Pluralisms, Perspectives, and Potential Problems

Part of the New Directions in the Philosophy of Science book series (NDPS)


This chapter discusses some central aspects of representation especially relevant for the evaluation of interdisciplinary activities. Giere’s and other philosophers’ discussions of perspectives and pluralism provide all the reasons one could possibly want for wholeheartedly endorsing interdisciplinarity. At the same time, though, these discussions imply that, in many cases, the integration of different perspectives is everything but straightforward. These issues are elucidated through a focus on perspectivism, idealisation, and distortion. A number of examples are provided that illustrate the considerable difficulties these considerations draw out.


Epistemic Pluralism Algorithm Proposition Relocational Idealisation Diathesis-stress Model Simple Pendulum 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


  1. Begley, C.G., and L.M. Ellis. 2012. Drug Development: Raise Standards for Preclinical Cancer Research. Nature 483: 531–533. Scholar
  2. Berger, Peter L., and Thomas Luckmann. 1966. The Social Construction of Reality: A Treatise in the Sociology of Knowledge. Garden City, NY: Anchor Books.Google Scholar
  3. Berrios, G.E., and Roy Porter. 1995. A History of Clinical Psychiatry: The Origin and History of Psychiatric Disorders. London: Athlone.Google Scholar
  4. Bridgman, P.W. 1927. The Logic of Modern Physics. New York: The Macmillan Company.Google Scholar
  5. ———. 1945. Some General Principles of Operational Analysis. Psychological Review 52 (5): 246–249.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. ———. 1954. Remarks on the Present State of Operationalism. The Scientific Monthly 79 (4): 224–226.Google Scholar
  7. Cartwright, Nancy. 1983. How the Laws of Physics Lie. Oxford; New York: Clarendon Press; Oxford University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. ———. 1989. Nature’s Capacities and their Measurement. Oxford; New York: Clarendon Press; Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  9. ———. 1999. The Dappled World: A Study of the Boundaries of Science. Cambridge; New York: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Cohen, Jacob. 1992. Statistical Power Analysis. Current Directions in Psychological Science 1 (3): 98–101.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Collin, Finn. 1997. Social Reality, The Problems of Philosophy. London; New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
  12. Collins, Harry M. 1985. Changing Order: Replication and Induction in Scientific Practice. London: The University of Chicago Press.Google Scholar
  13. Contessa, Gabriele. 2006. Scientific Models, Partial Structures and the New Received View of Theories. Studies in History and Philosophy of Science 37 (2): 370–377.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Cooper, J.E., R.E. Kendell, B.J. Gurland, L. Sharpe, and J. Copeland. 1972. Psychiatric Diagnosis in New York and London; A Comparative Study of Mental Hospital Admissions, Maudsley Monographs. London; New York: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  15. Depew, David J., and Bruce H. Weber. 1995. Darwinism Evolving: Systems Dynamics and the Genealogy of Natural Selection. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.Google Scholar
  16. Downes, Stephen M. 1992. The Importance of Models in Theorizing: A Deflationary Semantic View. PSA 1992: Proceedings of the Biennial Meeting of the Philosophy of Science Association 1: 142–153.Google Scholar
  17. Edgington, E.S. 1974. A New Tabulation of Statistical Procedures in APA Journals. American Psychologist 29: 25–26.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Ellenberger, Henri F. 1970. The Discovery of the Unconscious: The History and Evolution of Dynamic Psychiatry. London: Allen Lane, The Penguin Press.Google Scholar
  19. Fiedler, Klaus, Eva Walther, Peter Freytag, and Stefanie Nickel. 2003. Inductive Reasoning and Judgment Interference: Experiments on Simpson’s Paradox. Personality & Social Psychology Bulletin 29 (1): 14–27.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Fisher, Ronald A. 1918. The Correlation between Relatives on the Supposition of Mendelian Inheritance. Transactions of the Royal Society of Edinburgh 52: 399–433.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Fisher, Ronald A., and W.A. Mackenzie. 1923. Studies in Crop Variation: II. The Manurial Response of Different Potato Varieties. Journal of Agricultural Science 13: 311–320.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Fulford, K.W.M., and Norman Sartorius. 2009. The Secret History of ICD and the Hidden Future of DSM. In Psychiatry as Cognitive Neuroscience, ed. Matthew R. Broome and Lisa Bortolotti. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  23. Galison, Peter. 1997. Image and Logic: A Material Culture of Microphysics. Chicago; London: University of Chicago Press.Google Scholar
  24. Giere, Ronald N. 1988. Explaining Science: A Cognitive Approach, Science and Its Conceptual Foundations. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. ———. 1999. Science without Laws, Science and Its Conceptual Foundations. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.Google Scholar
