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The Tangle of Science: Reliability Beyond Method, Rigour, and Objectivity, by Nancy Cartwright, Jeremy Hardie, Eleonora Montuschi, Matthew Soleiman, Ann C. Thresher

Accepted version
Peer-reviewed

Type

Article

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Authors

Abstract

The Tangle undertakes to change the focus of philosophy of science towards the reliability of scientific products. Both parts matter. Reliability is the fact that we sometimes can count on science to do what it’s meant to. This is different from demarcation of science from pseudoscience, different from whether science discovers truth about hidden reality or just saves phenomena, different from whether it attains mind-independent objectivity or forever remains a social construction. All of these traditional preoccupations are orthogonal to reliability, and accounts of demarcation, realism or objectivity tell us little about how reliability is achieved. The idea of a product is also crucial. In The Tangle the term ‘product’ covers theoretical and empirical claims, but also instruments, techniques, concepts, procedures. Like products of everyday life, they have purposes, expiry dates, and instructions for use. They are redeployable, but they work better in some environments than in others and only when they are properly linked to other products. It makes no sense to speak of products as true, even approximately, only as fit for purpose.

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Keywords

50 Philosophy and Religious Studies, 5002 History and Philosophy Of Specific Fields

Journal Title

Mind

Conference Name

Journal ISSN

0026-4423
1460-2113

Volume Title

Publisher

Oxford University Press (OUP)