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dc.contributor.authorBriskman, Laurence Barryen
dc.date.accessioned2013-06-26T12:34:38Z
dc.date.available2013-06-26T12:34:38Z
dc.date.issued1983
dc.identifier.other346581
dc.identifier.urihttp://hdl.handle.net/1842/6700
dc.description.abstractThe central purpose of this thesis is to develop a theory of scientific inquiry, or scientific method, within the context of a setting which is fundamentally sceptical. Thiis the thesis aims, among other things, to thoroughly explore, and show the dire consequences of, the rival justifications approach to rational inquiry. Moreover, the thesis has the rather. perverse programmer of attempting to avoid an anti-rational relativism as the indirect consequence of the attempt to defend scepticism (in one particular version - that is, the version which I call Socratic scepticism). Since, I claim. justificationism itself leads to relativism, and since the Socratic sceptic can avoid relativism, and since the justificationist wants to avoid relativism, such a justificationist ought to join me in my Socratic scepticism. However, I have no illusions that this thesis will, or even can, produce any such result. The argument of the thesis basically runs in the following order: first, in the Introduction, I explain the difference between two types of evolutionary process ('coupled' and ' decoupled') and I suggest that the search for knowledge in science ought to be conceptualised as a 'coupled' evolutionary process. This claim is made good later in the thesis, and particularly in Chapter 3- which aims to show why the traditional divorce between the 'context of discovery' and the 'context of justification' should be replaced by a unitary 'context`' for our methodological theories - the 'context of inquiry'. Before this, however. I investigate (in Chapter. 1) a number of rival general approaches to scientific method and scientific rationality, and try to defend what I call the 'normative approach'. The defense of this approach hinges upon showing that it can avoid 'transcendentalism' - wherein every theory of method become rationally adoptable. This problem tackled in Chapter 2 - where, in particular, I show how it can be possible to have 'synthetic', but non-nationalistic, theories of scientific method, and where I develop a method for both critically appraising, and developing such theories. This then leads, after Chapter 3 argues the thesis that methodology is 'about' the context of inquiry, to te consideration (in Chapter 4) of what I claim to be the fundamental problem of rational inquiry - the problem of Plato's Meno. In this chapter I develop a solution to this problem which is Socratic sceptical: and this solution is then defended, in Chapter 5, against Michael Polanyi's 'tacit knowledge' solution to the Meno. Finally, in Chapter 6, I consider two further objections to the sceptical solution developed in Chapter 4 - one of these, the Kuhnian objection, fails to hit the mark; but the other, the problem of content, desiderates a search for a replaeement to our original theory. This replacement is then developed in the rest of Chapter 6.en
dc.language.isoeng
dc.publisherUniversity of Edinburghen
dc.subjectPhilosophyen
dc.subjectReligionen
dc.titleProblems and their progress: towards a sceptical theory of scientific inquiryen
dc.type.qualificationnamePhD Doctor of Philosophyen


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