Covers the interpretations of scientific progress from William Whewell through Karl Popper and Imre Lakatos to Thomas Kuhn and beyond, to the latest contemporary debates.
What is the nature of scientific progress and what makes it possible? When we look back at the scientific theories of the past and compare them to the state of science today, there seems little doubt that we have made progress. But is it a continuous process which gradually incorporates past successes into present theories, or are entrenched theories overthrown by superior competitors in a revolutionary manner? Theories of Scientific Progress is the ideal introduction to this topic. It is clearly organized, with suggestions for further reading that point the way to both primary texts and secondary literature. It will be essential reading for students of the history and philosophy of science.
PART Iof Scientific Progress 2. Brewster on How Not To Do History of Science 3. Mill's Objections to Whewell's Historicism 4. Progress Through Reduction 5. Lakatos' Version of the "Progress Is Incorporation" Thesis 6. Progress and OVERTHROW 7. I. B. Cohen on the Identification of Scientific Revolutions 8. Kuhn's Taxonomic Criterion 9. Toulmin's "Ideals of Natural Order" 10. Ideological Upheaval and Revolutionary Change 11. Kuhn's Three-Beat Pattern 12. Laudan's Reticulational Model of Scientific Change 13. Popper on Progress Through Overthrow-With-Incorporation PART III: DESCRIPTIVE THEORIES OF SCIENTIFIC PROGRESS 14. Normative and Descriptive Theories 15. Scientific Progress and Convergence Upon Truth a. Peirce on Science as a Self-Correcting Enterprise b. Duhem and Quine on the Limits of Falsification c. Cartwright on the Importance of False Theories d. Rescher on Methodological Pragmatism and Scientific Progress e. Progress, Realism and Miracles 16. Laudan on Scientific Progress as Increasing Problem-Solving Effectiveness 17. Kitcher on Conceptual Progress and Explanatory Progress 18. Normative Naturalism 19. Scientific Progress and the Theory of Organic Evolution a. Toulmin on Conceptual Evolution b. Hull on Selection Processes c. Is the Evolutionary Analogy Appropriate? d. Campbell and Popper on Blind Variation and Selective Retention e. Does the Evolutionary Analogy have Explanatory Value? f. Ruse on the Evolutionary Origins of Evaluative Standards.