Models and Perspectives on Stage: Remarks on Giere's Scientific Perspectivism
Matthew J. Brown
University of Texas at Dallas - School of Arts and Humanities; University of Texas at Dallas - Center for Values in Medicine, Science, and Technology
June 28, 2007
Studies in the History and Philosophy of Science A, Forthcoming
Ron Giere's recent book Scientific Perspectivism sets out an account of science that attempts to forge a via media between two popular extremes: absolutist, objectivist realism on the one hand, and social constructivism or skeptical anti-realism on the other. The key for Giere is to treat both scientific observation and scientific theories as perspectives, which are limited, partial, contingent, context-, agent- and purpose-dependent, and pluralism-friendly, while nonetheless world-oriented and modestly realist. Giere's perspectivism bears significant similarly to early writings by Paul Feyerabend and John Dewey. Comparing these to Giere's work not only uncovers a consilience of ideas, but also can help to fill out Giere's account in places where it is under-developed, as well as helping us understand the work of these earlier authors and their continuing relevance to contemporary concerns in philosophy of science.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 18
Keywords: Giere, Feyerabend, Dewey, perspectivism, pragmatism, pluralism
Date posted: January 7, 2008 ; Last revised: August 28, 2008
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