  26. ———. 2006a. Perspectival Pluralism. In Scientific Pluralism, ed. Stephen H. Kellert, Helen Longino, and C. Kenneth Waters, 25–41. Minneapolis, MN: University of Minnesota Press.Google Scholar
  27. ———. 2006b. Scientific Perspectivism. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Gigerenzer, Gerd. 2004. Mindless Statistics. The Journal of Socio-Economics 33: 587–606.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Gilbert, G. Nigel, and Michael Mulkay. 1984. Opening Pandora’s Box: A Sociological Analysis of Scientists’ Discourse. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  30. Godfrey-Smith, Peter. 2006. The Strategy of Model-Based Science. Biology and Philosophy 21: 725–740.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Gøtzsche, Peter C. 2015. Dødelig psykiatri og organiseret fornægtelse. Denmark: People’s Press.Google Scholar
  32. Griesemer, James R. 1990. Modeling in the Museum: On the Role of Remnant Models in the Workof Joseph Grinnell. Biology & Philosophy 5: 3–36.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Griffiths, Paul, and Karola Stoltz. 2013. Genetics and Philosophy: An Introduction. Edited by Michael Ruse. Cambridge Introductions to Philosophy and Biology. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  34. Haase, Richard F., and Michael V. Ellis. 1987. Multivariate Analysis of Variance. Journal of Counseling Psychology 34 (4): 404–413.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Hacking, Ian. 1999. The Social Construction of What? Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
  36. Haslam, Nick. 2013. Reliability, Validity, and the Mixed Blessings of Operationalism. In The Oxford Handbook of Philosophy and Psychiatry, ed. K.W.M. Fulford, Martin Davies, Richard G.T. Gipps, George Graham, John Z. Sadler, Giovanni Stanghellini, and Tim Thornton. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  37. Hempel, Carl G. 1954. A Logical Appraisal of Operationism. The Scientific Monthly 79 (4): 215–220.Google Scholar
  38. Hempel, Carl R. 1959. Introduction to Problems of Taxonomy. In Field Studies in the Mental Disorders, ed. J. Zubin, 3–23. New York: Grune and Stratton.Google Scholar
  39. Herrnstein, Richard J., and Charles Murray. 1994. The Bell Curve: Intelligence and Class Structure in American Life. New York: Free Press.Google Scholar
  40. Ingram, R.E., and D. Luxton. 2005. Vulnerability-Stress Models. In Development of Psychopathology: A Vulnerability-Stress Perspective, ed. Benjamin L. Hankin and John R. Z. Abela, x, 510 p. New York: Sage Publications.Google Scholar
  41. Jones, Martin R. 2005. Idealization and Abstraction: A Framework. In Idealization XII: Correcting the Model: Idealization and Abstraction in the Sciences, ed. Martin R. Jones and Nancy Cartwright, 173–217. New York: Rodopi.Google Scholar
  42. Jordan, Gabriele, Samir S. Deeb, Jenny M. Bosten, and J.D. Mollon. 2010. The Dimensionality of Color Vision in Carriers of Anomalous Trichromacy. Journal of Vision 10 (8): 1–19.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Kellert, Stephen H., Helen Longino, and C. Kenneth Waters, eds. 2006. Scientific Pluralism, Minnesota Studies in the Philosophy of Science. Minneapolis, MN: University of Minnesota Press.Google Scholar
  44. Kempthorne, Oscar. 1990. How Does One Apply Statistical Analysis to Our Understanding of the Development of Human Relationships. Behavioral and Brain Sciences 13: 138–139.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Kievit, Rogier A., Willem E. Frankenhuis, Lourens J. Waldorp, and Denny Borsboom. 2013. Simpson’s Paradox in Psychological Science: A Practical Guide. Frontiers in Psychology 4: 513.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Lenhard, Johannes, Günther Küppers, and Terry Shinn, eds. 2010. Simulation: Pragmatic Construction of Reality. Dordrecht, The Netherlands: Springer.Google Scholar
  47. Levy, Arnon, and Adrian Currie. 2014. Model Organisms are Not (Theoretical) Models. The British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 0: 1–22.Google Scholar
  48. Lewontin, R.C. 2006. The Analysis of Variance and the Analysis of Causes. International Journal of Epidemiology 35: 520–525.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. Lorber, Judith, and Susan A. Farrell, eds. 1991. The Social Construction of Gender. Newbury Park, CA: Sage Publications.Google Scholar
  50. MacKenzie, Donald. 1981. Statistics in Britain, 1865–1930: The Social Construction of Scientific Knowledge. Edinburgh, UK: Edinburgh University Press.Google Scholar
  51. Malinas, Gary, and John Bigelow. 2012. Simpson’s Paradox. In The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (Winter 2012 Ed.), ed. Edward N. Zalta.
  52. McMullin, Ernan. 1985. Galilean Idealization. Studies in History and Philosophy of Science 16: 247–273.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  53. Medin, Douglas L., Elizabeth B. Lynch, John D. Coley, and Scott Atran. 1997. Categorization and Reasoning among Tree Experts: Do All Roads Lead to Rome? Cognitive Psychology 32: 49–96.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  54. Meehl, P.E. 1962. Schizotaxia, Schizotypy, Schizophrenia. American Psychologist 17 (12): 827–838. Scholar
