoveries effectively? Second, is it advantageous to diversify search strategies? We argue pace Weisberg and Muldoon, “Epistemic Landscapes and the Division of Cognitive Labor”, that, on the first question, a search strategy that deliberately seeks novel research approaches need not be optimal. On the second question, we argue they have not shown epistemic reasons exist for the division of cognitive labor, identifying the errors that led (...)
  6. Progress in Economics: Lessons From the Spectrum Auctions.Anna Alexandrova & Robert Northcott - 2009 - In Harold Kincaid & Don Ross (eds.), The Oxford Handbook of Philosophy of Economics. Oxford University Press. pp. 306--337.
    The 1994 US spectrum auction is now a paradigmatic case of the successful use of microeconomic theory for policy-making. We use a detailed analysis of it to review standard accounts in philosophy of science of how idealized models are connected to messy reality. We show that in order to understand what made the design of the spectrum auction successful, a new such account is required, and we present it here. Of especial interest is the light this sheds on the issue (...)
  7. Lacunae, Empirical Progress and Semantic Tableaux.Atocha Aliseda - 2005 - Poznan Studies in the Philosophy of the Sciences and the Humanities 83 (1):169-189.
    In this paper I address the question of the dynamics of empirical progress, both in theory evaluation and in theory improvement. I meet the challenge laid down by Theo Kuipers in Kuipers (1999), namely to operationalize the task of "instrumentalist abduction," that is, theory revision aiming at empirical progress. I offer a reformulation of Kuipers' account of empirical progress in the framework of (extended) semantic tableaux and show that this is indeed an appealing method by which to account for some (...)
  8. Scientific Progress and Peircean Utopian Realism.Robert Almeder - 1983 - Erkenntnis 20 (3):253 - 280.
    I argue that (1) if scientific progress, construed in revolutionary terms, were to continue indefinitely long, then any non-trivial question answerable by the use of the scientific method would in fact be answered in a way that would allow for further refinement without undermining the essential correctness of the answer; and (2) it is reasonable to believe that scientific progress will continue indefinitely long. The establishment of (1) and (2) entails that any non-trivial empirically answerable question will be answered in (...)
  9. Craig Dilworth: Scientific Progress. A Study Concerning the Nature of the Relation Between Successive Scientific Theories. Craig Dilworth: The Metaphysics of Science. An Account of Modern Science in Terms of Principles, Laws and Theories. [REVIEW]H. Andersen - 1997 - Erkenntnis 47 (2):265-271.
  10. Conceptual Development in Interdisciplinary Research.Hanne Andersen - 2012 - In Uljana Feest & Friedrich Steinle (eds.), Scientific Concepts and Investigative Practice. De Gruyter. pp. 3--271.
  11. Craig Dilworth: Scientific Progress. A Study Concerning the Nature of the Relation Between Successive Scientific Theories. Craig Dilworth: The Metaphysics of Science. An Account of Modern Science in Terms of Principles, Laws and Theories. [REVIEW]Hanne Andersen - 1997 - Erkenntnis 47 (2):265-271.
  12. II. Lakatos and Progress and Rationality in Science: A Reply to Agassi.Gunnar Andersson - 1986 - Philosophia 16 (2):239-243.
  13. ¿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.
  14. Realism Rescued. How Scientific Progress is Possible.J. Aronson, R. Harr’E. & E. C. Way - 1994 - Open Court.
  15. Reviews-Realism Rescued: How Scientific Progress is Possible.Jerrold L. Aronson, Rom Harre, Eileen Cornell Way, Robin Findlay Hendry & David J. Mossley - 1999 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 50 (1):175-180.
  16. A Reappraisal of Duhem's Conception of Scientific Progress.Brian S. Baigrie - 1992 - Revue Internationale de Philosophie 46 (182):344-360.
  17. Scientific Instruments, Scientific Progress and the Cyclotron.Davis Baird & Thomas Faust - 1990 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 41 (2):147-175.
  18. Mathematics, Indispensability and Scientific Progress.Alan Baker - 2001 - Erkenntnis 55 (1):85-116.
  19. Progress and Rationality in Science. By G. Radnitzky and G. Andersson (Editors).Dominic J. Balestra - 1981 - Modern Schoolman 59 (1):70-72.
  20. What is the Problem of Ad Hoc Hypotheses?Greg Bamford - 1999 - Science & Education 8 (4):375 - 86..
    The received view of an ad hochypothesis is that it accounts for only the observation(s) it was designed to account for, and so non-ad hocness is generally held to be necessary or important for an introduced hypothesis or modification to a theory. Attempts by Popper and several others to convincingly explicate this view, however, prove to be unsuccessful or of doubtful value, and familiar and firmer criteria for evaluating the hypotheses or modified theories so classified are characteristically available. These points (...)
