- In the early part of the course we looked at empiricist views of science and the problems they encountered. In the last part of the course we looked at models of degree of belief and how these degrees can change as evidence comes in. How does the introduction of these ideas affect the problems encountered earlier? Choose either the problem of holism about testing or Goodman’s ” new riddle of induction,” and consider how the problem looks if it is approached using the idea of degree of belief, and the model of belief change belief we worked through in class. Do these ideas make much difference?
- If a person is a scientific realist, it is fairly easy to say something about the nature of progress in science. Perhaps: We make progress when we get more understanding of how the world really is, or more accurate presentations of how the world really works. Suppose that you are metaphysical constractivist instead; you think that the world we live in and investigate is a product of our theories, or or concepts, or the settlement of debates. Within a view of that kind, What might scientific progress be?
- The third option is more of a research project. Priority disputes are common in science. Robert merton saw them as an illustration of the great importance of credit as a form of scientific reward. Choose a priority dispute and work through it. How did it arise? How was it resolved? If it was resolved? What were its consequences for the field? Was it harmful? Beneficial?Did it impede investigation or have other notable effects?
It is OK to use the same case you chose for the online exercise about priority disputes but don’t use the case of Rosalind Franklin; that was not a priority dispute in Merton’s sense.