  55. Mitchell, Sandra D. 2002. Integrative Pluralism. Biology and Philosophy 17 (1): 55–70.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  56. ———. 2012. Unsimple Truths. 1 vol. Chicago, IL; Bristol: University of Chicago Press; University Presses Marketing distributor.Google Scholar
  57. Mitchell, Sandra D., Lorraine Daston, Gerd Gigerenzer, Nevin Sesardic, and Peter Sloep. 1997. The Why’s and How’s of Interdisciplinarity. In Human By Nature: Between Biology and the Social Sciences, ed. Peter Weingart, Sandra D. Mitchell, Peter J. Richerson, and Sabine Maasen, 103–150. Mahwah, NJ: Erlbaum Press.Google Scholar
  58. Morgan, Mary S., and Margaret Morrison, eds. 1999. Models as Mediators: Perspectives on Natural and Social Science. Ideas in Context. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  59. Nickel, Ernest H. 1995a. The Definition of a Mineral. The Canadian Mineralogist 33: 689–690.Google Scholar
  60. ———. 1995b. Mineral Names Applied to Synthetic Substances. Mineralogy and Petrology 57: 261–262.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  61. Osherovich, L. 2011. Hedging against Academic Risk. Science-Business eXchange 4 (15). Scholar
  62. Parnas, Josef, and Pierre Bovet. 2014. Psychiatry Made Easy: Operation(al)ism and Some of Its Consequences. In Philosophical Issues in Psychiatry III: The Nature and Sources of Historical Change, ed. Kenneth S. Kendler and Josef Parnas. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  63. Pickering, Andrew. 1984. Constructing Quarks: A Sociological History of Particle Physics. Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press.Google Scholar
  64. Prinz, F., T. Schlange, and K. Asadullah. 2011. Believe It or Not: How Much Can We Rely on Published Data on Potential Drug Targets? Nature Reviews Drug Discovery 10: 712–713.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  65. Reutlinger, Alexander, and Matthias Unterhuber. 2014. Thinking about Non-Universal Laws: Introduction to the Special Issue Ceteris Paribus Laws Revisited. Erkenntnis 79: 1703–1713. Scholar
  66. Rosenhan, David L. 1973. On Being Sane in Insane Places. Science 179: 250–258.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  67. Sacks, Oliver. 1997. The Island of the Colorblind. 1st ed. New York: A.A. Knopf: Distributed by Random House.Google Scholar
  68. Sato, Y., and G.E. Berrios. 2001. Operationalism in Psychiatry: A Conceptual History of Operational Diagnostic Criteria. Clinical Psychiatry 43: 704–713.Google Scholar
  69. Simpson, E.H. 1951. The Interpretation of Interaction in Contingency Tables. Journal of the Royal Statistical Society Series B—Statistical Methodology 13 (2): 238–241.Google Scholar
  70. Skinner, B.F. 1945. The Operational Analysis of Psychological Terms. Psychological Review 52 (5): 270–277.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  71. Spellman, B.A., C.M. Price, and J. Logan. 2001. How Two Causes are Different From One: The Use of (Un)conditional Information in Simpson’s Paradox. Memory and Cognition 29: 193–208.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  72. Suppe, Frederick. 1972. Whats Wrong with the Received View on the Structure of Scientific Theories? Philosophy of Science 39 (1): 1–19.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  73. Szasz, Thomas. 1960. The Myth of Mental Illness. American Psychologist 15: 113–118.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  74. ———. 1961. The Myth of Mental Illness: Foundations of a Theory of Personal Conduct. New York: Dell.Google Scholar
  75. Thomson-Jones, Martin. 2012. Modeling without Mathematics. Philosophy of Science 79: 761–772.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  76. van Fraassen, Bas C. 2008. Scientific Representation: Paradoxes of Perspective. Oxford; New York: Clarendon Press; Oxford University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  77. Wahlsten, Douglas. 1990. Insensitivity of the Analysis of Variance to Heredity-Environment Interaction. Behavioral and Brain Sciences 13: 109–161.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  78. Weisberg, Deena Skolnick. 2008. Caveat Lector: The Presentation of Neuroscience Information in the Popular Media. The Scientific Review of Mental Health Practice 6 (1): 51–56.Google Scholar
  79. Weisberg, Michael. 2007. Three Kinds of Idealization. The Journal of Philosophy 104 (12): 639–659.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  80. ———. 2013. Simulation and Similarity: Using Models to Understand the World. Oxford Studies in Philosophy of Science. New York: Oxford University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  81. Wimsatt, William. 2007. Re-engineering Philosophy for Limited Beings: Piecewise Approximations of Reality. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
  82. Winsberg, Eric. 2010. Science in the Age of Computer Simulation. Chicago, IL: The University of Chicago Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Aalborg UniversityCopenhagenDenmark

Personalised recommendations