Scientific Knowledge

Philip Kitcher

in The Oxford Handbook of Epistemology

Published in print October 2005 | ISBN: 9780195301700
Published online September 2009 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks

 Scientific Knowledge

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This article offers an approach to scientific knowledge that is more systematic than many current approaches in the epistemology of science. It challenges arguments against the truth of the theoretical claims of science. In addition, it attempts to discover reasons for endorsing the truth of such claims. It tries to apply current “scientific method” to this end, but doubts that any context-independent method gives warrant to the theoretical claims of science. It suggests that the discovery of reasons might succeed if one asks why anyone thinks the theoretical claims one accepts are true and then looks for answers that reconstruct actual belief-generating processes. To this end, this article presents the “homely argument” for scientific truth. It entails that when a field of science is continually applied to yield precise predictions, then it is at least approximately true.

Keywords: scientific knowledge; epistemology; scientific method; context-independent method; belief-generating processes

Article.  10438 words. 

Subjects: Philosophy ; Epistemology ; Philosophy of Science

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