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Chairperson and Speaker - Topics: Philosophy and Epistemology of Science [Maxwell, United Kingdom]

Start Date:
26. June 2015, 14:00
Finish date:
26. June 2015, 14:30
MESHS - Espace Baïetto



Scientific Progress: Has History and Philosophy of Science Improved Our Understanding of How this Comes About?


Abstract Roundtable

Natural science is almost unique among human endeavours in achieving astonishing progress across generations.  How has this come about?  A proper, central task of History and Philosophy of Science (HPS) is to answer this question.  Why does scientific progress pose a problem?  Because there seems to be no solution to the problem of induction – the problem of how laws and theories can be verified by evidence.  Even Karl Popper’s view that science makes progress, not by verifying, but by falsifying theories by means of evidence does not work.  Failure to solve the problem of induction indicates there is a basic flaw in our understanding of science and how it achieves progress.  Instead of giving this problem the attention that it deserves, HPS in recent decades has increasingly ignored the problem, concluding, perhaps, that it is insoluble.  Many Historians seem to hold that scientific progress is a myth, and have studied science as a purely social phenomenon, while many Philosophers have turned their back on the fundamental problems concerning progress, and instead study specialized scientific disciplines.  The central problem concerning scientific progress can, however, be solved, and the solution provides us with a new conception of science, a new conception of HPS, and a new, and much more fruitful relationship between the two.



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