Paradigms, research programs and logical analysis of scientific knowledge

Authors: Arkhiereev N.L. Published: 30.06.2022
Published in issue: #3(95)/2022  
DOI: 10.18698/2306-8477-2022-3-781  
Category: The Humanities in Technical University | Chapter: Philosophy Science  
Keywords: paradigm, research program, model, model-theoretic approach, element of theory, network of theories

The post-positivist philosophy of science was built as a consistent critique of the basic principles of analysis and reconstruction of scientific knowledge, proposed in terms of the methodological program of logical positivism. In particular, the impossibility of reducing theoretical knowledge to empirical knowledge, the formulation of universal criteria for distinguishing between synthetic and analytical proposals within a theory, and the impossibility of constructing a theoretically neutral observational language were emphasized. The idea of using formal logical methods in the analysis of the structure and dynamics of scientific knowledge was especially criticized, on the basis of which a linear, “cumulative” model of the development of scientific knowledge was introduced within the framework of the logical-positivist program. As the central concepts in describing the development of scientific knowledge, representatives of the “historical” school in the philosophy of science proposed the concepts of paradigm and research program. Unfortunately, the lack of logically clear definitions of these concepts made it impossible to use them in solving traditional philosophical and methodological problems, led to treating the dynamics of science as a predominantly irrational process, and turned the philosophy of science into a purely descriptive discipline. The paper considers the successful use of a number of formal concepts adopted in the structuralist program for the analysis of scientific knowledge to clarify the meaning and significance of the concepts of “descriptive” philosophy of science. This strategy makes it possible to “weaken” the thesis about the incommensurability of successive fundamental theories and present the development of scientific knowledge as a convergent process, accompanied by the construction of more and more correct models of reality.

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