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Brad Wray publishes "Systematicity and the Continuity Thesis"

Synthese, vol. 196, issue 3 (March 2019): 819–832


Hoyningen-Huene (Systematicity: the nature of science, Oxford University Press, Oxford, 2013) develops an account of what science is, distinguishing it from common sense. According to Hoyningen-Huene, the key distinguishing feature is that science is more systematic. He identifies nine ways in which science is more systematic than common sense. I compare Hoyningen-Huene’s view to a view I refer to as the “Continuity Thesis.” The Continuity Thesis states that scientific knowledge is just an extension of common sense. This thesis is associated with Quine, Planck, and others. I argue that Hoyningen-Huene ultimately rejects the Continuity Thesis, and I present further evidence to show that the Continuity Thesis is false. I also argue that it is the systematicity of science that ultimately grounds the epistemic authority of science. Hoyningen-Huene thus draws attention to an important feature of science that explains the place of science in contemporary society.

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