• A Note on Professor Edel’s Paper

      Black, Max; Cornell University (1970-01-01)
      Professor Edel’s conclusions are excessively mild. We are often frighteningly ignorant of the consequences of scientific and technological innovations. This ignorance requires a much greater degree of caution in science than Professor Edel has admitted.
    • A Reckoning of Sorts on the Prospects of Moral Philosophy

      Margolis, Joseph (1994-01-01)
      Western philosophy has tended to distinguish between the use of our cognitive powers in theoretical and practical matters. Moreover, Western philosophy has persuaded itself that whatever is valid in human judgment depends upon and implicates necessary invariances. These assumptions are manifested and developed, most prominently, in Aristotle and Kant. This paper argues against both of these assumptions of the Western philosophical tradition.
    • A Response to MacIntyre

      Taylor, Charles; McGill University (1972-01-01)
      I agree with a great deal of Professor Macintyre’s paper. However, his argument can be formulated without any appeal to unpredictability. The unpredictability of many human events is due to the role of self-interpretation in the constitution of those very same events.
    • A Scientist’s Comments on ‘The Scientific Enterprise and Social Conscience'

      Morison, Robert; Cornell University (1970-01-01)
      Professor Edel correctly emphasizes the ecological mode of thought. As we penetrate deeper into that ecological mode of thought, we will discover that almost every decision that we make in science will have consequences for many people. Thus, science has an obligation to consider and show, as clearly as possible, what the consequences of these decisions will be.
    • Appearance vs. Reality as a Scientific Problem

      van Fraassen, Bas C.; Princeton University (2005-10-01)
      The history of science is replete with ideals that involve some criterion of completeness. One such criterion requires that physics explain how the appearances are produced in reality. This paper argues that it is scientifically acceptable to reject this criterion, along with all other completeness criteria that have been proposed for modern science.
    • Can Science Disprove the Existence of God?

      van Inwagen, Peter; University of Notre Dame (2004-01-01)
      In order for science to establish that God does not exist, it would be necessary to determine which observations we would make if there were a God, and which observations we would make if there were not a God. However, these claims about what we would observe if God does or does not exist, are philosophical claims, not scientific claims. Therefore science alone could not disprove the existence of God.
    • Do Social Events Defy Scientific Prediction?

      Morrison, Paula G.; The College at Brockport (1972-01-01)
      If Professor Macintyre is correct, then there is not, and cannot be, any such thing as a scientific explanation or prediction of anything social, and hence there can never be any social science. This paper responds to Professor Macintyre’s argument, and rejects his position.
    • Evolution and Optimality: Feathers, Bowling Balls, and the Thesis of Adaptationism

      Sober, Elliott; University of Wisconsin, Madison (1996-01-01)
      This paper discusses the thesis of adaptationism in evolutionary biology. It is argued that there is a serious scientific question here whose answer is not yet in hand. The truth or falsity of adaptationism is a substantive question about the history of life that must be decided on a trait by trait basis.
    • God and Science in the Public Schools

      Baker, Lynne Rudder; University of Massachusetts, Amherst (2000-01-01)
      On March 11, 2000, the New York Times reported that an overwhelming majority of Americans believe that creationism should be taught alongside Darwin’s theory of evolution in the public schools. This controversy raises important questions in the philosophy of science, as well as questions about public education in a democracy. This paper considers some of the arguments on both sides of this debate.
    • Life-Functional Theories of Life

      Feldman, Fred; University of Massachusetts (1992-01-01)
      Many philosophers and biologists have attempted to explain what “alive” means. According to one family of accounts, we can explain the meaning of “alive” in terms of life-functions. This paper discusses this family of views. It is argued that the life-functional analyses of life are unsuccessful.
    • Philosophy and Exploration of the Solar System

      Munevar, Gonzalo; Evergreen State College (1998-01-01)
      The search for extra terrestrial intelligence (SETI) raises several questions in the philosophy of science, especially in relation to artificial intelligence and biology. This paper explores these questions.
    • Predictability and Explanation in the Social Sciences

      MacIntyre, Alasdair; Brandeis University (1972-01-01)
      Scientific explanation requires a certain type of predictability. The particulars that are studied by the social sciences do not possess that kind of predictability. Therefore the aspiration to construct scientific explanations in the social sciences is bound to fail.
    • Science and Art: Heuristic and Aesthetic Dimensions of Scientific Discovery

      Wartofsky, Max W.; Baruch College and the Graduate Center, City University of New York (1994-01-01)
      A familiar thesis in the philosophy of science is that considerations of form play a heuristic role in scientific discovery, and that these formal considerations may be characterized as aesthetic. The purpose of this paper is to understand what this claim comes to, and to explore the question of why aesthetic form does indeed play such a powerful heuristic role in scientific thought.
    • The Scientific Enterprise and Social Conscience

      Edel, Abraham; City University of New York (1970-01-01)
      The scientific enterprise is constantly changing, and the moral conscience of society changes as well. The moral obligations of scientists to society change with both of these changes. Four such changes are especially relevant here. Over time, society has come to accept the idea of intervening to change the course of nature. Both science and society have begun to believe that there are no principled barriers to progress in science. Within society, there has emerged an “ecological mode of thought.” Finally, the relationship between theory and practice has changed. All four of these changes profoundly affect the ethics of science in society today.
    • Who’s Afraid of Postmodernism?

      Blackburn, Simon; The University of Cambridge (2001-01-01)
      Postmodernism is a celebration of relativism. It is a movement that has actively embraced the collapse of standards that it takes this to imply. This paper examines the debate between postmodernists and their opponents, approaching it through the debate over Alan Sokal’s famous hoax.