  21. Popper, Refutation and 'Avoidance' of Refutation.Greg Bamford - 1989 - Dissertation, The University of Queensland
    Popper's account of refutation is the linchpin of his famous view that the method of science is the method of conjecture and refutation. This thesis critically examines his account of refutation, and in particular the practice he deprecates as avoiding a refutation. I try to explain how he comes to hold the views that he does about these matters; how he seeks to make them plausible; how he has influenced others to accept his mistakes, and how some of the ideas (...)
  22. Scientific Progress, Understanding and Unification.Sorin Bangu - 2015 - In Iulian D. Toader, Gabriel Sandu & Ilie Pȃrvu (eds.), Romanian Studies in Philosophy of Science. Springer Verlag.
  23. Beyond Verisimilitude: A Linguistically Invariant Basis for Scientific Progress.Eric Barnes - 1991 - Synthese 88 (3):309 - 339.
    This paper proposes a solution to David Miller's Minnesotan-Arizonan demonstration of the language dependence of truthlikeness (Miller 1974), along with Miller's first-order demonstration of the same (Miller 1978). It is assumed, with Peter Urbach, that the implication of these demonstrations is that the very notion of truthlikeness is intrinsically language dependent and thus non-objective. As such, truthlikeness cannot supply a basis for an objective account of scientific progress. I argue that, while Miller is correct in arguing that the number of (...)
  24. The Progress of Science and Implications for Science Studies and for Science Policy.Henry H. Bauer - 2003 - Perspectives on Science 11 (2):236-278.
  25. The Evolution of Our Understanding of the Cell: A Study in the Dynamics of Scientific Progress.William Bechtel - 1984 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 15 (4):309-356.
  26. Crítica filosófica y progreso científico: cuatro ejemplos.J. B. Bengoetxea - 2010 - Teorema: International Journal of Philosophy 29 (1).
  27. Scientific Progress: A Study Concerning the Nature of the Relation Between Successive Scientific Theories. Craig DilworthScientific Revolutions. Ian Hacking.Roy Bhaskar - 1983 - Isis 74 (2):258-259.
  28. 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.
  29. Scientific Progress as Accumulation of Knowledge: A Reply to Rowbottom.Alexander Bird - 2008 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 39 (2):279-281.
    I defend my view that scientific progress is constituted by the accumulation of knowledge against a challenge from Rowbottom in favour of the semantic view that it is only truth that is relevant to progress.
  30. What is Scientific Progress?Alexander Bird - 2007 - Noûs 41 (1):64–89.
    I argue that scientific progress is precisely the accumulation of scientific knowledge.
  31. Scientific Progress: A Study Concerning the Nature of the Relation Between Successive Scientific Theory.Richard J. Blackwell - 1983 - Modern Schoolman 61 (1):59-59.
  32. Scientific Progress and the Prospects for Culture-Bound Syndromes.Charlotte Blease - 2010 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C: Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences 41 (4):333-339.
  33. What is Progress in Science?Hermann Bondi - 1983 - Epistemologia 6:87.
  34. Verisimilitude, Structuralism and Scientific Progress.Jesùs P. Zamora Bonilla - 1996 - Erkenntnis 44 (1):25 - 47.
    An epistemic notion of verisimilitude (as the 'degree in which a theory seems closer to the full truth to a scientific community') is defined in several ways. Application to the structuralist description of theories is carried out by introducing a notion of 'empirical regularity' in structuralist terms. It is argued that these definitions of verisimilitude can be used to give formal reconstructions of scientific methodologies such as falsificationism, conventionalism and normal science.
  35. The Specificity of the Scientific Field and the Social Conditions of the Progress of Reason.P. Bourdieu - 1975 - Social Science Information 14 (6):19-47.
  36. Evidence and Warrants for Belief in a College Astronomy Course.Nancy W. Brickhouse, Zoubeida R. Dagher, Harry L. Shipman & William J. Letts - 2002 - Science & Education 11 (6):573-588.
  37. An Alternative to Kitcher's Theory of Conceptual Progress and His Account of the Change of the Gene Concept.Ingo Brigandt - manuscript
    The present paper discusses Kitcher’s framework for studying conceptual change and progress. Kitcher’s core notion of reference potential is hard to apply to concrete cases. In addition, an account of conceptual change as change in reference potential misses some important aspects of conceptual change and conceptual progress. I propose an alternative framework that focuses on the inferences and explanations supported by scientific concepts. The application of my approach to the history of the gene concept offers a better account of the (...)
  38. Progress and Its Problems: Towards a Theory of Scientific Growth. Larry Laudan.Richard M. Burian - 1978 - Isis 69 (4):604-606.
