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Taking the naturalistic turn seriously : a critique of naturalized philosophy of science

By Philip Graham Ashton Good

Abstract

This thesis attempts to assess the viability of arguing for realism from a naturalistic perspective. It demonstrates that extant attempts to carry out this project fail to establish realism as a better explanation of science than various antirealist alternatives (particular attention is given to Laudan's naturalistic antirealism, van Fraassen's constructive empiricism and social constructivist accounts of science). In particular, it is shown that various attempts to refute Laudan's pessimistic induction are not successful. Further, it is argued that there is a good prima facie case for saying that naturalism and realism are\ud not compatible philosophical positions. Accordingly, an attempt is made to develop a naturalistic account of science that is neither realist nor antirealist. Here it is argued that the main candidate for such a position, Arthur Fine's NOA, faces four major problems. In order to fix these problems I turn to Rorty's antirepresentationalist account of science and culture but conclude that as an attempt to develop and defend NOA, this account is inadequate in several important ways

Publisher: School of Philosophy (Leeds)
Year: 2003
OAI identifier: oai:etheses.whiterose.ac.uk:223

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