A feminist primer for philosophers of science -- The legacy of twentieth century philosophy of science -- What feminist science studies can offer -- Challenges from every direction -- The prospects of twenty-first century philosophy of science.
Obviously medicine should be evidence-based. The issues lie in the details: what exactly counts as evidence? Do certain kinds of evidence carry more weight than others? And how exactly should medicine be based on evidence? When it comes to these details, the evidence-based medicine movement has got itself into a mess – or so it will be argued. In order to start to resolve this mess, we need to go 'back to basics'; and that means turning to the philosophy (...) of science. The theory of evidence, or rather the logic of the interrelations between theory and evidence, has always been central to the philosophy of science – sometimes under the alias of the 'theory of confirmation'. When taken together with a little philosophical commonsense, this logic can help us move towards a position on evidence in medicine that is more sophisticated and defensible than anything that EBM has been able so far to supply. (shrink)
Few can imagine a world without telephones or televisions; many depend on computers and the Internet as part of daily life. Without scientific theory, these developments would not have been possible. In this exceptionally clear and engaging introduction to philosophy of science, James Ladyman explores the philosophical questions that arise when we reflect on the nature of the scientific method and the knowledge it produces. He discusses whether fundamental philosophical questions about knowledge and reality might be answered by (...)science, and considers in detail the debate between realists and antirealists about the extent of scientific knowledge. Along the way, central topics in philosophy of science, such as the demarcation of science from non-science, induction, confirmation and falsification, the relationship between theory and observation and relativism are all addressed. Important and complex current debates over underdetermination, inference to the best explaination and the implications of radical theory change are clarified and clearly explained for those new to the subject. (shrink)
Philosophy of Science: A Unified Approach combines a general introduction to philosophy of science with an integrated survey of all its important subfields. As the book’s subtitle suggests, this excellent overview is guided methodologically by "a unified approach" to philosophy of science: behind the diversity of scientific fields one can recognize a methodological unity of the sciences. This unity is worked out in this book, revealing all the while important differences between subject areas. Structurally, (...) this comprehensive book offers a two-part approach, which makes it an excellent introduction for students new to the field and a useful resource for more advanced students. Each chapter is divided into two sections. The first section assumes no foreknowledge of the subject introduced, and the second section builds upon the first by bringing into the conversation more advanced, complementary topics. Definitions, key propositions, examples and figures overview all of the core material. At the end of every chapter there are selected readings and exercises . The book also includes a comprehensive bibliography and an index. (shrink)
Sustainability science seeks to extend scientific investigation into domains characterized by a distinct problem-solving agenda, physical and social complexity, and complex moral and ethical landscapes. In this endeavor it arguably pushes scientific investigation beyond its usual comfort zones, raising fundamental issues about how best to structure such investigation. Philosophers of science have long scrutinized the structure of science and scientific practices, and the conditions under which they operate effectively. We propose a critical engagement between sustainability scientists and (...) philosophers of science with respect to how to engage in scientific activity in these complex domains. We identify specific issues philosophers of science raise concerning current sustainability science and the contributions philosophers can make to resolving them. In conclusion we reflect on the steps philosophers of science could take to advance sustainability science. (shrink)
Jan Sprenger and Stephan Hartmann offer a fresh approach to central topics in philosophy of science, including causation, explanation, evidence, and scientific models. Their Bayesian approach uses the concept of degrees of belief to explain and to elucidate manifold aspects of scientific reasoning.