  39. Ontological Progress in Science.Richard M. Burian & J. D. Trout - 1995 - Canadian Journal of Philosophy 25 (2):177 - 201.
  40. Review Symposium : Scientific Progress: The Laudan Manifesto.Robert E. Butts - 1979 - Philosophy of the Social Sciences 9 (4):475-483.
  41. Science at Centurys End: Philosophical Questions on the Progress and Limits of S.Martin Carrier, Laura Ruetsche & Gerald J. Massey (eds.) - 2004 - University of Pittsburgh Press.
    To most laypersons and scientists, science and progress appear to go hand in hand, yet philosophers and historians of science have long questioned the inevitability of this pairing. As we take leave of a century acclaimed for scientific advances and progress, Science at Century's End, the eighth volume of the Pittsburgh-Konstanz Series in the Philosophy and History of Science, takes the reader to the heart of this important matter. Subtitled Philosophical Questions on the Progress and Limits of Science, this timely (...)
  42. The Rake’s Progress.Chandler Carter - 1996 - American Journal of Semiotics 13 (1/4):183-225.
  43. Kuhn E a Racionalidade da Escolha Científica.Eros Carvalho - 2014 - Principia: An International Journal of Epistemology 17 (3):439.
    In this paper, I try to articulate and clarify the role of the epistemic authority of experts in Kuhn’s explanation for the transition process between rival paradigms in the scientific revolutionary period. If science progresses, that process should contribute to the attainment of the cognitive aim of science, namely, the articulation of paradigms increasingly successful at the resolution of problems. It is hard to see that process as rational and as attaining the cognitive aim of science without the consideration of (...)
  44. Verisimilitude and Belief Change for Nomic Conjunctive Theories.Gustavo Cevolani, Roberto Festa & Theo A. F. Kuipers - 2013 - Synthese 190 (16):3307-3324.
    In this paper, we address the problem of truth approximation through theory change, asking whether revising our theories by newly acquired data leads us closer to the truth about a given domain. More particularly, we focus on “nomic conjunctive theories”, i.e., theories expressed as conjunctions of logically independent statements concerning the physical or, more generally, nomic possibilities and impossibilities of the domain under inquiry. We define both a comparative and a quantitative notion of the verisimilitude of such theories, and identify (...)
  45. Progress as Approximation to the Truth: A Defence of the Verisimilitudinarian Approach.Gustavo Cevolani & Luca Tambolo - 2013 - Erkenntnis 78 (4):921-935.
    In this paper we provide a compact presentation of the verisimilitudinarian approach to scientific progress (VS, for short) and defend it against the sustained attack recently mounted by Alexander Bird (2007). Advocated by such authors as Ilkka Niiniluoto and Theo Kuipers, VS is the view that progress can be explained in terms of the increasing verisimilitude (or, equivalently, truthlikeness, or approximation to the truth) of scientific theories. According to Bird, VS overlooks the central issue of the appropriate grounding of scientific (...)
  46. Truth May Not Explain Predictive Success, but Truthlikeness Does.Gustavo Cevolani & Luca Tambolo - 2013 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 44 (4):590-593.
    In a recent paper entitled “Truth does not explain predictive success” , Carsten Held argues that the so-called “No-Miracles Argument” for scientific realism is easily refuted when the consequences of the underdetermination of theories by the evidence are taken into account. We contend that the No-Miracles Argument, when it is deployed within the context of sophisticated versions of realism, based on the notion of truthlikeness , survives Held’s criticism unscathed.
  47. Scientific Progress: Beyond Foundationalism and Coherentism.Hasok Chang - 2007 - Royal Institute of Philosophy Supplement 61:1-20.
    Scientific progress remains one of the most significant issues in the philosophy of science today. This is not only because of the intrinsic importance of the topic, but also because of its immense difficulty. In what sense exactly does science makes progress, and how is it that scientists are apparently able to achieve it better than people in other realms of human intellectual endeavour? Neither philosophers nor scientists themselves have been able to answer these questions to general satisfaction.
  48. 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.
  49. Imperialism, Progress, Developmental Teleology, and Interdisciplinary Unification.Steve Clarke & Adrian Walsh - 2013 - International Studies in the Philosophy of Science 27 (3):341-351.
    In a previous article in this journal, we examined John Dupré's claim that ‘scientific imperialism’ can lead to ‘misguided’ science being considered acceptable. Here, we address criticisms raised by Ian J. Kidd and Uskali Mäki against that article. While both commentators take us to be offering our own account of scientific imperialism that goes beyond that developed by Dupré, and go on to criticise what they take to be our account, our actual ambitions were modest. We intended to ‘explicate the (...)
  50. Is the Progress of Science Evolutionary? [REVIEW]L. Jonathan Cohen - 1973 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 24 (1):41-61.
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