Epistemology & Philosophy of Science
2019, Volume 56, Number 1
Lyudmila A. Mikeshina. Epistemology in Russia: Its Formation in the Context of Social Sciences and the Humanities
The paper offers an interpretation of the way epistemology was formed at the end of the nineteenth century and at the beginning of the twentieth century as a new approach to understanding of the nature of humanitarian and social knowledge. The role of ideas of such Neo-Kantians as H. Cohen, H. Rickert and E. Cassirer in the formation of Russian epistemology is underlined. These ideas were critically reassessed in works of historian D. Petrushevskiy and sociologist N. Kareev. Special attention is paid to G. Shpet, his “Hermeneutics” and his studies in history as a problem of logic. It is shown how M. Bakhtin constructs the world of historically actual “participative” consciousness of the “whole” human being, how he replaces the relation of subject and object by the unity of the cognitive, the ethical, and the aesthetical. Rather than abstract gnoseology, rich logic and epistemology, as a non-formalized study close to the nature of humanitarian and social knowledge, undergo the scrutiny.
Keywords: epistemology, Neo-Kantianism, hermeneutics, logic, participative consciousness, world of theoretism, Rickert, Cassirer, Shpet, Bakhtin, Petrushevskiy, Kareev
Ilya T. Kasavin. The Birth of Philosophy of Science from the Spirit of Victorian Era
The Victorian era is a unique historical period of turbulent political, economic and social changes. These changes also touched upon science: the emergence of new theories and experimental data, new discoveries and inventions, the growth of the number of scientific societies, the debate about teaching methods in universities and the significance of science and scientists for the state laid the foundations for the institutional structure of the modern sciences. In addition, it is the Victorian era when a fundamentally new theoretical discipline, the philosophy of science, was born. At the heart of the article, there is the personality and social circle of its founder, William Whewell, the author of the fundamental work “The Philosophy of the Inductive Sciences founded upon their history”. The author reconstructs the making of the philosophy of science as an independent discipline, considering it, on the one hand, as a product of the Victorian era, and on the other – as a tool for the formation of the modern sciences in all their diversity.
Keywords: philosophy of science, history of science, history of philosophy, Victorian era, trading zones, William Whewell, Charles Babbage, John Hershel, Richard Jones
Alexander L. Nikiforov. Science and the Zeitgeist
The article considers the question of how the spiritual atmosphere prevailing in society stimulates or hinders the development of scientific research. It is shown that during the period of the Copernican Revolution the broad strata of European society – sailors, merchants, artisans, the ruling elites were embraced by the spirit of discovery and exploration of the globe. This served as the ground on which the science of New Age arises. In the middle of the 19th centure in England, a new discipline arises – the philosophy of science, which serves to promote scientific achievements and the value of science for all aspects of social life. This also occurred during the rapid industrial development of England and the construction of the colonial empire. Unfortunately, the spiritual atmosphere of today, imbued with the spirit of consumerism, does not contribute to the development of science and we see that scientific achievements now hardly attract the attention of either the ruling elites or the broad social strata.
Keywords: science, philosophy of science, discovery, the spirit of the era, scientific revolution
Alexander Yu. Antonovski. All the Worst is from the Victorian Spirit, all the Best is from the Zeitgeist
In his work, the author critically interprets the idea of the connection of the achievements of William Whewell in the field of the philosophy of science with the prevailing sentiments and social-cultural attitudes in the so-called Victorian era. The author believes that, on the contrary, all of Whewell's positive achievements should be associated with the development of world science, with the spirit of the times, and above all, with its neo-Kantian background, whereas his mistakes and delusions (rejection of evolutionism, support for the idea of phlogiston) really resulted from specifically English conservatism and blind trust in the actual social institutions and ideas both in science and in politics.
Keywords: Whewell, science, social epistemology, spirit of the time, Victorian era
Tatiana D. Sokolova. Philosophy of Science: the Project and the Discipline
The article is a response to the arguments by I.T. Kasavin on the emergence of the philosophy of science as an independent philosophical discipline from the phenomenon of rapid scientific development in Victorian England. The article consists of three parts. The first one supports the thesis on the formation of the philosophy of science as a separate philosophical discipline in the first half of the XIX century. The second part criticizes (a) the primacy of William Whewell in the formulation of the philosophy of science as a project and (b) of the Victorian era as its source. The third part is devoted to the discussions of scientists on the development of science in England shortly before the Victorian era and the issue of state encouragement of scientific development.
