General Philosophy of science & Epistemology

 

 

Papers in this section address issues that belong either to epistemology or to general philosophy of science. To cut a long story short, the central question of traditional epistemology is: what makes an individual's true belief an instance of genuine knowledge rather than a mere opinion that happens to be true by chance? There are two basic approaches to this question. Epistemological internalists argue that an individual's belief counts as knowledge if the individual is able to offer explicit justifications for her belief. Epistemological externalists argue that an individual's belief counts as knowledge if the belief-forming mechanism is reliable. To assess the scope of general philosophy of science, it is useful to draw a basic distinction between two kinds of concepts both of which are indispensable to the human scientific investigation of the world. On the one hand, each of the many scientific disciplines makes use of a specialized vocabulary expressing concepts invented by scientists for the purpose of explaining and predicting surprising phenomena (e.g., 'electron', 'proton', 'quark', 'DNA molecule', 'cell', 'virus', 'anti-body', 'neuron', 'c-command', or 'anaphor'). On the other hand, for the purpose of conveying and appraising the contents of their theoretical hypotheses and experimental findings, scientists make also use of general concepts expressible by such ordinary words as 'theory', 'observation', 'explanation', 'confirmation', 'prediction', 'law', 'evidence', 'causation', 'science', 'truth', and so on. As I see it, one of the basic tasks of general philosophy of science is to make explicit the contents of the concepts expressed by the non-specialized vocabulary used in scientific reasoning.


Publications
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(1976) Peut-on se passer de l'induction sur l'argumentation en philosophie des sciences ? Langages, 42, 47-55.

(1984) Le rationalisme peut-il être purement déductif ? Le Temps de la Réflexion, 5, 247-270.

(1986) Qu'est-ce que la philosophie analytique des sciences ? In J. Hamburger (dir.) La Philosophie des Sciences Aujourd'hui, pp. 63-101.

(1987) Is There a Path Half-Way between Realism and Verificationism? Synthese, 73, 531-547.

(1988) Justification éthique et justification scientifique. In F. Récanati (dir.), L'Age de la science, Lectures philosophiques : 1. Éthique et Philosophie politique. Paris : Odile Jacob, pp. 215-234.

(1989) Présentation. In P. Jacob (dir.) L'Age de la science, Lectures philosophiques : 2. Épistémologie. Paris : Odile Jacob, pp. 9-17.

(1989) Qu'est-ce que l'autoritarisme épistémologique ? In P. Jacob (dir.) L'Age de la science. Lectures philosophiques : 2. Épistémologie. Paris : Odile Jacob, pp. 25-57.

(1989) Qu'est-ce qu'une opinion justifiée ? In P. Jacob (dir.) L'Age de la science. Lectures philosophiques : 2. Épistémologie. Paris : Odile Jacob, pp. 309-332.

(1990) Une conception anthropocentrique de l'analyse ? In J. Vuillemin (dir.) L'Age de la science. Lectures philosophiques : 3. La philosophie et son histoire. Paris : Odile Jacob, pp. 105-109.

(1998) L'histoire des sciences et la philosophie des sciences. Le Débat, 102, 82-90.

(2001) La controverse entre Neurath et Schlick. In J. Sebestik and A. Soulez (eds), Le Cercle de Vienne : Doctrines et Controverses. Paris : L'harmattan, pp.197-218