(2016) Axiomathes 26 (4).

Perspectivism versus a completed copernican revolution

Thomas Nickles

pp. 367-382

I discuss changes of perspective of four kinds in science and about science. Section 2 defends a perspectival nonrealism—something akin to Giere's perspectival realism but not a realism—against the idea of complete, "Copernican" objectivity. Section 3 contends that there is an inverse relationship between epistemological conservatism and scientific progress. Section 4 casts doubt on strong forms of scientific realism by taking a long-term historical perspective that includes future history. Section 5 defends a partial reversal in the status of so-called context of discovery and context of justification. Section 6 addresses the question of how we can have scientific progress without scientific realism—how progress is possible without the accumulation of representational truth. The overall result (Sect. 7) is a pragmatic instrumentalist perspective on the sciences and how to study them philosophically, one that contains a kernel of realism—instrumental realism.

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Nickles, T. (2016). Perspectivism versus a completed copernican revolution. Axiomathes 26 (4), pp. 367-382.

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