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November 26 , 2010

The Process of Science

Contemporary Philosophical Approaches to Understanding Scientific Practice


For some time now the philosophy of science has been undergoing a major transfor­ mation. It began when the 'received view' of scientific knowledge -that developed by logical positivists and their intellectual descendants - was challenged as bearing little resemblance to and having little relevance for the understanding of real science. Subsequently, an overwhelming amount of criticism has been added. One would be hard-pressed to find anyone who would support the 'received view' today. Yet, in the search for a new analysis of scientific knowledge, this view continues to exert influence over the tenor of much of present-day philosophy of science; in particular, over its problems and its methods of analysis. There has, however, emerged an area within the discipline - called by some the 'new philosophy of science' - that has been engaged in transforming the problems and methods of philosophy of science. While there is far from a consensus of beliefs in this area, most of the following contentions would be affirmed by those working in it: - that science is an open-ended, on-going activity, whose character has changed significantly during its history - that science is not a monolithic enterprise - that good science can lead to false theories - that science has its roots in everyday circumstances, needs, methods, concepts, etc.
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