Miten/miksi kokeellinen luonnontiede vakautuu?

Why/how is experimental science stabilized? Practices and the progress of research

Thomas Kuhn's theory of scientific revolutions changed our understanding of the progress of science: monotonous accumulation of knowledge was replaced with abrupt shifts from one paradigm to another. This, however, brings up a new problem, as Ian Hacking has noticed: research practices have not changed at similar pace. The starting point of my article is Ian Hacking's idea that "when the laboratory sciences are practicable at all, they tend to produce a sort of self-vindicating structure that keeps them stable." I explore this thesis using examples mainly from the biological sciences; a good example is offered by Robert Kohler's analysis of the research on Drosophila genetics in T. H. Morgan's laboratory from the 1910s onwards. The phenomena studies in the laboratory are material constructs and hence, of course, real. However, generalizing laboratory results to external world becomes problematic. I discuss the prerequisites of reliable generalizations and predictions based on science, using recent work by Ilya Prigogine and Isabelle Stengers as another reference. I conclude that such philosophy of science, which is sensitive to the demands of practical scientific work, can open novel possibilities for sound and intelligent research.

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