Barseghyan and Shaw (2017)

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Barseghyan, Hakob and Shaw, Jamie. (2017) How Can a Taxonomy of Stances Help Clarify Classical Debates on Scientific Change? Philosophies 2 (4), 24. Retrieved from http://www.mdpi.com/2409-9287/2/4/24.

Title How Can a Taxonomy of Stances Help Clarify Classical Debates on Scientific Change?
Resource Type journal article
Author(s) Hakob Barseghyan, Jamie Shaw
Year 2017
URL http://www.mdpi.com/2409-9287/2/4/24
DOI 10.3390/philosophies2040024
Journal Philosophies
Volume 2
Number 4
Pages 24

Abstract

In this paper, we demonstrate how a systematic taxonomy of stances can help elucidate two classic debates of the historical turn—the Lakatos–Feyerabend debate concerning theory rejection and the Feyerabend–Kuhn debate about pluralism during normal science. We contend that Kuhn, Feyerabend, and Lakatos were often talking at cross-purposes due to the lack of an agreed upon taxonomy of stances. Specifically, we provide three distinct stances that scientists take towards theories: acceptance of a theory as the best available description of its domain, use of a theory in practical applications, and pursuit (elaboration) of a theory. We argue that in the Lakatos–Feyerabend debate, Lakatos was concerned with acceptance whereas Feyerabend was mainly concerned with pursuit. Additionally, we show how Feyerabend and Kuhn’s debate on the role of pluralism/monism in normal science involved a crucial conflation of all three stances. Finally, we outline a few general lessons concerning the process of scientific change.

Contributors

Hakob Barseghyan (100.0%)