8.10 Chapter Glossary


Chapter Glossary

Analytic statements Statements whose truth is established by definition (e.g. logic and mathematical statements), rather than by evidence (see “synthetic statements”).
Anomalies For Kuhn, problems that arise in the course of Normal Science that challenge the prevailing Paradigm.
Atomism The theory that all matter is composed of small bits of stuff separated by empty space.
Auxiliary Hypotheses Also called assumptions, auxiliary hypotheses of a particular test are all the hypotheses that are assumed to be accurate in order for the test to work as planned.
Conjecture Popper’s observation that scientific hypotheses are often bold speculations about the nature of the world.
Crisis For Kuhn, the moment when, because of persistent Anomalies, a scientific Paradigm begins to collapse.
Falscification The theory, articulated by Popper, that for a claim to be considered scientific, it must be susceptible to efforts to disprove it on the basis of contrary evidence.
Final Cause One of Aristotle’s four causes, the final or teleological cause (telos) is the causal energy that moves the development of a thing towards its ultimate potential, its purpose.
Induction The logical process of coming to hypothetical conclusions and tentative theories by first observing the collected evidence.
Instrumentalism The view that scientific theories are to be assessed by how effectively they explain and predict the phenomena in question.
Logical Positivism A school of philosophy from the early twentieth century that stressed a statement can be considered true only if it can be verified by experience.
Materialism The theory that the universe consists entirely and only of physical material and energy.
Natural Philosophy The branch of philosophy which explores the physical world, generally referring to science prior tot he eighteenth century.
Naturalism The Positivist philosophy that nature is the only thing that exists.
Natural Science For Kuhn, long periods of time when scientists work within the current dominant Paradigm.
Paradigm According to Kuhn, a theory or set of theories which dominate a particular scientific question for a time and limit the kinds of explorations scientists of this question consider.  Kuhn explains how these eventually come to be questioned and overturned.
Paradigm Shift For Kuhn, when a new scientific Paradigm replaces a former Paradigm, often after a Scientific Revolution in a field of study.
Phenomena Those things we can know chiefly through sensation.  For Kant, the phenomenal was all we could know.  The noumenal (things outside of sensation) we cannot know. (See Chapter 4: Epistemology).
Positivism The philosophy that the only authentic knowledge is factual knowledge, gained by a rigorous scientific method.
Primary qualities Those qualities of a percept Locke believed gave an accurate picture of the objects being perceived.  These were chiefly those aspects of the percept that can be measured.  Secondary qualities Locke believed were added by the subjective mind of the perceiver and did not exist in the objects themselves. (See Chapter 4: Epistemology).
Realism The view that scientific theories are descriptions of the actual, mind-independent even if not always observable world outside the mind.  As opposed to anti-realism which claims that science is only a language used to describe the contents of observing mind.
Reductionism The positivist philosophy that all complex things should be analyzed according to their smallest parts.
Refutation For Popper, the need to test hypotheses in science by attempts to refute them.
Relativism In science, the view that all claims made about the world are relative to and conditioned by the dominant paradigm from which the scientists approaches the subject.
Scientific Anti-realism See Scientific Instrumentalism.
Scientific Instrumentalism The philosophy that claims we cannot know that science gives us a picture of the real world, but nevertheless is useful for organizing our experience of the universe.
Scientific Revolution For Kuhn, the sometimes-violent rejection of an established Paradigm.
Scientific Realism The philosophy which states that science gives us a better and better understanding of the real universe around us.
Synthetic statements Those statements whose truth depends upon evidence rather than abstraction.
Verificationism The Positivist position that the only meaningful claims are those that can be determined to be true or false.


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PPSC PHI 1011: The Philosopher's Quest by Daniel G. Shaw, Ph.D. is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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