The Convergence of Scientific Knowledge A view from the limit

This is this, this ain't something else, this is this -Robert De Niro, Deerhunter his book may to some extent be viewed as the continuation of my T Doctoral thesis Epistemology, Methodology and Reliability. The dissertation was, first of all, a methodolog

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TRENDS IN LOGIC Studia Logica Library VOLUME 9 Managing Editor Ryszard W6jcicki, Institute of Philosophy and Sociology, Polish Academy of Sciences, Warsaw, Poland Editors Daniele Mundici, Department of Computer Sciences, University of Milan, Italy Graham Priest, Department of Philosophy, University of Queensland, Brisbane, Australia Krister Segerberg, Department of Philosophy, Uppsala University, Sweden Alasdair Urquhart, Department of Philosophy, University of Toronto, Canada Heinrich Wan sing, Institute of Philosophy, Dresden University of Technology, Germany Assistant Editor Jacek Malinowski, Box 61, UPT 00-953, Warszawa 37, Poland

SCOPE OF THE SERIES Trends in Logic is a bookseries covering essentially the same area as the journal Studia Logica - that is, contemporary formal logic and its applications and relations to other disciplines. These include artificial intelligence, informatics, cognitive science, philosophy of science, and the philosophy of language. However, this list is not exhaustive, moreover, the range of applications, comparisons and sources of inspiration is open and evolves over time.

The titles published in this series are listed at the end of this volume.

VINCENT F. HENDRICKS Department of Philosophy and Science Studies, University of Roskilde, Denmark


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A C.I.P. Catalogue record for this book is available from the Library of Congress.

ISBN 978-90-481-5691-7 ISBN 978-94-015-9676-3 (eBook) DOI 10.1007/978-94-015-9676-3

Printed on acid-free paper

AU Rights Reserved © 2001 Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht Originally published by Kluwer Academic Publishers in 2001 Softcover reprint ofthe hardcover Ist edition 2001 No part of the material protected by this copyright notice may be reproduced Of utilized in any form Of by any means, electronic Of mechanical, including photocopying, recording Of by any infOfmation storage and retrieval system, without written permission from the copyright owner.

To Stig Andur Pedersen

Contents List of Figures List of Tables Preface Acknowledgments

xxi xxix

Formal Prerequisites


xiii XIX

Interdependence Scheme for Topics


1. INTRODUCTION 1.1 The Philosophy of Convergence 1.2 Modal Operator Theory 1.3 Convergence in Sum Part I

1 1



The Philosophy of Convergence

2. KNOWLEDGE, METHOD AND RELIABILITY 2.1 Elements of Scientific Inquiry 2.1.1 Knowledge of Laws of Nature 2.2 Underdetermination 2.2.1 Global Underdetermination 2.2.2 Local Underdetermination 2.3 Epistemology-vs.-Methodology

15 15 17 21 23 24 27

3. KNOWLEDGE AND SKEPTICISM 3.1 Converging Knowledge 3.2 Classical Skepticism 3.3 Modern Skepticism 3.3.1 Gettier Cases 3.3.2 Counterfactual Knowledge, Demons and Brains 3.4 The Desirable Forcing

37 37 39 41 46 47 52

4. THE EPISTEMOLOGY OF CONVERGENCE 4.1 Convergence Criteria 4.1.1 Certainty Convergence 4.1.2 Limiting Convergence 4.2 Successful Convergence 4.2.1 Empirical Assessment 4.2.2 Empirical Discovery 4.3 Li