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Repairing the reticulated model of scientific rationality


InScience and Values (1984) and other, more recent, works, e.g. (1987a, 1987b, 1989a, 1989b, 1990), Larry Laudan proposes a theory of scientific debate he dubs the “reticulated model of scientific rationality” (Laudan, 1984, pp. 50–66). The model stands in sharp contrast to hierarchical approaches to rationality exemplified by Popper (1959), Hempel (1965), and Reichenbach (1938), as well as the conventionalist views of rationality defended by Carnap (1950), Popper (1959), Kuhn (1962), and Lakatos (1978). Ironically, the model commits some of the same errors Laudan finds in hierarchicalist and conventionalists approaches to scientific rationality. This paper will show that the model can be fixed by recognizing that criteria of goal assessment have no privileged status. These rules are best viewed as simply rules of rationality (or rules of scientific method) by another name.

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Resnik, D. Repairing the reticulated model of scientific rationality. Erkenntnis 40, 343–355 (1994).

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  • Sharp Contrast
  • Conventionalist Approach
  • Scientific Method
  • Hierarchical Approach
  • Scientific Debate