Replicability is widely taken to ground the epistemic authority of science. However, in recent years, important published findings in the social, behavioral, and biomedical sciences have failed to replicate, suggesting that these fields are facing a “replicability crisis.” For philosophers, the crisis should not be taken as bad news but as an opportunity to do work on several fronts, including conceptual analysis, history and philosophy of science, research ethics, and social epistemology. This article introduces philosophers to these (...) discussions. First, I discuss precedents and evidence for the crisis. Second, I discuss methodological, statistical, and social-structural factors that have contributed to the crisis. Third, I focus on the philosophical issues raised by the crisis. Finally, I discuss proposed solutions and highlight the gaps that philosophers could focus on. (shrink)
Feminist philosophy of science has led to improvements in the practices and products of scientific knowledge-making, and in this way it exemplifies socially relevant philosophy of science. It has also yielded important insights and original research questions for philosophy. Feminist scholarship on science thus presents a worthy thought-model for considering how we might build a more socially relevant philosophy of science—the question posed by the editors of this special issue. In this analysis (...) of the history, contributions, and challenges faced by feminist philosophy of science, I argue that engaged case study work and interdisciplinarity have been central to the success of feminist philosophy of science in producing socially relevant scholarship, and that its future lies in the continued development of robust and dynamic philosophical frameworks for modeling social values in science. Feminist philosophers of science, however, have often encountered marginalization and persistent misunderstandings, challenges that must be addressed within the institutional and intellectual culture of American philosophy. (shrink)
The newest addition to the successful Oxford Readings in Philosophy series, this collection contains the most important contributions to the recent debate on the philosophy of science. The contributors crystallize the often heated arguments of the last two decades, assessing the skeptical attitudes within philosophy of science and the counter-challenges of the scientific realists. Contributors include Nancy Cartwright, Brian Ellis, Arthur Fine, Clark Glymour, Larry Laudan, Peter Lipton, Alan Musgrave, Wesely C. Salmon, Lawrence Sklar, Bas (...) C. van Fraassen, and John Worrall. (shrink)
Standpoint theory is an explicitly political as well as social epistemology. Its central insight is that epistemic advantage may accrue to those who are oppressed by structures of domination and discounted as knowers. Feminist standpoint theorists hold that gender is one dimension of social differentiation that can make such a difference. In response to two longstanding objections I argue that epistemically consequential standpoints need not be conceptualized in essentialist terms, and that they do not confer automatic or comprehensive epistemic privilege (...) on those who occupy them. Standpoint theory is best construed as conceptual framework for investigating the ways in which socially situated experience and interests make a contingent difference to what we know (well), and to the resources we have for determining which knowledge claims we can trust. I illustrate the advantages of this account in terms of two examples drawn from archaeological sources. (shrink)
What is science? Is there a real difference between science and myth? Is science objective? Can science explain everything? This Very Short Introduction provides a concise overview of the main themes of contemporary philosophy of science. Beginning with a short history of science to set the scene, Samir Okasha goes on to investigate the nature of scientific reasoning, scientific explanation, revolutions in science, and theories such as realism and anti-realism. He also looks (...) at philosophical issues in particular sciences, including the problem of classification in biology, and the nature of space and time in physics. The final chapter touches on the conflicts between science and religion, and explores whether science is ultimately a good thing. (shrink)
In recent years, philosophy of science has witnessed a significant increase in attention directed toward the field’s social relevance. This is demonstrated by the formation of societies with related agendas, the organization of research symposia, and an uptick in work on topics of immediate public interest. The collection of papers that follows results from one such event: a 3-day colloquium on the subject of socially engaged philosophy of science held at the University of Cincinnati in October (...) 2012. In this introduction, we first survey the recent history of philosophy of science’s social involvement and contrast this with the much greater social involvement of the sciences themselves. Next, we argue that the field of philosophy of science bears a special responsibility to contribute to public welfare. We then introduce as a term of art “SEPOS” and articulate what we take to be distinctive about social engagement, with reference to the articles in this collection as exemplars. Finally, we survey the current state of social engagement in philosophy of science and suggest some practical steps for individuals and institutions to support this trajectory. (shrink)