Keywords: philosophy of science, history of philosophy, Victorian era, William Whewell, André-Marie Ampère, Charles Babbage, David Brewster, state paternalism
Liana A. Tukhvatulina. The Birth of Public Sphere from the Spirit of Intellectual Debates
The author advocates the idea about the connection between the spirit of early Victorian England and the birth of philosophy of science. She pays special attention to the arguments provided by W. Whewell in support of “the scientific turn” of English university education. The author argues that the public intellectual discussions organized by the leading English daily magazines (i.e. Tatler, Spectator) played their role the formation of the public sphere (J. Habermas) in this period. These discussions contributed to the search for a normative consensus between the bourgeoisie and the land aristocracy.
Keywords: Whewell, early Victorian England, metascience discussions, university, Habermas, public sphere
Ilya T. Kasavin. Vices and Virtues of Externalism
The article is a reply to the critical considerations of my colleagues about my article “The birth of the philosophy of science from the spirit of the Victorian era” in the same issue of the journal. The main criticism is that my externalist explanation doesn't work, since the Victorian era is not so favorable in general and, in particular, in relation to science and philosophy of science. In addition, I have been criticized for the allegedly improper exaggeration of Whewell’s philosophical merits and the role of his initiatives in comparison with other European scientists and their scientific societies. Also the critics put forward counter-arguments in terms of specific historical facts. These and other critical comments include noteworthy considerations along with dubious theoretical findings and historical inaccuracies, which I point out. In any case, the criticism has helped clarify my position, complement it with empirical evidence and point to the normative goal of my case study.
Keywords: philosophy of science, professionalization of science, the Victorian era, capitalism, William Whewell, externalism
EPISTEMOLOGY & COGNITION
Maxim D. Miroshnichenko. Phenomenologization or Naturalization? Between Philosophy and Cognitive Science
The article considers the major approaches towards the integration of philosophical and scientific perspectives on the nature and functioning of subjective consciousness. The project of naturalization of phenomenology is considered as an account of methodological unification of cognitive science and philosophy based on first-person perspective. This alliance is generally thought as an attempt to incorporate the explanatory models of phenomenology into the natural scientific worldview. The proponents of this approach, such as F. Varela, confirm that it can overcome the explanatory gap between the subjective first-person qualitative phenomenological data and third-person neurophysiological data, or at least it can contribute to the project of scientifically informed philosophy of mind, as in S. Gallagher’s front load phenomenology. But is it really possible to build a scientific theory of consciousness? It seems that the project of naturalization contains the inevitable shortcomings which render it impossible to take the first person approaches in cognitive science “seriously”. Hence, the first-person approach to consciousness cannot become the foundation of natural scientific theory of mind as part of nature. Phenomenological approaches to consciousness in the works of Husserl and Merleau-Ponty reject the primacy of the scientific objectivist world picture, claiming that the transcendental consciousness being the condition of possibility of truth and objectivity cannot be viewed from the objective point of view. Scientific worldview gives the incomplete picture of consciousness, eliminating its transcendental dimension. However, as I try to show, transcendentalism and naturalism as world projects can contribute into each other, retaining the circular relations between them. Phenomenology can integrate both world projects into holistic picture through phenomenologization, or denaturalization of natural science.
