Verosimilitude and the epistemic status of scientific theories
Keywords:Popper, verisimilitude, epistemic status, scientfic theories, scientific knowledge
In this paper, I examine the problem of the epistemic status of scientific theories from the point of view of Poppers epistemology. Starting with the controversial statement “no scientific theory is true”, (A) which is a good candidate to express in a synthetic way certain fundamental implications of Poppers theory of verisimilitude, I analyze some criticisms against the fallibbilist view of science and suggest ways of adequately developing the meaning of (A), together with the meaning of other statements from the same family. I shall argue that only by means of these statements can we develop a good understanding of the scientific enterprise, and that they do not represent the collapse of epistemology. In addition, I shall show how to give a construal of these statements in such a way that they remain immune to the commonest criticisms. Furthermore, I shall examine the sense of the locution “scientific knowledge” with the purpose of showing that it is not advisable to interpret it according to the traditional sense of the word “knowledge”. I shall conclude that if we give a nuanced construal of (A) and its relatives, we will be in a better position to obtain a functional representation of the business of science.
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