By Larry Laudan
With the decline of logical positivism after 1950, a lot paintings within the philosophy of technology has careened towards an uncritical relativistic procedure. Many students, confronted with a decision among a narrowly restrictive positivism and an “anything is going” relativism, have sought to discover a center course within the debate.In this number of papers, numerous of which look right here for the 1st time, Larry Laudan argues that resolving this issue comprises now not a few centrist compromise place yet fairly a notion of clinical wisdom that is going past either positivism and relativism. This belief needs to start with the rejection of assumptions approximately wisdom that those it appears adversarial positions carry in universal. Relativism, for Laudan, is a very self-defeating kind of neopositivism.In exhibiting the connections among those ways and clarifying the positions of such influential philosophers as Thomas Kuhn and Paul Feyerabend, Laudan does the good provider of laying the root for an account of technology that rejects the error of positivism with out delivering relief and luxury to the enemies of cause. He additionally takes a clean examine many different imperative problems with medical philosophy, together with the science/non-science demarcation, the underdetermination of concept by way of proof, and the contested function of social components within the legitimation of clinical knowledge.Beyond Positivism and Relativism is an immense assertion in regards to the nature of technology and facts that would command the curiosity of philosophers of technological know-how, epistemologists, sociologists of data, and all who're heavily focused on technological know-how, clinical development, and the consequences for wisdom in lots of different fields.
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Additional resources for Beyond Positivism and Relativism: Theory, Method, and Evidence
14 But are there no constraints on when it is reasonable to abandon selected rules of logic or when to label evidence specious (because the result of hallucination) or when to redefine the terms of our theories? Of course, it is (for all I know) humanly possible to resort to any of these stratagems, as a descriptivist reading of (0) might suggest. But nothing Quine has said thus far gives us any grounds to believe, as (1) asserts, that it will ever, let alone always, be rational to do so. Yet his version of the thesis of underdetermination, if he means it to have any implications for normative epistemology, requires him to hold that it is rational to use some such devices.
But such fuzziness of conception is precisely why most methodologists have avoided falling back on these hazy notions for talking about the empirical warrant for theories. Consider a different set of standards, one arguably more familiar to philosophers of science: • prefer theories which are internally consistent; • prefer theories which correctly make some predictions which are surprising given our background assumptions; -46- • prefer theories which have been tested against a diverse range of kinds of phenomena to those which have been tested only against very similar sorts of phenomena.
The usual reading of Quine here is that he showed the impotence of negative instances to disprove a theory, just as Hume had earlier shown the impotence of positive instances to prove a theory. Indeed, it is this gloss which establishes the parallel between Quine's form of the thesis of underdetermination and HUD. Between them, they seem to lay to rest any prospect for a purely deductive logic of scientific inference. But what is the status of (1)? I have already said that Quine nowhere engages in an exhaustive examination of various rules of rational theory choice with a view to showing them impotent to make a choice between all pairs of theories.
Beyond Positivism and Relativism: Theory, Method, and Evidence by Larry Laudan