Synthese

, Volume 194, Issue 5, pp 1787–1807 | Cite as

Virtues and vices in scientific practice

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Abstract

The role intellectual virtues play in scientific inquiry has raised significant discussions in the recent literature. A number of authors have recently explored the link between virtue epistemology and philosophy of science with the aim to show whether epistemic virtues can contribute to the resolution of the problem of theory choice. This paper analyses how intellectual virtues can be beneficial for successful resolution of theory choice. We explore the role of virtues as well as vices in scientific inquiry and their beneficial effects in the context of theory choice. We argue that vices can play a role in widening the set of potential candidate theories and support our claim with historical examples and normative arguments from formal social epistemology. We argue that even though virtues appear to be neither necessary nor sufficient for scientific success, they have a positive effect because they accelerate successful convergence amongst scientists in theory choice situations.

Keywords

Virtues Vices Theory choice Social epistemology  Consensus formation 

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.UFR de Philosophie et SociologieUniversité Paris-SorbonneParisFrance
  2. 2.Munich Center for Mathematical PhilosophyLudwig-Maximilians-Universität MünchenMunichGermany

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