This user-friendly text covers key issues in the philosophy of science in an accessible and philosophically serious way. It will prove valuable to students studying philosophy of science as well as science students. Prize-winning author Alex Rosenberg explores the philosophical problems that science raises by its very nature and method. He skilfully demonstrates that scientific explanation, laws, causation, theory, models, evidence, reductionism, probability, teleology, realism and instrumentalism actually pose the same questions that Plato, Aristotle, (...) Descartes, Hume, Kant and their successors have grappled with for centuries. (shrink)
Two major reasons feminists are concerned with science relate to science's social effects: that science can be a powerful ally in the struggle for equality for women; and that all too frequently science has been a generator and perpetuator of inequality. This concern with the social effects of science leads feminists to a different mode of appraising science from the purely epistemic one prized by most contemporary philosophers of science. The upshot, I suggest, (...) is a new program for philosophy of science, a program for a socially responsible philosophy of science. (shrink)
The philosophy of science is the branch of philosophy that examines the profound philosophical questions that arise from scientific research and theories. A sub-discipline of philosophy that emerged in the twentieth century, the philosophy of science is largely a product of the British and Austrian schools of thought and traditions. The first in-depth reference in the field that combines scientific knowledge with philosophical inquiry, The Philosophy of Science: An Encyclopedia is a two-volume (...) set that brings together an international team of leading scholars to provide over 130 entries on the essential concepts in the philosophy of science. The areas covered include biology, chemistry, epistemology and metaphysics, physics, psychology and mind, the social sciences, and key figures in the combined studies of science and philosophy. Essays range in length from 3,000 to 7,500 words and represent the most up-to-date philosophical thinking on timeless scientific topics such as determinism, explanation, laws of nature, perception, individuality, time, and economics as well as timely topics like adaptation, conservation biology, quantum logic, consciousness, evolutionary psychology, and game theory. Offering thorough explorations and destined to become the most authoritative presentation of the field available, this Encyclopedia is a unique and groundbreaking guide to this fascinating field. (shrink)
We examine the sub-field of philosophy of science using a new method developed in information science, Referenced Publication Years Spectroscopy (RPYS). RPYS allows us to identify peak years in citations in a field, which promises to help scholars identify the key contributions to a field, and revolutionary discoveries in a field. We discovered that philosophy of science, a sub-field in the humanities, differs significantly from other fields examined with this method. Books play a more important (...) role in philosophy of science than in the sciences. Further, Einstein’s famous 1905 papers created a citation peak in the philosophy of science literature. But rather than being a contribution to the philosophy of science, their importance lies in the fact that they are revolutionary contributions to physics with important implications for philosophy of science. (shrink)
A recent focus of Philip Kitcher’s research has been, somewhat surprisingly in the light of his earlier work, the philosophical analyses of literary works and operas. Some may see a discontinuity in Kitcher’s oeuvre in this respect – it may be difficult to see how his earlier contributions to philosophy of science relate to this much less mainstream approach to philosophy. The aim of this paper is to show that there is no such discontinuity: Kitcher’s contributions to (...) the philosophy of science and his more recent endeavors into the philosophy of literature and of music are grounded in the same big picture attitude towards the human mind – an attitude that he would undoubtedly call ‘pragmatic’: one that emphasizes the importance of those mental processes that are not (or not entirely) rational. (shrink)
