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Section V Dynamics of Scientific Research

Chair: Kyle Stanford (University of California, Irvine)

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Michael Friedman (Stanford University): Extending the Dynamics of Reason: Generalizing a Post-Kuhnian Approach to the History and Philosophy of Science

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Summary

The dynamics of reason is an approach to the history and philosophy of  science developed as an essentially historical philosophical response  to Kuhn's theory of scientific revolutions. It aims to present a  neo-Kantian conception of the distinctive intersubjective rationality of the modern physical sciences by embedding Kuhn's account of the development of these science from the Copernican revolution to Einsteinian relativity in a wider historical narrative depicting the interplay between these developments and the parallel developments in modern scientific philosophy leading through Kant up to the early twentieth century. This talk discusses two generalizations of my approach: (i) an explanation of the sense in which the neo-Kantian conception in question represents a drastically historicized version of scientific rationality; (ii) an attempt to extend the historical narrative from purely intellectual to social, technological, and institutional history as well. John Heilbron's recent work on cathedrals as solar observatories furnishes the main example for such an extension.

Discussion

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Peter Barker (University of Oklahoma): The Cognitive Structure of Scientific Revolutions

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Summary

Philosophers of science frequently talk about conceptual systems and conceptual structures, and attribute these things to individual scientists or to research communities, however there is little general agreement on the nature of these structures. Recent experimental research in cognitive science has considerably refined the theory of concepts. Drawing upon the results of that research, philosophers can construct more concrete and empirically defensible representations of conceptual systems. I will suggest that this research supports a modest and useful sense of  both normal and revolutionary science, not as epistemological continuities or discontinuities, but as particular patterns of conceptual change.

Discussion

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Commentator: Jürgen Renn (MPIWG Berlin)

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General discussion

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