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

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Pragmatism and the Problem of Wishful Thinking

I argue that they only satisfactory solution to the problem of wishful thinking is a form of pragmatism. I show that the problem of wishful thinking arises not only in science, but also for cases of practical reason. Thus, any theory of values in science that resolves the problem of wishful thinking via a dichotomy between science and practical reason must fail. Critics of the value-free ideal should thus accept a form of pragmatism. This form of pragmatism, suitably supplemented with a contextual-functionalist model of inquiry, escapes the problematic consequences of the problem of wishful thinking.

Author Information:

Matthew J. Brown    
Center for Values in Medicine, Science, and Technology
The University of Texas at Dallas


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