Theory change, structural realism, and the relativised a priori

Abstract

In this paper I claim that Quinean naturalist accounts of science, that deny that there are any a priori statements in scientific frameworks, cannot account for the foundational role of certain classes of statements in scientific practice. In this I follow Michael Friedman who claims that certain a priori statements must be presupposed in order to formulate empirical hypotheses. I also show that Friedman's account, in spite of his claims to the contrary, is compatible with a type of non-Quinean naturalism that I sketch. Finally I also show that Friedman's account needs amending because it cannot provide a rational account of theory change. I accomplish this by arguing for a structural realist view of theory change. I show how this view fits well with an account like Friedman's and helps it deal with the problem of theory change and in retaining its superiority over Quinean naturalism.

Download options

PhilArchive



    Upload a copy of this work     Papers currently archived: 72,694

External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server

Through your library

Analytics

Added to PP
2009-01-28

Downloads
167 (#72,301)

6 months
1 (#388,311)

Historical graph of downloads
How can I increase my downloads?

Author's Profile

Daniel McArthur
York University

References found in this work

What is Structural Realism?James Ladyman - 1998 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 29 (3):409-424.
Reconsidering Logical Positivism.Michael Friedman - 1999 - Cambridge University Press.

View all 35 references / Add more references

Citations of this work

Friedman’s Relativised A Priori and Structural Realism: In Search of Compatibility.Milena Ivanova - 2011 - International Studies in the Philosophy of Science 25 (1):23 - 37.
Intrinsic, Extrinsic, and the Constitutive A Priori.László E. Szabó - 2020 - Foundations of Physics 50 (6):555-567.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles

Normative Naturalism and the Relativised a Priori.Dan McArthur - 2005 - Journal for General Philosophy of Science / Zeitschrift für Allgemeine Wissenschaftstheorie 36 (2):331 - 350.
Laudan, Friedman and the Role of the A Priori in Science.Dan Mcarthur - 2007 - Journal of Philosophical Research 32:169-190.
Friedman’s Relativised A Priori and Structural Realism: In Search of Compatibility.Milena Ivanova - 2011 - International Studies in the Philosophy of Science 25 (1):23 - 37.