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Philosophy of science II. From positivists to Thomas Kuhn . Key concepts in the philosophy of science . Positivism Logical positivism Falsificationism Paradigms Anarchy Social constructions. Positivism Auguste Comte (1798-1857) . Facts Facts More facts Generalize from those facts

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philosophy of science ii

Philosophy of science II

From positivists to Thomas Kuhn

key concepts in the philosophy of science
Key concepts in the philosophy of science
  • Positivism
  • Logical positivism
  • Falsificationism
  • Paradigms
  • Anarchy
  • Social constructions
positivism auguste comte 1798 1857
Positivism Auguste Comte (1798-1857)
  • Facts
  • Facts
  • More facts
  • Generalize from those facts
  • = induction
comtes evolutionary stages
Comtes evolutionary stages

Law of three phases of civilisation’s evolution

  • Theological
  • Metaphysical
  • Scientific

The final positive stage

logical positivism
Logical positivism
  • Vienna circle 1920’s- 1930’s
    • Moritz Schlick, Rudolf Carnap, Otto Neurath, A. J. Ayer
  • Metaphysics ( = not science):
    • All propositions that are neither verifiable by empirical observation nor demonstrable as analytic.
    • Ex.: religious and ethical statements....
  • Scientific method
    • Induction and verifiability
alfred ayer 1910 89 in his language truth and logic first published in 1936
Alfred Ayer (1910-89) in his Language, Truth and Logic first published in 1936.

The first claim of logical positivists is that a statement can only be true only if either

  • it is a self-evident analytic, deductive truth of the kind found in mathematics and formal logic (e.g. ‘2+2=4’) or because
  • the statement matches reality precisely. A consequence of this was that statements had to be verifiable to be meaningful.
vienna circle project
Vienna circle project
  • Develop an exact and unbiased language for science.
    • logic, mathematics.
  • Demarcation problem
    • make a clear distinction between science and metaphysics (not science)
  • Reductionism:
    • Physics, the queen of science.
  • Karl R. Popper 1902-1994
  • Criticized inductivism and verifiability:
    • No number of cases of “A being B” can establish that “all A being B”. All such statements remain disprovable.
principle of falsifiabillity
Principle of falsifiabillity
  • Scientific theory can never be accorded more than a provisional acceptance.
  • A theory holds until it is disproved.
  • Falsification, not verification is the appropriate object of the observational and experimental procedures of science.
  • Falsifiability is a necessary part of a scientific theory.
popper s hypothetico deductive method
Popper’s hypothetico-deductive method
  • Enlargements of our temporary knowledge begins with the conversions of hunches or imaginative insights into hypotheses.
  • Then, once the conditions for falsification have been established by the application of deductive logic, such hypotheses must be tested through sustained search for negative instances.
  • Try to give an examples of theories which are falsifiable and not falsifiable.
  • What would Popper say about a theory which is not falsifiable?
  • Are popperianism or/and logical positivism descriptive or normative theories of science? Argue for your answer.
  • What does this have to do with the problem of demarcation?
post popperian theories
Post-Popperian theories
  • Both The logical positivists and popperians did not describe reality, they were creating norms about how they thought science should be practiced for the best ( most effective ) results.
  • Critics by
    • Thomas Kuhn, Imre Lakatos, Paul Feyerabend…
thomas s kuhn 1922 96
Thomas S. Kuhn (1922–96)
  • “Structure of the scientific revolution” (1962)
  • Paradigm theory
    • Prescience - normal science - crisis - revolution - new normal science - new crisis- revolution…
  • A theory based on study of history of science
  • Attempts to describe how science develops in reality
kuhn s normal science
Kuhn's normal science
  • Grand theory as a paradigm
  • Praxis
    • community of scientists
      • social power-relations and structures in the scientific community
    • methodological school, exemplars
    • puzzling reality in terms of the grand theory by deduction
    • increasing anomalies lead to crisis
paradigm shift
Paradigm shift
  • In crisis there will be ‘extraordinary science’ where there will be several competing theories
  • One theory will win because it will get the greatest number of supporters in the scientific community
  • ‘Paradigm shift is an ‘irrational’ process, such as accuracy, scope, simplicity, fruitfulness, and the ‘like’ of each paradigm
kuhns wiew on scientific revolution
Kuhns wiew on scientific revolution
  • Not (unexpected) new results from research, rather a new perspective or interpretation of data.
  • Exemplify the following concepts:
    • Paradigm
    • Normal-science
    • Exemplars
    • Anomalies
    • Paradigm in crisis
    • Extraordinary science
    • Paradigm shift
    • incommensurability
imre lakatos
Imre Lakatos
  • ‘Criticism and the methodology of scientific research programs’ (1968 )
  • Reacts to Kuhn’s views and claims that
    • there does exist an objective criteria where scientists can make a rational choice between two competing theories
    • it is due to dishonesty that some scientists do not give up their position
lakatos scientific research programs
Lakatos’ scientific research programs
  • Research programs are series of theories which can be viewed in two ways
    • a. negative heuristic that statesa ‘untouchablehard core’ of hypothesis with a protective belt around it, protecting it from falsification
    • b. positive heuristic declaring that the core can be altered slightly in order to fit progression
positive heuristic
Positive heuristic
  • is the good one from Lakatos point of view
    • The development from Copernicus to Newton is his good example
  • Negative heuristic is the less good one
    • Tyco Brahes geocentric theory is Lakatos example here
the lakatos view
The Lakatos view ?
  • He revised the Popperian view after Kuhn
  • If the Popperian view had been practiced through history none of the progressive theories would have survived
  • He wanted to save the sciences from Kuhn's irrational grounds
  • Paul Feyerabend
  • No single correct method in science
  • Anything that works is fine
  • = epistemological anarchy
social construction of science
Social construction of science
  • “laboratory life” is disorganized
  • Scientific logic vs. availability of equipment, funds, careers etc.