Chapter

Transience

Lawrence Sklar

in Theory and Truth

Published in print February 2002 | ISBN: 9780199251575
Published online November 2003 | e-ISBN: 9780191598449 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/0199251576.003.0005
 Transience

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It is a platitude of scepticism that our theories are never more than transient holders of our scientific esteem, soon to be replaced by newer, incompatible theories. What are some ‘global’ responses one can make to such a version of scepticism? How does science deal with the apparent transience of its best theories in its project of going onward to ever better theoretical characterizations of the world? Given the transience of our theories, how would it be best to characterize our epistemic attitude toward our theories: perhaps as believing them to be the appropriate starting points to be reconstructed as the source of our future theories. Science itself can provide theories about our current best theories as guides to the future.

Keywords: epistemic attitude; reconstruction; scientific progress; scientific theory; scepticism; theory change; transience

Chapter.  22413 words. 

Subjects: Philosophy of Science

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