HPS Brownbag- Anjan Chakravartty


Location: 109 Pasquerilla Center

“Antidotes to Scientific Perspectivism”


Is science irreducibly perspectival? Kantian views of scientific knowledge (which take it to be irreducibly reflective of human ways of knowing) and thoroughly conventionalist views (which see all aspects of it in terms of human conventions) are obvious forms of perspectivism. Recently some scientific realists, who hold that we have at least some substantive knowledge of a mind-independent world (unlike Kantians and thoroughgoing conventionalists), have also argued that scientific knowledge is inescapably perspectival. The commonplace use in science of incompatible models of one and the same phenomenon is invoked as exemplary. Can we make sense of this combination of perspectivism and realism, and does the realist need to? The correct answers to these questions are 'no', and 'no', respectively. I'll explore some options for what a realist could say instead.