Returning to Scientific Practice : A New Reflection on Philosophy of Science book cover
1st Edition

Returning to Scientific Practice
A New Reflection on Philosophy of Science

ISBN 9780367728984
Published December 18, 2020 by Routledge
346 Pages

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Book Description

This book is a result from a collective study on philosophy of scientific practice (PSP), which began around 2002 and still ongoing. There is an apparently increasing interest in scientific practice, influenced by the historicistic philosophy of science and the sociology of scientific knowledge (SSK). Prof. WU Tong and his research group believe that it is necessary for PSP to turn from the theory-dominant position to the practice dominance. PSP has also put forward the possibility of reinterpreting the epistemic status of local knowledge in Chinese tradition, which provides the most significant motivation to participate this study.

In this book, we have selected three main cases – namely, Chinese medicine, Fengshui, and Ethnobotany – to examine the effect of PSP. The aim of our collective study is not merely on theoretical construction of PSP, but also to consider the various applications of PSP, especially for re-interpreting and demonstrating the variety of local knowledge from traditional China, which seems to be a genuine contribution to the international enterprise of philosophy of science, particularly made by Chinese scholars.

Table of Contents

List of figures

List of tables


Introduction: towards philosophy of scientific practice

1 The origin of the concept of practice

2 Scientific practice: significance, types, and scopes

3 The nature of scientific practice

4 The nature of knowledge: local knowledge

5 Knowledge and power

6 The contextual normativity of scientific practice

7 Philosophy of scientific practice and naturalism (I)

8 Philosophy of scientific practice and naturalism (II)

9 Philosophy of scientific practice and relativism

10 Partnering the philosophy of scientific practice: the philosophy of scientific experimentation

11 New empiricism: a close relative of the philosophy of scientific practice

12 The starting point of scientific research: opportunity, question, or observation?

13 A new solution for an old problem: the relationships of observation, experiment, and theory

14 New studies on replicability of scientific experiments

15 Local knowledge (I): traditional Chinese medicine (TCM)

16 Local knowledge (II): Chinese theory of Fengshui

17 Local knowledge (III): ethnobotany

18 Conclusion: scientific practice in ongoing and unlimited process



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XU Zhu, Associate Professor in Department of Philosophy, ECNU. Research interests includes Epistemology, Philosophy of Action, Wittgenstein, and Philosophy of Social Science. The author of Understanding the Social: from Normativity to Mechanism (monograph published in Chinese) and several papers published both in Chinese and in English.

WU Tong, Professor of Philosophy of Science and Technology (tenured) in the STS Centre, Tsinghua University. Research interests include philosophy of scientific practice, philosophy of system and complexity, and local knowledge. The author of The Melody of Growth: the Self-Organizing Evolution of Science (monograph published in Chinese) and many influential papers in Chinese philosophy of science and technology.