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)
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)
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)
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)
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)
The book examines the emerging approach of using qualitative methods, such as interviews and field observations, in the philosophy of science. Qualitative methods are gaining popularity among philosophers of science as more and more scholars are resorting to empirical work in their study of scientific practices. At the same time, the results produced through empirical work are quite different from those gained through the kind of introspective conceptual analysis more typical of philosophy. This volume explores the (...) benefits and challenges of an empirical philosophy of science and addresses questions such as: What do philosophers gain from empirical work? How can empirical research help to develop philosophical concepts? How do we integrate philosophical frameworks and empirical research? What constraints do we accept when choosing an empirical approach? What constraints does a pronounced theoretical focus impose on empirical work? Nine experts discuss their thoughts and empirical results in the chapters of this book with the aim of providing readers with an answer to these questions. (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)
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)
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.
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)
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)
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)
This article shows why it is important to do normative or practical philosophy of science, especially philosophy of science that criticizes and evaluates contemporary use of scientific methods to analyze welfare-affecting societal problems. The article introduces the scientific, ethical, and social problem of environmental injustice—disproportionate environmental and pollution threats that are responsible for roughly 40% of all preventable disease and death. Next it explains that many deadly threats continue in part because of “special-interest science”, methodologically (...) flawed science that is done to promote corporate profits, rather than truth, then argues that philosophers of science should use normative or practical philosophy of science to critique and expose special-interest science. To illustrate special-interest science, the article provides two case studies, on diesel-particulate-matter pollution and on organophophate-pesticide pollution, and shows how diesel and pesticide polluters use special-interest science. For instance, they often ignore observational data, illegitimately demand statistically significant evidence of harm from observational data, use small sample sizes, do the wrong tests, or demand certainty—rather than a preponderance of evidence—to justify a conclusion about pollution harm. They also use flawed normative arguments to defend both diesel and pesticide pollution. The article concludes that, given the epistemic, scientific, human-welfare toll of special-interest science, philosophers of science need to do normative or practical philosophy of science that exposes these scientific flaws. (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.
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)
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.
Naturalism implies unity of method--an application of the methods of science to the methodology of science itself and to value theory. Epistemological naturalists have tried to find a privileged discipline to be the methodological model of philosophy of science and epistemology. However, since science itself is not unitary, the use of one science as a model amounts to a reduction and distorts the philosophy of science just as badly as traditional philosophy (...) of science distorted science, despite the fact that the central theme of naturalized philosophy of science is that methodology should be true to science as practiced. I argue that naturalized philosophy of science must apply a plurality of methods to epistemological issues. (shrink)
Of all the sub-disciplines of philosophy, the philosophy of science has perhaps the most privileged relationship to information theory. This relationship has been forged through a common interest in themes like induction, probability, confirmation, simplicity, non-ad hocness, unification and, more generally, ontology. It also has historical roots. One of the founders of algorithmic information theory, Ray Solomonoff, produced his seminal work on inductive inference as a direct result of grappling with problems first encountered as a student of (...) the influential philosopher of science Rudolf Carnap. There are other such historical connections between the two fields. Alas, there is no space to explore them here. Instead this essay will restrict its attention to a broad and accessible overview of the aforementioned common themes, which, given their nature, mandate an emphasis on AIT as opposed to general information theory. (shrink)
There are a variety of topics in the philosophy of science that need to be rethought, in varying degrees, after one pays careful attention to the ways in which computer simulations are used in the sciences. There are a number of conceptual issues internal to the practice of computer simulation that can benefit from the attention of philosophers. This essay surveys some of the recent literature on simulation from the perspective of the philosophy of science and (...) argues that philosophers have a lot to learn by paying closer attention to the practice of simulation. (shrink)
A reprint of the Prentice-Hall edition of 1992. Prepared by nine distinguished philosophers and historians of science, this thoughtful reader represents a cooperative effort to provide an introduction to the philosophy of science focused on cultivating an understanding of both the workings of science and its historical and social context. Selections range from discussions of topics in general methodology to a sampling of foundational problems in various physical, biological, behavioral, and social sciences. Each chapter contains a (...) list of suggested readings and study questions. (shrink)
This is the first book on practical philosophy of science and how to practically evaluate scientific findings that have life-and-death consequences. Showing how to uncover scores of scientific flaws -- typically used by special interests who try to justify their deadly pollution -- this book aims to liberate the many potential victims of environmentally-induced disease and death.
