Research Article

Disagreement, Democracy, and the Goals of Science: Is a Normative Philosophy of Science Possible, If Ethical Inquiry Is Not?

Arnon Kerena1 c1

a1 University of Haifa


W.V.Quine and Philip Kitcher have both developed naturalistic approaches to the philosophy of science which are partially based on a skeptical view about the possibility of rational inquiry into certain questions of value. Nonetheless, both Quine and Kitcher do not wish to give up on the normative dimension of the philosophy of science. I argue that Kitcher's recent argument against the specification of the goal of science in terms of truth raises a problem for Quine's account of the normative dimensions of the discipline. However Kitcher's alternative suggestion, that the goal of science is to be specified in terms of an ideal democratic procedure, does not escape this problem, given Kitcher's own limited skepticism about rational inquiry into certain questions of value.

(Online publication September 22 2011)

Arnon Keren is a lecturer at the Department of Philosophy, University of Haifa. His areas of interest include epistemology, social epistemology, and ethics. His recent research has focussed on the epistemology of testimony, and especially on the concepts of epistemic trust and epistemic authority.