Understanding the Progress of Science

In Kareem Khalifa, Insa Lawler & Elay Shech (eds.), Scientific Understanding and Representation: Modeling in the Physical Sciences. Routledge. pp. 353-369 (2023)
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Abstract

Philosophical debates on how to account for the progress of science have traditionally divided along the realism-anti-realism axis. Relatively recent developments in epistemology, however, have opened up a new knowledge-understanding axis to the debate. This chapter presents a novel understanding-based account of scientific progress that takes its motivation from problem-solving practices in science. Problem-solving is characterized as a means of measuring degree of understanding, which is argued to be the principal epistemic (or cognitive) aim of science, over and against knowledge. This account is then defended against knowledge reductionism by showing how each plays an important and distinctive role in science.

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C. D. McCoy
Yonsei University

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