An overview of the German philosophy of science community is given for the years 1992–2012, based on a survey in which 159 philosophers of science in Germany participated. To this end, the institutional background of the German philosophy of science community is examined in terms of journals, centers, and associations. Furthermore, a qualitative description and a quantitative analysis of our survey results are presented. Quantitative estimates are given for: (a) academic positions, (b) research foci, (c) (...) philosophers’ of science most important publications, and (d) externally funded projects, where for (c) all survey participants had indicated their five most important publications in philosophy of science. In addition, the survey results for (a)–(c) are also qualitatively described, as they are interesting in their own right. With respect to (a), we estimated the gender distribution among academic positions. Concerning (c), we quantified philosophers’ of science preference for (i) journals and publishers, (ii) publication format, (iii) language, and (iv) coauthorship for their most important publications. With regard to research projects, we determined their (i) prevalence, (ii) length, and (iii) trend (an increase in number?) as well as their most frequent (iv) research foci and (v) funding organizations. We also distinguished between German-based and non-German-based journals, publishers, and funding institutions, making it thereby possible to evaluate the involvement of the German philosophy of science community in the international research landscape. Finally, we discuss some implications of our findings. (shrink)
History and philosophy complement and overlap each other in subject matter, but the two disciplines exhibit conflict over methodology. Since Hempel's challenge to historians that they should adopt the covering law model of explanation, the methodological conflict has revolved around the respective roles of the general and the particular in each discipline. In recent years, the revival of narrativism in history, coupled with the trend in philosophy of science to rely upon case studies, joins the methodological conflict (...) anew. So long as contemporary philosophy of science relies upon history's methodology to construct its case studies, it subjects itself to a paradoxical situation: the better the history, the worse the philosophy. An example of the methodological conflict is presented in the case of Antoine Lavoisier. This example also serves our ultimateconclusion, which is that distinctively philosophical methods of case-study design promise enhanced prescriptive powers for philosophy of science. (shrink)
Philosophy of Science: An Anthology assembles some of the finest papers in the philosophy of science since 1945, showcasing enduring classics alongside important and innovative recent work. Introductions by the editor highlight connections between selections, and contextualize the articles Nine sections address topics at the heart of philosophy of science, including realism and the character of scientific theories, scientific explanations and laws of nature, singular casusation, and the metaphysical implications of modern physics Provides an (...) authoritative and accessible overview of the field. (shrink)
By means of a citation analysis I aim to determine which scholarly journals are most important in the sub-field of philosophy of science. My analysis shows that the six most important journals in the sub-field are Philosophy of Science , British Journal for the Philosophy of Science , Journal of Philosophy , Synthese , Studies in History and Philosophy of Science , and Erkenntnis . Given the data presented in this study, (...) there is little evidence that there is such a field as the history and philosophy of science (HPS). Rather, philosophy of science is most properly conceived of as a sub-field of philosophy. (shrink)
The methods of experimental philosophy have been successfully used in many areas of philosophy, including epistemology, philosophy of language, ethics, action theory, and more recently aesthetics, but philosophy of science has remained by and large impervious to this new approach. In this chapter, I show that experimental philosophy has much to offer to philosophy of science by reviewing the existing experimental-philosophy work in the philosophy of science.
This paper provides an argument for a more socially relevant philosophy of science (SRPOS). Our aims in this paper are to characterize this body of work in philosophy of science, to argue for its importance, and to demonstrate that there are significant opportunities for philosophy of science to engage with and support this type of research. The impetus of this project was a keen sense of missed opportunities for philosophy of science to (...) have a broader social impact. We illustrate various ways in which SRPOS can provide social benefits, as well as benefits to scientific practice and philosophy itself. Also, SRPOS is consistent with some historical and contemporary goals of philosophy of science. We’re calling for an expansion of philosophy of science to include more of this type of work. In order to support this expansion, we characterize philosophy of science as an epistemic community and examine the culture and practices of philosophy of science that can help or hinder research in this area. (shrink)
The present state of the discussion on relativity -- The theory of motion according to Newton, Leibniz, and Huyghens -- Casualty and probability -- Aims and methods of modern philosophy of nature -- The principle of causality and the possibility of its empirical confirmation -- Rationalism and empiricism -- The freedom of the will -- On the explication of ethical utterances.