Karl Popper (1902-1994) was one of the most influential philosophers of science of the 20th century. He made significant contributions to debates concerning general scientific methodology and theory choice, the demarcation of science from non-science, the nature of probability and quantum mechanics, and the methodology of the social sciences. His work is notable for its wide influence both within the philosophy of science, within science itself, and within a broader social context. Popper’s early work (...) attempts to solve the problem of demarcation and offer a clear criterion that distinguishes scientific theories from metaphysical or mythological claims. Popper’s falsificationist methodology holds that scientific theories are characterized by entailing predictions that future observations might reveal to be false. When theories are falsified by such observations, scientists can respond by revising the theory, or by rejecting the theory in favor of a rival or by maintaining the theory as is and changing an auxiliary hypothesis. In either case, however, this process must aim at the production of new, falsifiable predictions. While Popper recognizes that scientists can and do hold onto theories in the face of failed predictions when there are no predictively superior rivals to turn to. He holds that scientific practice is characterized by its continual effort to test theories against experience and make revisions based on the outcomes of these tests. By contrast, theories that are permanently immunized from falsification by the introduction of untestable ad hoc hypotheses can no longer be classified as scientific. Among other things, Popper argues that his falsificationist proposal allows for a solution of the problem of induction, since inductive reasoning plays no role in his account of theory choice. Along with his general proposals regarding falsification and scientific methodology, Popper is notable for his work on probability and quantum mechanics and on the methodology of the social sciences. Popper defends a propensity theory of probability, according to which probabilities are interpreted as objective, mind-independent properties of experimental setups. Popper then uses this theory to provide a realist interpretation of quantum mechanics, though its applicability goes beyond this specific case. With respect to the social sciences, Popper argued against the historicist attempt to formulate universal laws covering the whole of human history and instead argued in favor of methodological individualism and situational logic. Table of Contents 1. Background 2. Falsification and the Criterion of Demarcation a. Popper on Physics and Psychoanalysis b. Auxiliary and Ad Hoc Hypotheses c. Basic Sentences and the Role of Convention d. Induction, Corroboration, and Verisimilitude 3. Criticisms of Falsificationism 4. Realism, Quantum Mechanics, and Probability 5. Methodology in the Social Sciences 6. Popper’s Legacy 7. References and Further Reading a. Primary Sources b. Secondary Sources -/- . (shrink)
In this book, David Stump traces alternative conceptions of the a priori in the philosophy of science and defends a unique position in the current debates over conceptual change and the constitutive elements in science. Stump emphasizes the unique epistemological status of the constitutive elements of scientific theories, constitutive elements being the necessary preconditions that must be assumed in order to conduct a particular scientific inquiry. These constitutive elements, such as logic, mathematics, and even some fundamental laws (...) of nature, were once taken to be a priori knowledge but can change, thus leading to a dynamic or relative a priori. Stump critically examines developments in thinking about constitutive elements in science as a priori knowledge, from Kant’s fixed and absolute a priori to Quine’s holistic empiricism. By examining the relationship between conceptual change and the epistemological status of constitutive elements in science, Stump puts forward an argument that scientific revolutions can be explained and relativism can be avoided without resorting to universals or absolutes. (shrink)
: The increasing attention on experiment in the last two decades has led to important insights into its material, cultural and social dimensions. However, the role of experiment as a tool for generating knowledge has been comparatively poorly studied. What questions are asked in experimental research? How are they treated and eventually resolved? And how do questions, epistemic situations, and experimental activity cohere and shape each other? In my paper, I treat these problems on the basis of detailed studies of (...) research practice. After presenting several cases from the history of electricity—Dufay, Ampère, and Faraday—I discuss a specific type of experiment—the "exploratory experiment"—and analyze how it works in concept formation. I argue that a fuller understanding of experiment can only be achieved by intertwining historical and philosophical perspectives in such a way that the very separation of the two become questioable. (shrink)
In two recent papers, I criticized Ronald N. Giere's and Larry Laudan's arguments for 'naturalizing' the philosophy of science (Siegel 1989, 1990). Both Giere and Laudan replied to my criticisms (Giere 1989, Laudan 1990b). The key issue arising in both interchanges is these naturalists' embrace of instrumental conceptions of rationality, and their concomitant rejection of non-instrumental conceptions of that key normative notion. In this reply I argue that their accounts of science's rationality as exclusively instrumental fail, and (...) consequently that their cases for 'normatively naturalizing' the philosophy of science fail as well. (shrink)
In this paper I argue that the program of L. Laudan et al for empirically testing historiographical philosophies of science ("the VPI program") does not succeed in providing a consistent naturalist program in philosophy of science. In particular, the VPI program endorses a nonnaturalist metamethodology that insists on a hypothetico-deductive structure to scientific testing. But hypothetico-deductivism seems to be both inadequate as an account of scientific theory testing in general and fundamentally at odds with most of the (...) historiographic philosophies under test. I sketch an account of testing historiographic philosophies of science more consistent with the views about scientific testing of those philosophies and argue that such a program is neither viciously circular nor necessarily self-refuting. (shrink)
