”Scientific discovery” is often used to refer to both the process and the outcome of scientific inquiry. Scientific inquiry may focus, e.g., on hypotheses to be generated or tested, causes to be identified, or processes, things, and their features to be uncovered. Starting with logical empiricism, philosophers of science distinguished between a ”context of discovery” – where new ideas and hypotheses are generated – and a ”context of justification” – where those ideas and hypotheses are verified or falsified. This picture, however, seems to be both problematic and incomplete. Recent accounts of scientific inquiry question whether the contexts of discovery and justification can actually be sharply distinguished. Besides, they call attention to the fact that hypothesis generation and testing do not actually capture the full scope of scientific inquiry. Exploratory research, the development of new tools, and incidental findings, for instance, have played an important roles in many seminal scientific discoveries. Indeed, a lot of scientific work seems to go into development and refinement of theories, tools, and experimental protocols rather than straightforward hypothesis generation and testing. If this is correct, scientific inquiry in fact has a third aspect: pursuit, viz. the articulation and validation of theories and research tools. But how exactly should scientific pursuit be characterized? What is its precise relation to discovery and justification? And how does a closer look at pursuit help us get a better understanding of scientific inquiry and explanation? These are only some to the questions we shall discuss during this course.
This course is highly-research oriented, background knowledge in philosophy of science is required. The course is run in close collaboration between Philipp Haueis (Bielefeld) and Lena Kästner (Saarbrücken). Students will be given the opportunity to engage with classic as well as contemporary literature on the topic. Additionally, there is a guest lecture by an international expert planned.
The course will be run online via zoom and MS Teams. Please join the course on moodle for further details.
Reichenbach, H. (1938). Experience and Prediction. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
Hanson, N.R. (1960). 1960, ”Is there a Logic of Scientific Discovery?”, Australasian Journal of Philosophy, 38: 91–106.
Hoyningen-Huene, P. (1987). ”Context of Discovery and Context of Justification”, Studies in History and Philosophy of Science, 18: 501–15
Whitt, A.L. (1990). Theory Pursuit: between discovery and acceptance. PSA: Proceedings of the Biennial Meeting of the Philosophy of Science Association, 1, 467–483. https://www.jstor.org/stable/192725
Steinle, F. and Schickore, J. (2006). Revisiting Discovery and Justification. Historical and philosophical perspectives on the context distinction. Berlin: Springer.
Šešelja, D. and Straßer, G. (2014). Epistemic justification in the context of pursuit: a coherentist approach. Synthese. doi: 10.1007/s11229-014-0476-4