This paper presents a survey of the philosophy of science in Estonia. Topics covered include the historical background (science at the 17th century Academia Gustaviana, in the 19th century, during the Soviet period) and an overview of the current situation and main areas of research (the problem of demarcation, a critique of the traditional understandings of science, φ-science, classical and non-classical science, the philosophy of chemistry, the problem of induction, the sociology of scientific (...) knowledge, semiotics as a methodology). (shrink)
The nature and aim of science, by E. Nagel.--Truth and provability, by L. Henkin.--Completeness, by L. Henkin.--Computability, by S. C. Kleene.--Necessary truth, by W. V. Quine.--What is a scientific theory? By P. Suppes.--Science and simplicity, by N. Goodman.--Scientific explanation, by C. G. Hempel.--Observation and interpretation, by N. R. Hanson.--Probability and confirmation, by H. Putnam.--Utility and acceptance of hypotheses, by I. Levi.--Space and time, by A. Grünbaum.--Problems of microphysics, by P. Feyerabend.--Aspects of explanation in biological theory, by M. Beckner.--Psychologism (...) and methodological individualism, by S. Morgenbesser.--Science, fact, and value, by M. Scriven.--The justification of induction, by M. Black. (shrink)
The very idea of a general philosophy of science relies on the assumption that there is this thing called science —as opposed to the various individual sciences. In this programmatic piece I make a case for the claim that general philosophy of science is the philosophy of science in general or science as such. Part of my narrative makes use of history, for two reasons. First, general philosophy of science is (...) itself characterised by an intellectual tradition which aimed to develop a coherent philosophical view of science, qua a part of culture with distinctive epistemic features and a distinctive relation to reality. But, second, this tradition went through some important conceptual shifts which re-oriented it and made it more sensitive to the actual development of science itself. The historical narrative focuses on three such moments: the defining moment, associated with Aristotle, and two major conceptual turns, related to Kant and Duhem. The pressures on the very idea of a general philosophy of science that followed the collapse of the macro-models of science that became popular in the 1960s, the pressures that lay all of the emphasis on fragmentation and not on integration, can be dealt with by a new synthesis within general philosophy of science of the constitutive and the historical, in light of the intellectual tradition that has defined it. (shrink)
This book offers an integrated historical and philosophical examination of the origin of genetics. The author contends that an integrated HPS analysis helps us to have a better understanding of the history of genetics, and sheds light on some general issues in the philosophy of science. This book consists of three parts. It begins with historical problems, revisiting the significance of the work of Mendel, de Vries, and Weldon. Then it turns to integrated HPS problems, developing an exemplar-based (...) analysis of the development and the progress in early genetics. Finally, it discusses philosophical problems: conceptual change, evidence, and theory choice. Part I lays out a new historiography, serving as a basis for the discussions in part II and part III. Part II introduces a new integrated HPS method to analyse and interpret the historiography in Part I and to re-examine the philosophical issues in Part III. Part III develops new philosophical accounts which will in turn make a better sense of the history of scientific practice more generally. This book provides a practical defence of integrated HPS: the best way to defend integrated HPS is to do it. (shrink)
Trust is a central concept in the philosophy of science. We highlight how trust is important in the wide variety of interactions between science and society. We claim that examining and clarifying the nature and role of trust (and distrust) in relations between science and society is one principal way in which the philosophy of science is socially relevant. We argue that philosophers of science should extend their efforts to develop normative conceptions of (...) trust that can serve to facilitate trust between scientific experts and ordinary citizens. The first project is the development of a rich normative theory of expertise and experience that can explain why the various epistemic insights of diverse actors should be trusted in certain contexts and how credibility deficits can be bridged. The second project is the development of concepts that explain why, in certain cases, ordinary citizens may distrust science, which should inform how philosophers of science conceive of the formulation of science policy when conditions of distrust prevail. The third project is the analysis of cases of successful relations of trust between scientists and non-scientists that leads to understanding better how ‘postnormal’ science interactions are possible using trust. (shrink)
Philosophers of science widely believe that the hereditarian theory about racial differences in IQ is based on methodological mistakes and confusions involving the concept of heritability. I argue that this "received view" is wrong: methodological criticisms popular among philosophers are seriously misconceived, and the discussion in philosophy of science about these matters is largely disconnected from the real, empirically complex issues debated in science.
