Scientific Progress - Description

Scientific Progress (1981, 1986, 1994, 2008) Fourth edition published by Springer in 2008; xvii + 289 pp.

A theory of scientific progress is presented in this work which incorporates the criticisms levelled by Kuhn and Feyerabend at the received view, and at the same time avoids relativism. This involves the presentation of the Perspectivist conception of science, which is intuitively based on what is called the Gestalt Model. According to the Perspectivist conception, reality can be conceived in ways which, while fundamentally different, can nevertheless be compared as to their scientific acceptability.

While remaining within the bounds of classical philosophy of science, Dilworth does away with the logicism of his competitors. On the Perspectivist view theory conflict is not contradiction, and theory superiority does not consist in deductive subsumption or set-theoretic inclusion. Here the relation between theories is analogous to the application of individual concepts, and the question of theory superiority becomes one of relative applicability. In this way Dilworth succeeds in providing a conception of science in which scientific progress is based on both rational and empirical considerations.