PSA2016: The 25th Biennial Meeting of the Philosophy of Science Association

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Problems and Questions in Scientific Practice

Philosophers increasingly study how scientists conduct actual scientific projects and the goals they pursue. But as of yet, there are few accounts of goals that can be used to identify different kinds, and specific instances, of goals pursued by scientists. I propose that there are at least four distinct kinds of goals pursued by scientists: ameliorating problems, addressing questions, satisfying values, and achieving epistemic aims. I focus on the first two kinds, and I provide tools to help conceptualize, distinguish, and identify the problems and questions pursued by scientists. This paper illustrates the use of those tools with two examples.

Author Information:

Steve Elliott    
Center for Biology and Society
Arizona State University


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