This intriguing and ground-breaking book is the first in-depth study of the development of philosophy of science in the United States during the Cold War. It documents the political vitality of logical empiricism and Otto Neurath's Unity of Science Movement when these projects emigrated to the US in the 1930s and follows their de-politicization by a convergence of intellectual, cultural and political forces in the 1950s. Students of logical empiricism and the Vienna Circle treat these as strictly (...) intellectual non-political projects. In fact, the refugee philosophers of science were highly active politically and debated questions about values inside and outside science, as a result of which their philosophy of science was scrutinized politically both from within and without the profession, by such institutions as J. Edgar Hoover's FBI. It will prove absorbing reading to philosophers and historians of science, intellectual historians, and scholars of Cold War studies. (shrink)
About the Series Contemporary philosophy of science combines a general study from a philosophical perspective of the methods of science, with an inquiry, again from the philosophical point of view, into foundational issues that arise in the various special sciences. Methodological philosophy of science has deep connections with issues at the center of pure philosophy. It makes use of important results, for example, in traditional epistemology, metaphysics and the philosophy of language. It also (...) connects in various ways with other disciplines such as the history and sociology of the sciences, with pure logic, and with such branches of mathematics as probability theory. These volumes are, for the most part, devoted to readings in the methodological aspects of the philosophy of science. One volume, however, takes up the philosophical issues in the foundations of a particularly important special science, that is the issues in the foundations of theories of contemporary physics. The methodological volumes cover a number of crucial general problem areas. The first volume takes up issues in the nature of scientific explanation, and the related issues of the nature of scientific law and of the casual relation among events. The second volume explores issues in the nature and structure of scientific theories. The third volume collects inquiries into the nature of scientific change, as one theory is replaced by another. Volume four is devoted to readings concerning the nature of probability and the nature and justification of inductive reasoning in science. The following volume continues the exploration of the issue of confirming and rejecting theories with a series of readings devoted to Bayesian methodologies in science and to the exploration of non-inductive strategies for rationalizing belief. Finally, volume six explores three major problem areas in the foundation of physics: the nature and rationale for physical theories of space and time; the interpretive problems arising out of the quantum theory; and some puzzles arising out of statistical mechanical theories of physics. The readings are selected and arranged to provide the user with systematic access to the most important contemporary themes in methodological philosophy of science and in philosophy of physics. The selections include many recent contributions to the field, as well as papers and extracts from books and journals otherwise not easily available. (shrink)
Modernism in the philosophy of science demands a unified story about what makes an inquiry scientific (or a successful science). Fine's "natural ontological attitude" (NOA) is "postmodern" in joining trust in local scientific practice with suspicion toward any global interpretation of science to legitimate or undercut that trust. I consider four readings of this combination of trust and suspicion and their consequences for the autonomy and cultural credibility of the sciences. Three readings take respectively Fine's trusting (...) attitude, his emphasis upon local practice, and his antiessentialism about science as most fundamental to NOA. A fourth, more adequate reading, prompted by recent feminist interpretations of science, offers less restrictive readings of both Fine's trust and his suspicion toward approaching science with "ready-made philosophical engines" (Fine 1986b, 177). (shrink)
The report gives a survey of the Hungarian philosophy of science after 1973. The report throws some light on the history of Hungarian philosophy in the context of the political circumstances of the late sixties and seventies. It starts with the not so well-known history of 'persecution of philosophers' in 1973. Then it treats the emergence of the philosophy of science focussing on the most significant representatives of this branch of philosophy, which was up (...) to that time almost unknown in Hungary. Due to the fact that the important results in Hungarian philosophy of science run parallel with the reception and translation of the significant products of Western philosophy, such as Wittgenstein's, Popper's, Kuhn's, or Polanyi's works, the report gives relatively significant room to treat these achievements. The last part of the report presents a survey of the younger generation of the philosophers of science, concentrating on the most important insights. (shrink)
Volume 9 of the Routledge History of Philosophy surveys ten key topics in the Philosophy of Science, Logic and Mathematics in the Twentieth Century. Each article is written by one of the world's leading experts in that field. The papers provide a comprehensive introduction to the subject in question, and are written in a way that is accessible to philosophy undergraduates and to those outside of philosophy who are interested in these subjects. Each chapter contains (...) an extensive bibliography of the major writings in the field. Among the topics covered are the philosophy of logic; Ludwig Wittgenstein's Tractatus; a survey of logical positivism; the philosophy of physics and of science; probability theory and cybernetics. (shrink)