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Ivanova, Milena, , . Conventionalism, structuralism and neo-Kantianism in Poincare’s philosophy of science
2015, Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part B: Studies in History and Philosophy of Modern Physics 52 (Part B):114-122.
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Added by: Chris Blake-Turner, Contributed by: Milena Ivanova

Abstract: Poincare is well known for his conventionalism and structuralism. However, the relationship between these two theses and their place in Poincare’s epistemology of science remain puzzling. In this paper I show the scope of Poincare’s conventionalism and its position in Poincare’s hierarchical approach to scientific theories. I argue that for Poincare scientific knowledge is relational and made possible by synthetic a priori, empirical and conventional elements, which, however, are not chosen arbitrarily. By examining his geometric conventionalism, his hierarchical account of science and defence of continuity in theory change, I argue that Poincare defends a complex structuralist position based on synthetic a priori and conventional elements, the mind-dependence of which precludes epistemic access to mind-independent structures.

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Tulodziecki, Dana, , . Underdetermination, methodological practices, and realism
2013, Synthese 190(17): 3731-3750.
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Added by: Laura Jimenez, Contributed by:

Abstract: In this paper, the author argues (i) that there are certain methodological practices that are epistemically significant, and (ii) that we can test for the success of these practices empirically by examining case-studies in the history of science. Analysing a particular episode from the history of medicine, she explains how this can help us resolve specific cases of underdetermination. She concludes that, while the anti-realist is (more or less legitimately) able to construct underdetermination scenarios on a case-by-case basis, he will have to abandon the strategy of using algorithms to do so, thus losing the much needed guarantee that there will always be rival cases of the required kind.

Comment: Using the case study of the origin and pathology of cholera, this article argues for an expanded conception of epistemic criteria besides the empirical evidence. A really useful reading for studying realism and under-determination. It is suitable for both postgraduate and undergraduate courses in philosophy of science.

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