Keywords: phenomenology, naturalization, consciousness, transcendentalism, naturalism, cognitive science, qualia, explanatory gap
Elena N. Lisanyuk, Maria R. Mazurova. Argumentation, Peer Disagreement and the Truth Birth in Dispute
We suggest a solution to the problem of peer disagreement based on the concept of divergence in opinions, imported from the theory of argumentation. We treat the problem of peer disagreement as a mental experiment, a duel between different concepts of truth, and show that there is no winner in it, whenever there is a deep disagreement between epistemic peers. Our approach amounts to two proposals, one formulates how to handle the truth and the other takes care of creating an agreement over it. We suggest that instead of employing a definite concept of truth taken as criterion for dispute resolution from outside of it, the agents construct the concept of truth as a joint design project from the inside of their dispute and create an agreement towards it with the help of a procedure based on the of divergence in opinions. The concept of divergence of opinions opens a perspective of analyzing complex conflicts such as the deep disagreements by treating them as molecular disputes consisting of atomic simple ones. It supports discriminating between solvable and unsolvable disputes and paves a way for the disputants to construe a truth concept in their complex dispute by choosing in which of the atomic disputes to participate for the sake of their molecular dispute resolution. We also demonstrate how the conceptions discussed in the issues of the peer disagreement such as conciliatory and steadfast ways, justificatory balance and equal weight view get shape in our approach based on the concept of divergence in opinions.
Keywords: peer-disagreement, deep disagreement, truth, argumentation, divergence in opinions, conflict, dispute
LANGUAGE & MIND
Alexey Z. Chernyak. Knowledge, Memory, and the Boundaries of Subject
This article is dedicated to the question: may the subject who uses an artificial device for storing information and consulting it literally know the information contained in this device and got by the subject by way of consulting it? Some philosophers claim the thesis of extended mid, i.e. they consider human mind as a system some parts of which may be external to human body. From this point of view the subject may know the information which is stored not in his memory, but in some computer implanted in him or even in some external storage. The author does not agree with this thesis and think that we don't have sufficient reasons for its statement. But the hypothesis that someone may know what is stored outside of his memory might seem more justified if it could be shown that at least a system consisting from human brain and computer could have the same knowledge as that which corresponding human being would have. Unlike systems consisting from human beings and some external storages working as substitutes of human memory, systems with human brains is based on the same biological processes which provide the work of normal human memory. Can such system have normal human knowledge? The author critically analyzes this hypothesis and shows that we don't have sufficient reasons to answer this question positively.
Keywords: cognitive externalism, memory, knowledge, belief, implant, cognitive system, brain in the vat
Petr S. Kusliy. Is Science Epistemically Autonomous? An Overview of Some Contemporary Discussions
In this overview of recent works in philosophy of science, the discussions of the nature of scientific rationalism and epistemic normativity of science are presented as taking place between the two extremes: the radical anarchism of social constructivism that claims that science has no epistemic normativity of its own and complete isolationism, according to which the rationalist norms of science are totally immune to any influence of non-scientific context. The author explores the arguments of the conception of social empiricism, according to which irrationality in the actions of individual scientists as well as in their motivation need not entail irrationality of science as a social enterprise because the factor of consensus plays a role in forming the picture of the world that ends up being accepted by the scientific community. The feminist attack on the traditional ethos of scientist is discussed. It is shown that feminist criticism revealed the hidden biases in what seemed to be a bias-free scientific worldview. However, some counterarguments against egalitarian principles of organization of science are also mentioned. Rudner’s hypothesis according to which the comparison of different pieces of evidence on the scale of credibility is always ethically biased is discussed and its influence on the contemporary philosophy of science is explored. Finally, the author presents some recent arguments that suggest that contextual influence on science can be legitimate and illegitimate.
Keywords: science and society, values, social constructivism, philosophy of science, democratization of science
Anton K. Kulikov. Leibniz and Bourdieu: the Real Definition in Socioanalysis
P. Bourdieu borrows a number of ideas and conceptions of G. V. Leibniz and uses them in his theory of the social space in systematic fashion. The Leibnizean theories of the relation physical space, of the real definition, of the pre-established harmony become the interrelated reflective means of empirical sociology. This article attempts to interpret epistemic significance of the fact that the conceptions of Leibniz have appeared to be fruitful in sociology of Bourdieu. Sociological real definition defines a social fact not only by its distinctive features but first of all by its genesis, not in its static “what” but in historic “why”. In this perspective the real definition expresses the subject of sociological study and its method in the same time. And it is not the beginning of scientific research but its complicated result, to construct the real definition of a social fact means already to explain it. The real definition of the social space is neither direct reflection of social structures nor such purely formal operations of indirect mathematic construction of the social space which could be jettisoned after achievement of the result. The construction of the real definition is included in its result. The objectivity of this definition consists not in achieving the reality of “the things themselves” but in expressing genesis of purely transcendent, not accessible to simple reflection social relations in gradual construction of a system of purely immanent, sensual signs, in numeric dependencies and terms.
