, 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


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.


Systematicity Continuity Thesis Common sense  Scientific knowledge Epistemic authority 



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.


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© Springer Nature B.V. 2016

Authors and Affiliations

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

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