1st Edition

New Philosophical Perspectives on Scientific Progress

Edited By Yafeng Shan Copyright 2023
    424 Pages 6 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    This collection of original essays offers a comprehensive examination of scientific progress, which has been a central topic in recent debates in philosophy of science.

    Traditionally, debates over scientific progress have focused on different methodological approaches, notably the epistemic and semantic approaches. The chapters in Part I of the book examine these two traditional approaches, as well as the newly revived functional and newly developed noetic approaches. Part II features in-depth case studies of scientific progress from the history of science. The chapters cover individual sciences including physics, chemistry, evolutionary biology, seismology, psychology, sociology, economics, and medicine. Finally, Part III of the book explores important issues from contemporary philosophy of science. These chapters address the implications of scientific progress for the scientific realism/anti-realism debate, incommensurability, values in science, idealisation, scientific speculation, interdisciplinarity, and scientific perspectivalism.

    New Philosophical Perspectives on Scientific Progress will be of interest to researchers and advanced students working on the history and philosophy of science.

    Introduction: Philosophical Analyses of Scientific Progress Yafeng Shan

    Part I: Main Philosophical Approaches

    1. The Epistemic Approach: Scientific Progress as the Accumulation of Knowledge Alexander Bird

    2. The Semantic Approach: Scientific Progress as Increased Truthlikeness Ilkka Niiniluoto

    3. The Functional Approach: Scientific Progress as Increased Usefulness Yafeng Shan

    4. The Noetic Approach: Scientific Progress as Enabling Understanding Finnur Dellsén

    Part II: Historical Case Studies

    5. Progress in Physics: A Modular Approach Olivier Darrigol

    6. Progress in Chemistry: A Cumulative and Pluralist View Robin Findlay Hendry

    7. Progress in Chemistry: Themes at the Macroscopic and Microscopic Levels Paul Needham

    8. Epigenetic Inheritance and Progress in Modern Biology: A Developmental System Approach Eva Jablonka

    9. Progress in Seismology: Turning Data into Evidence About the Earth’s Interior Teru Miyake

    10. Progress in Psychology Uljana Feest

    11. Progress in Sociology? Stephen Turner

    12. Progress in Economics Marcel Boumans, Catherine Herfeld

    13. Progress in Medicine and Medicines: Moving From Qualitative Experience to Commensurable Materialism Harold Cook

    Part III: Related Issues

    14. Scientific Progress and Scientific Realism David Harker

    15. Scientific Progress and Incommensurability Eric Oberheim

    16. Scientific Progress and Aesthetic Values Milena Ivanova

    17. Scientific Progress and Idealisation Insa Lawler

    18. Scientific Speculation and Evidential Progress Peter Achinstein

    19. Scientific Progress and Interdisciplinarity Hanne Andersen

    20. A Human Rights Approach to Scientific Progress: The Deontic Framework Michela Massimi.



    Yafeng Shan is Research Associate in Philosophy at the University of Kent. He is the author of Doing Integrated History and Philosophy of Science: A Case Study of the Origin of Genetics (2020) and the editor of Examining Philosophy Itself (2022).