Chapter

Consensual Rationality and Scientific Revolution

Keith Lehrer

in Metamind

Published in print June 1990 | ISBN: 9780198248507
Published online October 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780191681141 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198248507.003.0008
Consensual Rationality and Scientific Revolution

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Some philosophers and historians of science claim that the acceptance and rejection of scientific theories is underdetermined by experimental results. They conclude that there is no rational method for deciding such matters solely on the basis of empirical information. The acceptance and rejection of scientific theories depends on social influence and is settled by social dominance. There are also those who hold, to the contrary, that the acceptance and rejection of theories in science is based solely on empirical information according to a rational method. There is however another source of empirical information: the opinions of experts. When such social information is properly aggregated, the acceptance and rejection of scientific theories, though underdetermined by experimental results, is fully determined by the total information available.

Keywords: science; rationality; consensual probability; experiment; theory; information; expertise; consensus; respect; belief

Chapter.  6589 words. 

Subjects: Metaphysics

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