Progress and rationality: Laudan's attempt to divorce a happy couple


Abstract
The article raises objections to some fundamental assumptions of ?normative naturalism? as put forth by Larry Laudan. It contests the view that matters of rationality are strictly to be separated from matters of (normative) methodology and progress of knowledge. Thus a modified version of what Laudan calls the ?historicist's meta?methodology thesis? is suggested. In particular, it is argued that methodological rules should not initially be taken as elliptical for hypothetical means?end relations. Assuming that they are taken as such, it is argued that naturalized methodology becomes untestable, since methodological rules (norms) turn out to be either vacuous or not lawlike. It is suggested that methodological norms have a status which has much in common with social norms. Instead of starting with methodological instrumentalities, a view of methodology is sketched in which the traditional idea of rational reconstruction is utilized. Yet the history of science may still serve as a major warrant for normative methodological claims. This becomes possible once we accept John Rawls's justificationary strategy of a ?reflective equilibrium?. Finally, it is claimed that Laudan's misconception of methodology is in part due to an inadequate notion of (scientific) progress.
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DOI 10.1080/00201749108602269
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References found in this work BETA

The Structure of Scientific Revolutions.Thomas S. Kuhn - 1962 - University of Chicago Press.
Ulysses and the Sirens.Jon Elster - 1986 - Philosophy and Public Affairs 15 (1):82-95.
Progress or Rationality? The Prospects for Normative Naturalism.Larry Laudan - 1987 - American Philosophical Quarterly 24 (1):19 - 31.
Kuhn's Epistemological Relativism: An Interpretation and Defense.Gerald Doppelt - 1978 - Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy 21 (1-4):33 – 86.

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Citations of this work BETA

The Kuhnian Mode of HPS.Samuel Schindler - 2013 - Synthese 190 (18):4137-4154.
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