Advertisement

Synthese

, Volume 196, Issue 3, pp 819–832 | Cite as

Systematicity and the Continuity Thesis

  • K. Brad WrayEmail author
S.I.: Systematicity - The Nature of Science

Abstract

Hoyningen-Huene (Systematicity: the nature of science, Oxford University Press, Oxford, 2013) develops an account of what science is, distinguishing it from common sense. According to Hoyningen-Huene, the key distinguishing feature is that science is more systematic. He identifies nine ways in which science is more systematic than common sense. I compare Hoyningen-Huene’s view to a view I refer to as the “Continuity Thesis.” The Continuity Thesis states that scientific knowledge is just an extension of common sense. This thesis is associated with Quine, Planck, and others. I argue that Hoyningen-Huene ultimately rejects the Continuity Thesis, and I present further evidence to show that the Continuity Thesis is false. I also argue that it is the systematicity of science that ultimately grounds the epistemic authority of science. Hoyningen-Huene thus draws attention to an important feature of science that explains the place of science in contemporary society.

Keywords

Systematicity Continuity Thesis Common sense  Scientific knowledge Epistemic authority 

Notes

Acknowledgments

I thank Paul Hoyningen-Huene, Karim Bschir, and Lori Nash for feedback on earlier drafts. I also thank the referees for their helpful comments. Much of the work on this paper was done while I was a Visiting Scholar at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Fall 2015. I thank the Department of Linguistics and Philosophy at MIT for their hospitality. I also thank SUNY Oswego for supporting my sabbatical leave in the 2015–2016 academic year.

References

  1. Beatty, J. (2006). Masking disagreement among experts. Episteme, 3(1–2), 52–67.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Cole, S. (1992). Making science: Between nature and society. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
  3. Conant, J. B. (1948/1965). Harvard case histories in experimental science, Case 1: Robert Boyle’s experiments in pneumatics. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
  4. Descartes, R. (1641/1998). Meditations on first philosophy. In Discourse on method and meditations on first philosophy (4th ed., D. A. Cress, Trans.). Indianapolis: Hackett Publishing Company.Google Scholar
  5. Durkheim, E. (1897/1951). Suicide: A study in sociology. New York: The Free Press.Google Scholar
  6. Eddington, A. S. (1928/1946). The nature of the physical world: The Gifford lectures, 1927. New York: The MacMillan Company.Google Scholar
  7. Einstein, A. (1936/1993). Physics and reality. In A. Einstein (Ed.), Out of my later years: The scientist, philosophy and man portrayed through his own words (revised ed., pp. 59–97). New York: Wings Books.Google Scholar
  8. Gould, S. J. (1979). Ever since Darwin: Reflections in natural history. New York: W. W. Norton and Company.Google Scholar
  9. Hoyningen-Huene, P. (2013). Systematicity: The nature of science. Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Huxley, T. H. (1880/1974). The crayfish: An introduction to the study of zoology. Cambridge, MA: The MIT Press.Google Scholar
  11. Kuhn, T. S. (1962/2012). Structure of scientific revolutions (4th ed.). Chicago: University of Chicago Press.Google Scholar
  12. Ladyman, J., & Ross, D. (2007). Every thing must go: Metaphysics naturalized. Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Mach, E. (1911). History and root of the principle of the conservation of energy (P. E. B. Jourdain, Trans.). Chicago: Open Court Publishing Co.Google Scholar
  14. Mazur, E. (1997). Peer instruction: A user’s manual. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall.Google Scholar
  15. McMullin, E. (1984). A case for scientific realism. In J. Leplin (Ed.), Scientific realism (pp. 8–40). Berkeley, CA: University of California Press.Google Scholar
  16. Nisbett, R. E., & Ross, L. (1980). Human inference: Strategies and shortcomings in social judgment. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice Hall.Google Scholar
  17. Planck, M. (1941/1949). The meaning and limits of exact science. In M. Planck (Ed.), Scientific autobiography and other papers, with a memorial address on Max Planck by Max von Laue (F. Gaynor, Trans., pp. 80–120). New York: Philosophical Library.Google Scholar
  18. Popper, K. (1974/1992). Unending quest: An intellectual autobiography. London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  19. Quine, W. V. (1957). The scope and language of science. British Journal for the Philosophy of Science, 8(29), 1–17.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Rooney, B. (2007/2015). UPS figures out the ‘right way’ to save money, time and gas. abc NEWS. Accessed March 27, 2015, from http://abcnews.go.com/WNT/print?id=3005890.
  21. Sellars, W. (1963). Science, perception, and reality. New York: The Humanities Press.Google Scholar
  22. Sismondo, S. (2010). An introduction to science and technology studies (2nd ed.). Oxford, UK: Wiley-Blackwell.Google Scholar
  23. Wieman, C. (2007, September–October). Why not try a scientific approach to science education? Change: The Magazine of Higher Education, pp. 9–15.Google Scholar
  24. Wynne, B. (1989). Sheep farming after Chernobyl: A case study in communicating scientific information. Environment, 32(2), 10–15, 33–39.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Nature B.V. 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PhilosophyState University of New York, OswegoOswegoUSA

Personalised recommendations