Keywords: Pierre Bourdieu, Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz, the social space, the real definition, the pre-established harmony, epistemology
CASE STUDIES – SCIENCE STUDIES
Tatiana D. Sokolova. Historical Epistemology in France: to the History of the Discipline’s Formation
As an independent philosophical discipline, historical epistemology had been forming in the French Academy from the early XX century and to its middle developed to the point where it left behind other types of epistemologies, which succeeded to take revenge only in the late 1980s. However, historians and sociologists often consider French historical epistemology as a “marginal” discipline, compared to other areas of philosophical research. The focus of the study is the formation of the French version of historical epistemology as a philosophical discipline in the historical perspective, which includes not only recognized Maîtres of this direction, but also secondary figures associated with the development of this trend of philosophical thought. In the article we will try to demonstrate that historical epistemology, at least genetically, belongs to the general trend in the development of the philosophy of science, formed from the XIX century, and may well claim to be considered a “normal” version of epistemology and/or philosophy of science.
Keywords: historical epistemology, French style in epistemology, Léon Brunschvicg, Émile Meyerson, Gaston Milhaud, Abel Rey, Gaston Bachelard, Georges Canguilhem
Vladislav E. Terekhovich. Three Approaches to the Issue of Quantum Reality and the Second Quantum Revolution
The framework of a simple opposition realism – anti-realism is not enough to analyze the views on the reality of unobservable objects of quantum theory. First, it is necessary to distinguish between realism in relation to the theory and realism in relation to the theory’s objects. Secondly, realism in relation to classical objects can be combined, both with realism and with anti-realism in relation to quantum objects. Third, the concept of “existence” and “to exist objectively” can have different meanings. To take into account these factors, the article describes three approaches: classical realism, quantum anti-realism, and quantum realism. I show that the debate around quantum reality has intensified in recent decades due to a series of new quantum experiments. The current stage of the debate is caused by the second quantum revolution relating to the transfer and processing of quantum information. Classical realism and old versions of quantum anti-realism have become insufficiently effective to explain the results of a series of experiments. Proponents of quantum realism, in turn, refer to the possibility of using the wave function to manipulate quantum objects before their measurement. In conclusion, I assume that not only theoretical discussions but also experiments and new technologies can have a major impact on the seemingly purely philosophical debate about reality.
Keywords: scientific realism, anti-realism, quantum revolution, quantum computing, interpretation of quantum mechanics
Elisabeth A. Lloyd, Naomi Oreskes. Climate Change Attribution: When Does it Make Sense to Add Methods?
A specific form of research question, for instance, “What is the probability of a certain class of weather events, given global climate change, relative to a world without?” could be answered with the use of FAR or RR (Fraction of Attributable Risk or Risk Ratio) as the most common approaches to discover and ascribe extreme weather events. Kevin Trenberth et al. (2015) and Theodore Shepherd (2016) have expressed doubts in their latest works whether it is the most appropriate explanatory tool or the way of public outreach concerning climate events and extremes. As an alternative, these researchers focus on complementary questions, for example, “How much did climate change affect the severity of a given storm?” advocating a “storyline” approach. New methods and new research questions are neither foreign, nor controversial from the standpoint of history and philosophy of science, especially those, related to public interest. Nevertheless, the new proposal has got a tepid reception from the majority of professionals of the given field. They argued that this approach can cause weakening of standards and neglecting of scientific method. The following paper attempts to find the roots of the supposed controversy. We claim inefficiency of uncompromising approach to D&A in absolute sense and assert that errors of a particular type may have a different level of concern in society, depending on the variety of contexts. Therefore, context defines the risk of over-estimation vs. under-estimation of harm.
