The Advancement of Science: Science without Legend, Objectivity without Illusions

By Philip Kitcher | Go to book overview

1
Legend's Legacy

Once, in those dear dead days, almost, but not quite beyond recall, there was a view of science that commanded widespread popular and academic assent. That view deserves a name. I shall call it "Legend."

Legend celebrated science. Depicting the sciences as directed at noble goals, it maintained that those goals have been ever more successfully realized. For explanations of the successes, we need look no further than the exemplary intellectual and moral qualities of the heroes of Legend, the great contributors to the great advances. Legend celebrated scientists, as well as science.

The noble goals of science have something to do with the attainment of truth. Here, however, there were differences among the versions of Legend. Some thought in ambitious terms: ultimately science aims at discovering the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth about the world. Others preferred to be more modest, viewing science as directed at discovering truth about those aspects of nature that impinge most directly upon us, those that we can observe (and, perhaps, hope to control). On either construal, discovery of truth was valued both for its own sake and for the power that discovery would confer upon us.

According to Legend, science has been very successful in attaining these goals. Successive generations of scientists have filled in more and more parts of the COMPLETE TRUE STORY OF THE WORLD (or, perhaps, of the COMPLETE TRUE STORY OF THE OBSERVABLE PART OF THE WORLD). Champions of Legend acknowledged that there have been mistakes and false steps here and there, but they saw an overall trend toward accumulation of truth, or, at the very least, of better and better approximations to truth. Moreover, they offered an explanation both for the occasional mistakes and for the dominant progressive trend: scientists have achieved so much through the use of SCIENTIFIC METHOD,

Variants of Legend often disagreed, sometimes passionately, on details of method, but all concurred on some essential points. There are objective canons of evaluation of scientific claims; by and large, scientists (at least since the seventeenth century) have been tacitly aware of these canons and have applied them in assessing novel or controversial ideas; methodologists should articulate the canons, thus helping to forestall possible misapplications and to extend the scope of scientific method into areas where human inquiry typically falters; in short, science is a "clearing of rationality in a jungle of

-3-

Notes for this page

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items
Notes
Cite this page

Cited page

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Note: primary sources have slightly different requirements for citation. Please see these guidelines for more information.

Cited page

Bookmark this page
The Advancement of Science: Science without Legend, Objectivity without Illusions
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Preface vii
  • Contents *
  • 1 - Legend's Legacy 3
  • 2 - Darwin's Achievement 11
  • 3 - The Microstructure of Scientific Change 58
  • 4 - Varieties of Progress 90
  • 5 - Realism and Scientific Progress 127
  • 6 - Dissolving Rationality 178
  • 7 - The Experimental Philosophy 219
  • 8 - The Organization of Cognitive Labor 303
  • Envoi 390
  • Bibliography 392
  • Index 407
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this book

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen
Items saved from this book
  • Bookmarks
  • Highlights & Notes
  • Citations
/ 421

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Search by... Author
    Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.