Science and Values

Science and Values: The Aims of Science and Their Role in Scientific Debate

Larry Laudan
Copyright Date: 1984
Pages: 160
https://www.jstor.org/stable/10.1525/j.ctt1pnkj2
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  • Book Info
    Science and Values
    Book Description:

    Laudan constructs a fresh approach to a longtime problem for the philosopher of science: how to explain the simultaneous and widespread presence of both agreement and disagreement in science. Laudan critiques the logical empiricists and the post-positivists as he stresses the need for centrality and values and the interdependence of values, methods, and facts as prerequisites to solving the problems of consensus and dissent in science.

    eISBN: 978-0-520-90811-6
    Subjects: Philosophy

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. ACKNOWLEDGMENTS
    (pp. ix-x)
  4. PREFACE
    (pp. xi-xiv)
  5. Chapter One TWO PUZZLES ABOUT SCIENCE: REFLECTIONS ON SOME CRISES IN PHILOSOPHY AND SOCIOLOGY OF SCIENCE
    (pp. 1-22)

    Science has posed a plethora of interesting challenges to several of the major philosophers and sociologists of the past half century. Indeed, trying to understand and to explain the workings of science has preoccupied several of the leading thinkers in these otherwise disparate fields. This book is an effort to help resolve a few of those challenges. But before I can expect my solutions to be taken seriously, I need to show that the problems I am grappling with are both real and as yet unresolved. I know no better way of motivating problems than by a brief survey of...

  6. Chapter Two THE HIERARCHICAL STRUCTURE OF SCIENTIFIC DEBATES
    (pp. 23-41)

    In any community as diverse as the scientific one, and especially in one with such a deeply entrenched tradition of challenges to authority, where successful breaks with tradition are handsomely rewarded, consensus is not born but made. Because agreement typically emerges out of prior disagreement, it is useful to cast the puzzle of consensus formation in this form: How is it that a very high proportion of scientists, who previously had different (and often mutually incompatible) views about a particular subject, can eventually come to hold substantially identical views about that subject? Put this way, the problem of consensus formation...

  7. Chapter Three CLOSING THE EVALUATIVE CIRCLE: RESOLVING DISAGREEMENTS ABOUT COGNITIVE VALUES
    (pp. 42-66)

    As we have seen, the hierarchical model, when stripped of some of its more grandiose claims to have the resources to terminate every scientific controversy, looks rather promising as a model for explaining dissensus and consensus at the factual and methodological levels, especially when we factor in the bidirectionality of its justificatory structure. We have also noted some of the sorts of situations in which the hierarchical model fails to deliver a verdict. Many of these latter prove to be nonstandard or highly unusual. But thereisa point where the model breaks down badly and repeatedly: specifically, when scientists...

  8. Chapter Four DISSECTING THE HOLIST PICTURE OF SCIENTIFIC CHANGE
    (pp. 67-102)

    It is now more than twenty years since the appearance of Thomas Kuhn’sThe Structure of Scientific Revolutions.For many of us entering the field two decades ago, that book made a powerful difference. Not because we fully understood it; still less because we became converts to it. It mattered, rather, because it posed in a particularly vivid form some direct challenges to the empiricism we were learning from the likes of Hempel, Nagel, Popper, and Carnap.

    Philosophers of science of that era had no doubts about whom and what the book was attacking. If Kuhn was right, all the...

  9. Chapter Five A RETICULATIONAL CRITIQUE OF REALIST AXIOLOGY AND METHODOLOGY
    (pp. 103-137)

    This essay was originally conceived as a book about how scientific theories are debated and evaluated. It is that, to be sure, but it must have become increasingly evident that it is also a book about how to judge philosophical doctrines about science. Every time a scientist seeks to justify a theory choice by citing a methodological rule, or seeks to make sense of a methodological rule by invoking a cognitive aim, he is inevitably engaging in the philosophical tasks traditionally associated with epistemology. This intimate involvement of epistemology in the workaday life of the scientist decisively gives the lie...

  10. EPILOGUE
    (pp. 138-140)

    Readers who have followed the argument this far may well be expecting me finally to deliver the goods by stating what the central values, aims, and methods of science are, or at least what they should be. Any such expectations will, I am afraid, be dashed. To lay out a set of cognitive aims and methods and to say “those are what science is about” would be to undermine much of the foregoing analysis, for we have seen time and again that the aims of science vary, and quite appropriately so, from one epoch to another, from one scientific field...

  11. REFERENCES
    (pp. 141-144)
  12. INDEX
    (pp. 145-149)
  13. Back Matter
    (pp. 150-150)