, Volume 22, Issue 3, pp 447-451,
Open Access This content is freely available online to anyone, anywhere at any time.
Date: 15 Apr 2008

Comments on ‘Black Box Arguments’

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I consider Sally Jackson’s analysis of “black box arguments,” on the most abstract level, as a valuable contribution to an ongoing discussion on a very important issue: how to find a rational and critical way between the two extremes of, on the one hand, uncompromising dogmatism and, on the other, endless scepticism in our deliberations. Philosophers of science and argumentation theorists alike have persistently been trying to properly diagnose and solve this difficulty central to their disciplines. Latour (1987), in his endeavour to find a solution to this problem, proposed the concept of a black box: Science cannot be constantly ‘in the making,’ for it has to move forward and produce results. Therefore, those of the tentative conclusions of an open, transparent box of ‘science in action’ which are based on reliable methods and compelling evidence cease to be controversial and become widely accepted through a consensus of a community of scientists. In this way, a contested hypothesis