Scientific Progress

A Study Concerning the Nature of the Relation Between Successive Scientific Theories

  • Craig Dilworth

Part of the Synthese Library book series (SYLI, volume 153)

About this book


Kuhn and Feyerabend formulated the problem. Dilworth provides the solution.

In this highly original and insightful book, Craig Dilworth answers all the questions raised by the incommensurability thesis. Logical empiricism cannot account for theory conflict. Popperianism cannot account for how one theory is a progression beyond another. Dilworth’s Perspectivist conception of science does both.

While remaining within the bounds of classical philosophy of science, Dilworth does away with the logicism of his competitors. On the Perspectivist view theory conflict is not contradiction, and theory superiority does not consist in deductive subsumption or set-theoretic inclusion. Here the relation between theories is analogous to the application of individual concepts, and the question of theory superiority becomes one of relative applicability. In this way Dilworth succeeds in providing a conception of science in which scientific progress is based on both rational and empirical considerations.

"[Dilworth] convincingly works out how from his point of view it is possible to explain the conflict between two theories as an incompatibility of perspectives, and at the same time avoid sliding into relativism by giving criteria for scientific progress." Dialectica


Galileo Galilei Gestalt Model Incommensurability Isaac Newton Karl R. Popper Perspectivist conception Scientific progress philosophy of science science

Authors and affiliations

  • Craig Dilworth
    • 1
  1. 1.Uppsala University

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