Scientific Pluralism Reconsidered: A New Approach to the (Dis)Unity of Science

Scientific Pluralism Reconsidered: A New Approach to the (Dis)Unity of Science

by Stephanie Ruphy


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Can we expect our scientific theories to make up a unified structure, or do they form a kind of “patchwork” whose pieces remain independent from each other? Does the proliferation of sometimes-incompatible representations of the same phenomenon compromise the ability of science to deliver reliable knowledge? Is there a single correct way to classify things that science should try to discover, or is taxonomic pluralism here to stay? These questions are at the heart of philosophical debate on the unity or plurality of science, one of the most central issues in philosophy of science today. This book offers a critical overview and a new structure of this debate. It focuses on the methodological, epistemic, and metaphysical commitments of various philosophical attitudes surrounding monism and pluralism, and offers novel perspectives and pluralist theses on scientific methods and objects, reductionism, plurality of representations, natural kinds, and scientific classifications.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780822944584
Publisher: University of Pittsburgh Press
Publication date: 01/20/2017
Edition description: 1
Pages: 208
Product dimensions: 5.70(w) x 8.70(h) x 0.90(d)

About the Author

Stéphanie Ruphy is professor of philosophy of science and head of the research laboratory PPL (Philosophy, Pratices, and Langages) at Université Grenoble Alpes in France. She is also president of the Société de philosophie des sciences.

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments ix

Introduction xi

1 Languages, Methods, Objects 3

The Linguistic Unity of the Vienna Circle 6

The Question of the Unity of the Object Domain of the Sciences in Catnap's Work 12

Traditional Methodological Unities 20

Hacking's Styles of Scientific Reasoning 23

Ontological Enrichment and "Foliated Pluralism" 30

2 Intertheoretic Relations and Their Metaphysical Import 35

Metaphysical Foundations of Antireductionist Theses 36

From the Failure of Reduction ism to the Disorder of Things: A Problematic Inference 53

Against Cartwright's Nomological Metaphysical Pluralism 58

Ontological Order and Nomological Disorder in the Structuralist Approach 65

Nonreductive Intertheoretic Relations and Unity of Nature 71

Intermediate Conclusion 76

3 Representations 80

Current Defining Lines of the Monism versus Pluralism Debate 81

Simulations of Real-World Physical Systems: A Case of Permanent Incompatible Plurality 93

Taxonomic Pluralism 110

Concluding Remarks 132

Notes 137

References 161

Index 174

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