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Philosophies 2017, 2(4), 24; doi:10.3390/philosophies2040024

How Can a Taxonomy of Stances Help Clarify Classical Debates on Scientific Change?

1
IHPST, University of Toronto, Toronto, ON M5S 1K7, Canada
2
Department of Philosophy, Western University, London, ON N6A 5B8, Canada
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 1 September 2017 / Revised: 22 October 2017 / Accepted: 3 November 2017 / Published: 8 November 2017
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Meta-Philosophy of Science)
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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. View Full-Text
Keywords: Feyerabend; Kuhn; Lakatos; stances; acceptance; use; pursuit Feyerabend; Kuhn; Lakatos; stances; acceptance; use; pursuit
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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Barseghyan, H.; Shaw, J. How Can a Taxonomy of Stances Help Clarify Classical Debates on Scientific Change? Philosophies 2017, 2, 24.

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