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
Date Written: June 28, 2007
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: Suggested Citation