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11 - Braithwaite and Kuhn: Analogy-Clusters within and without Hypothetico-Deductive Systems in Science

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  22 September 2009

Yorick Wilks
Affiliation:
University of Sheffield
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Summary

1. Current relativist conceptions of science depend widely, though vaguely, upon the insights of T. S. Kuhn (1962), and, in particular, upon his notion of a paradigm. This notion is being used by relativists to support the contention that, since scientific theory is paradigm-founded, and therefore context-based, there can be no one discernible process of scientific verification. However, as I have shown in an earlier paper (1970a), there is another, more exact conception of a Kuhnian paradigm to be considered: namely, that conception of it which says that it is either an analogically used artefact, or even sometimes an actual ‘crude analogy’, that is, an analogical figure of speech expressed in a string of words.

This alternative conception of paradigm, far from supporting a verification-deprived conception of science (which, for those of us philosophers who are also trying to do technological science, just seems a conception of science totally divorced from scientific reality) can, on the contrary, be used to enrich and amplify the most strictly verification-based philosophy of science that is known, namely the Braithwaitean conception of it as a verifiable hypothetico-deductive (H-D) system. For such a paradigm, even though, in unselfconscious scientific thinking, it is usually a crude and concrete conceptual structure, can yet be shown to yield a set of abstract attributes.

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Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2005

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