Keywords: climate change, method, attribution, epistemology, interdisciplinary research
Sergey N. Korsakov. B.M. Hessen. The Materialist Dialectic in the Struggle with the Ideological Rit
Archival publication of a number of previously unknown texts of the outstanding Soviet philosopher and historian of science, corresponding member of the USSR Academy of Sciences Boris Mikhailovich Hessen follows this introduction. B. M. Hessen belonged to the philosophical school of academician A. M. Deborin. Deborin school actively developed philosophical and methodological problems of advanced areas of natural science: quantum mechanics, the theory of relativity and genetics. The Deborin school provided ideological protection of these Sciences in the conditions of Stalinism. In this struggle many representatives of this philosophical school were destroyed. Deborin, Hessen and their colleagues developed the most important philosophical and methodological problems that arose in connection with the development of modern natural science. These include, first, the problem of quality irreducibility of higher forms of motion of matter to the lower ones. This problem is discussed in abstracts of the Hessen at the First all-Union Congress of physicists in Odessa in 1930. Secondly, the problem of objective chance. She dedicated the Hessen report on the scientific session of the Institute of philosophy, dedicated to the anniversary of Lenin's book "Materialism and empiriocriticism"
Keywords: Marxism, philosophy, Deborin school, Institute of philosophy of the Communist Academy, B. M. Hessen, dynamic and statistical patterns.
Boris M. Hessen. Materialistic Dialectics and Modern Physics.Abstracts at the I all-Union Congress of Physicists in Odessa on August 19, 1930
The report of B. M. Hessen at the I All-Union Congress of physicists. The Congress was held in Odessa from 19 to 24 August 1930. At the plenary meeting B. M. Hessen, made a report on methodological issues of quantum physics, the relationship of physics and philosophy. Mechanistic materialism in his time came to replace the scholastic physics. But he could not solve the problems of development and specificity of forms of movement. B. M. Hessen believed that the development of the basic concepts of natural science (matter, space and time, motion, wave and particle, pattern and randomness) coincides with the approach of dialectical materialism.
Keywords: B. M. Hessen, The First All-Union Congress of physicists, Odessa, Soviet philosophy
Boris M. Hessen. Speech at the Scientific Session of the Institute of Philosophy, Dedicated to the 25th Anniversary of Lenin's Birth “Materialism and Empiriocriticism” June 22, 1934
The report of B. M. Hessen at the at the scientific session at the Institute of philosophy in 1934, dedicated to the 25th anniversary of the publication of Lenin's «Materialism and empiriocriticism». He said that statistical regularity appears already in classical physics, when it comes to kinetic theory, thermodynamics. But traditionally thinking physicists did not consider the statistical method full, believed, that statistical a near certainty can be to withdraw from dynamic. In quantum theory, it turned out that the dynamic laws are not applicable, because in principle you cannot set the status parameters of a single bodies. Simply discard causality is too simple and one-sided solution for physics. This is so just as philosophers seek out idealism in the works of modern physicists. The category of causality in need of rethinking.
Keywords: B. M. Hessen, Institute of philosophy, V. I. Lenin, "Materialism and empiriocriticism", causality, Soviet philosophy
Natalya N. Pogozhina. N. Luhmann's Theory of Systems in the Application to the Analysis of Scientific Communication
This article represents the review of the Russian translation of N. Lumann's work which was published under the title "Truth, knowledge, science as a system". In article N. Lumann's approach to consideration of science as one of the communicative systems of society performing function on development of knowledge is reconstructed. Within this approach we consider in a separate way the the truthconditional perspective which is expressed by means of terms of language of the theory symbolically the generalized of media of communications. Special attention is paid to the potential of the reconstructed theory in the analysis of modern scientific community and to the relation of scientific system to other communicative systems (its differentiation from them and the possibility of interaction).
Keywords: N. Luhmann, theory of systems, truth, knowledge, science, communication, sociology of knowledge
Alexander M. Dorozhkin, Svetlana V. Shibarshina. Transformations in Epistemology: Problems and Prospects
This paper is a reflection on number of statements and ideas presented in the monograph by Academician Vladislav A. Lektorsky “Humanity and Culture. Selected Papers”. The authors suggest their interpretations on his ideas regarding the characteristics of classical and non-classical epistemology, as well as the further development of epistemology in the light of its enrichment with the humanitarian and “citizen” component.
Keywords: classical epistemology, non-classical epistemology, Natural Science, Humanities, collective knowledge
Vyacheslav S. Stepin (19.08. 1934 – 14.12. 2018)