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Counterfactual Histories of Science and the Contingency Thesis

In Lorenzo Magnani & Claudia Casadio (eds.), Model Based Reasoning in Science and Technology. Logical, Epistemological, and Cognitive Issues. Springer Verlag. pp. 619-637 (2016)

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  1. Multiple Discoveries, Inevitability, and Scientific Realism.Luca Tambolo & Gustavo Cevolani - 2021 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 90 (December 2021):30-38.
    When two or more (groups of) researchers independently investigating the same domain arrive at the same result, a multiple discovery occurs. The pervasiveness of multiple discoveries in science suggests the intuition that they are in some sense inevitable—that one should view them as results that force themselves upon us, so to speak. We argue that, despite the intuitive force of such an “inevitabilist insight,” one should reject it. More specifically, we distinguish two facets of the insight and argue that: (a) (...)
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  • So close no matter how far: counterfactuals in history of science and the inevitability/contingency controversy.Luca Tambolo - 2020 - Synthese 197 (5):2111-2141.
    This paper has a twofold purpose. First, it aims at highlighting one difference in how counterfactuals work in general history, on the one hand, and in history of the natural sciences, on the other hand. As we show, both in general history and in history of science good counterfactual narratives need to be plausible, where plausibility is construed as appropriate continuity of both the antecedent and the consequent of the counterfactual with what we know about the world. However, in general (...)
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