Title

Evolutionary epistemology and the aim of science

Document Type

Journal article

Source Publication

Australasian Journal of Philosophy

Publication Date

6-1-2010

Volume

88

Issue

2

First Page

209

Last Page

225

Abstract

Both Popper and van Fraassen have used evolutionary analogies to defend their views on the aim of science, although these are diametrically opposed. By employing Price's equation in an illustrative capacity, this paper considers which view is better supported. It shows that even if our observations and experimental results are reliable, an evolutionary analogy fails to demonstrate why conjecture and refutation should result in: (1) the isolation of true theories; (2) successive generations of theories of increasing truth-likeness; (3) empirically adequate theories; or (4) successive generations of theories of increasing proximity to empirical adequacy. Furthermore, it illustrates that appeals to induction do not appear to help. It concludes that an evolutionary analogy is only sufficient to defend the notion that the aim of science is to isolate a particular class of false theories, namely those that are empirically inadequate.

DOI

10.1080/00048400903367866

Print ISSN

00048402

E-ISSN

14716828

Publisher Statement

Copyright © 2010 Australasian Association of Philosophy

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Recommended Citation

Rowbottom, D. P. (2010). Evolutionary epistemology and the aim of science. Australasian Journal of Philosophy, 88(2), 209-225. doi: 10.1080/00048400903367866