Harry Collins' central argument about experimental practice revolves around the thesis that facts can only be generated by good instruments but good instruments can only be recognized as such if they produce facts. This is what Collins calls the experimenters' regress. For Collins, scientific controversies cannot be closed by the ‘facts’ themselves because there are no formal criteria independent of the outcome of the experiment that scientists can apply to decide whether an experimental apparatus works properly or not.No one seems to have noticed that the debate is in fact a rehearsal of the ancient philosophical debate about skepticism. The present article suggests that the way out of radical skepticism offered by the so-called mitigated skeptics is a solution to the problem of consensus formation in science.Keywords: Argumentation; Skepticism; Sociology of science; Philosophy of science; Scientific controversies.
Keywords No keywords specified (fix it)
Categories (categorize this paper)
DOI 10.1016/s0039-3681(01)00032-2
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Request removal from index
Revision history

Download options

Our Archive

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy     Papers currently archived: 50,241
External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library

References found in this work BETA

Conjectures and Refutations.K. Popper - 1963 - Les Etudes Philosophiques 21 (3):431-434.
The Logic of Scientific Discovery.Karl Popper - 1959 - Studia Logica 9:262-265.
Logic and Conversation.H. Paul Grice - 1975 - In Maite Ezcurdia & Robert J. Stainton (eds.), The Semantics-Pragmatics Boundary in Philosophy. Broadview Press. pp. 47.
The Logic of Scientific Discovery.K. Popper - 1959 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 10 (37):55-57.

View all 45 references / Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

Everything You Did Not Necessarily Want to Know About Gravitational Waves. And Why.Yves Gingras - 2007 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 38 (1):268-282.
Fresnel's Laws, Ceteris Paribus.Aaron Sidney Wright - 2017 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 64:38-52.

View all 9 citations / Add more citations

Similar books and articles

Experimental Reproducibility and the Experimenters' Regress.Hans Radder - 1992 - PSA: Proceedings of the Biennial Meeting of the Philosophy of Science Association 1992:63 - 73.
Exuberant Skepticism.Paul Kurtz - 2010 - Prometheus Books 59 John Glenn Drive.
The Experimenter's Regress as Philosophical Sociology.H. M. Collins - 2002 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 33 (1):149-156.
A Strong Confirmation Of The Experimenters' Regress.H. M. Collins - 1994 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 25 (3):493-503.
Plantinga’s Skepticism.Jim Slagle - 2015 - Philosophia 43 (4):1133-1145.
The Impossibility of Local Skepticism.Stephen Maitzen - 2006 - Philosophia 34 (4):453-464.


Added to PP index

Total views
42 ( #222,838 of 2,325,132 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
7 ( #108,957 of 2,325,132 )

How can I increase my downloads?


My notes