PSA 1972 pp 387-406 | Cite as

Rationality and Scientific Discovery

  • Stephen Toulmin
Part of the Boston Studies in the Philosophy of Science book series (BSPS, volume 20)


Philosophers of Science have long paid lip service to the desirability of distinguishing the questions that arise about the propositions (statements, hypotheses) of a science from those that arise about its concepts (terms, ideas); but hitherto there has been a curious hesitation on their part to explore the consequences of this distinction as far as they will take us. This hesitation is understandable in those writers whose primary commitment is to the methods of mathematical logic, with its formal analysis of propositional systems and relations. But it extends also to those who have no such commitment: e.g. the pragmatists. (Recall William James’s confused question, “What makes an idea true?” — as though concepts could be true-or-false, in the way propositions are!)


Conceptual Change Scientific Discovery Formal Connection Conceptual Variant Scientific Change 
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Copyright information

© D. Reidel Publishing Company, Dordrecht-Holland 1974

Authors and Affiliations

  • Stephen Toulmin
    • 1
  1. 1.Committee on Social ThoughtUniversity of ChicagoUSA

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