The recent focus of Philip Kitcher’s research has been, somewhat surprisingly in the light of his earlier work, the philosophical analyses of literary works and operas. The aim of this paper is to show that there is no discontinuity between this new direction and Kitcher's earlier work in the philosophy of science: Kitcher’s contributions to the philosophy of science and his more recent endeavors into the philosophy of literature and of music are grounded in the (...) same big picture attitude towards the human mind – and attitude that he would undoubtedly call ‘pragmatic’: one that emphasizes the importance of those mental processes that are not rational. (shrink)
Nearly a half century ago, Thomas Kuhn, Paul Feyerabend, Stephen Toulmin, Norwood Russell Hanson, and others issued a challenge to us philosophers of science to make our field more relevant to actual science. That challenge, over time, has elicited a number of useful responses but very few efforts to situate science within its wider social context when philosophizing about science. The unit of analysis for philosophy of science has tended to remain science-in-a-vacuum. I (...) consider the justifications we offer for this failure, our resources for change, and our prospects if we do change. (shrink)
In this paper I assess the relation between philosophy of chemistry and philosophy of science, focusing on those themes in the philosophy of chemistry that may bring about major revisions or extensions of current philosophy of science. Three themes can claim to make a unique contribution to philosophy of science: first, the variety of materials in the world; second, extending the world by making new stuff; and, third, specific features of the relations (...) between chemistry and physics. (shrink)
The purpose of this paper is to uncover some of the limitations that critical contextual empiricism, and in particular Longino's contextualism, faces when trying to provide a normative account of scientific knowledge that is relevant to current scientific research. After presenting the four norms of effective criticism, I show how the norms have limited scope when dealing with cases of current scientific practices. I then present some historical evidence for the claim that the organization of science has changed in (...) recent decades, and I argue that the uncovered limitations emerge from this larger phenomenon. Finally, I conclude by suggesting two ways to overcome the previously uncovered limitations. (shrink)
Philosophy of science and history of science are both interpretations of scientific practice, and the relationship between these two disciplines can take various forms: they may be mutually exclusive, interdependent, or related by inclusion. Much depends on whether philosophy of science is taken to be a prescriptive or a descriptive science. This book is concerned with the nature of the relationship between philosophy of science and history of science, and sheds new (...) light on our understanding of those activities that comprise science. (shrink)
This essay examines logical empiricism and American pragmatism, arguing that American philosophy’s embrace of logical empiricism in the 1930s was not a turning away from Dewey’s pragmatism. It places both movements within scientific philosophy and finds two key points on which they agreed: their revolutionary ambitions and their social engineering sensibility. The essay suggests that the disagreement over emotivism in ethics should be placed within the context of a larger issue on which the movements disagreed: demarcationism and imperialism.
This essay examines logical empiricism and American pragmatism, arguing that American philosophy's embrace of logical empiricism in the 1930s was not a turning away from Dewey's pragmatism. It places both movements within scientific philosophy and finds two key points on which they agreed: their revolutionary ambitions and their social engineering sensibility. The essay suggests that the disagreement over emotivism in ethics should be placed within the context of a larger issue on which the movements disagreed: demarcationism and imperialism.
This paper argues that philosophers of science have before them an important new task that they urgently need to take up. It is to convince the scientific community to adopt and implement a new philosophy of science that does better justice to the deeply problematic basic intellectual aims of science than that which we have at present. Problematic aims evolve with evolving knowledge, that part of philosophy of science concerned with aims and methods thus (...) becoming an integral part of science itself. The outcome of putting this new philosophy into scientific practice would be a new kind of science, both more intellectually rigorous and one that does better justice to the best interests of humanity. (shrink)
Philosophy of science is beginning to be expanded via the introduction of new digital resources—both data and tools for its analysis. The data comprise digitized published books and journal articles, as well as heretofore unpublished and recently digitized material, such as images, archival text, notebooks, meeting notes, and programs. This growing bounty of data would be of little use, however, without quality tools with which to analyze it. Fortunately, the growth in available data is matched by the extensive (...) development of automated analysis tools. For the beginner, this wide variety of data sources and tools can be overwhelming. In this essay, we survey the state of digital work in the philosophy of science, showing what kinds of questions can be answered and how one can go about answering them. (shrink)