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The Need for a Revolution in the Philosophy of Science

Maxwell, N; (2002) The Need for a Revolution in the Philosophy of Science. Journal for General Philosophy of Science , 33 (2) 381 - 408. 10.1023/A:1022480009733. Green open access

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There is a need to bring about a revolution in the philosophy of science, interpreted to be both the academic discipline, and the official view of the aims and methods of science upheld by the scientific community. At present both are dominated by the view that in science theories are chosen on the basis of empirical considerations alone, nothing being permanently accepted as a part of scientific knowledge independently of evidence. Biasing choice of theory in the direction of simplicity, unity or explanatory power does not permanently commit science to the thesis that nature is simple or unified. This current "paradigm" is, I argue, untenable. We need a new paradigm, which acknowledges that science makes a hierarchy of metaphysical assumptions concerning the comprehensibility and knowability of the universe, theories being chosen partly on the basis of compatibility with these assumptions. Eleven arguments are given for favouring this new "paradigm" over the current one.

Type: Article
Title: The Need for a Revolution in the Philosophy of Science
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1023/A:1022480009733
Publisher version: http://dx.doi.org/10.1023/A:1022480009733
Language: English
Additional information: The original publication is available at www.springerlink.com
Keywords: scientific method, aims of science, scientific discovery, scientific progress, metaphysics, simplicity, explanation
URI: http://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/105641
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