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Title: Epistemic horizons in scientific inquiry and debate
Author: Archetti, Emanuele
Awarding Body: University of Leeds
Current Institution: University of Leeds
Date of Award: 2012
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The Philosophy of Science is the subject of various methods of analysis, from Kuhn’s paradigms to Hacking’s styles of reasoning. Each of these methods seeks to address the many questions we might pose about the nature of theories and the theorists who shape them. However, there is yet one issue which remains unresolved: the question of how we may best account for persistent disagreements between rival scientific theories in cases where there are no genuine incompatibilities, conceptual or empirical. This thesis offers a novel solution to this problem in the form of a new unit of analysis, the Epistemic Horizon. An Epistemic Horizon is defined by the dialectical relationship between two components: a world-view (weltanschauung) and a set of presuppositions (lichtung) that direct the way individuals investigate the world. The thesis first explores this proposal in a general way. It then turns to an extensive case study involving a persistent disagreement in contemporary evolutionary biology over niche construction. Separate chapters consider the outline of the debate; the historical emergence of the constructionist weltanschauung; the parallel emergence of the constructionist lichtung (and also the competitor lichtung); and how certain metaphors have functioned to catalyze these changes. A further chapter examines two further case studies more briefly, in chemistry and psychology, to illustrate the wider applicability of the Epistemic Horizon approach.
Supervisor: Radick, Gregory Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available