Models and Perspectives on Stage: Remarks on Giere's Scientific Perspectivism

Studies in the History and Philosophy of Science A, Forthcoming

18 Pages Posted: 7 Jan 2008 Last revised: 28 Aug 2008

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

Date Written: June 28, 2007

Abstract

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.

Keywords: Giere, Feyerabend, Dewey, perspectivism, pragmatism, pluralism

Suggested Citation

Brown, Matthew J., Models and Perspectives on Stage: Remarks on Giere's Scientific Perspectivism (June 28, 2007). Studies in the History and Philosophy of Science A, Forthcoming. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1080916 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1080916

Matthew J. Brown (Contact Author)

University of Texas at Dallas - School of Arts and Humanities ( email )

Mail Stop JO 31
Richardson, TX 75083
United States

University of Texas at Dallas - Center for Values in Medicine, Science, and Technology ( email )

800 W. Campbell Rd, JO 31
Richardson, TX 75080
United States

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