CSS Colloquium - Marie Kaiser: Dimensions of Normativity in Philosophy of Science
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Dimensions of Normativity in Philosophy of Science
Marie I. Kaiser, Universität zu Köln
One trend that characterizes the development of philosophy of science (and, in particular, of philosophy of biology) in the last decades is a turn towards scientific practice. Philosophical theories about science, so the assumption, must pay close attention to how science actually works and why it is successful. Accounts like these are often referred to as “descriptive” or “naturalistic”, which raises the question of how exactly their methodology can be specified and of whether these approaches really do not contain normative elements. The normativity of the methodology of philosophy of science is the central topic of this paper. I distinguish different kinds of projects that one can pursue in philosophy of science: critical-descriptive projects, normative-descriptive projects, and purely normative projects. I argue that any of these projects, even those of the critical-descriptive kind, are normative, but that they are normative in different ways, and that it is important to keep these different dimensions of normativity apart.