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Picture of A Priori Revisability in Science

A Priori Revisability in Science

Author(s): Boris D. Grozdanoff

Book Description

The most influential rationalist model of scientific knowledge is arguably the one formulated recently by Michael Friedman. The central epistemic claim of the model concerns the character of its fundamental principles which are said to be independent from experience. Friedman’s position faces the modern empiricist challenge: he has to explain how the principles could still be a priori if they change under empirical pressure. This book provides a contemporary account of the epistemic character of the principles, addressing recent work on the a priori in modern analytic epistemology. Its main thesis is that at least some principles within natural science are not empirically but a priori revisable. A Priori Revisability in Science formulates a general notion of epistemic revisability and extracts two kinds of specific revisabilities: the traditional empirical one and the suggested novel a priori revisability. It presents the argument that the latter is as vital as the former and even so within natural science. To demonstrate this, the author analyzes two case studies – one from the history of geometry and one from the history of physics – and shows that the revisions were a priori. The result of this is two-fold. First, a genuine alternative of empirical revisability is developed, and not just for traditional a priori domains like mathematics, but for the natural sciences as well. Second, a new mechanism for the dynamics of science is suggested, the a priori dynamics, at the core of which the scientific knowledge sometimes evolves through non-empirical moves.


ISBN-13: 978-1-4438-5822-9
ISBN-10: 1-4438-5822-6
Date of Publication: 01/06/2014
Pages / Size: 195 / A5
Price: £39.99


Boris D. Grozdanoff is a philosopher of science who works in the fields of scientific epistemology and metaphysics and holds doctoral degrees in Analytic Epistemology (from the Central European University) and Philosophy of Science (from the Bulgarian Academy of Science). He has served as a Visiting Fellow at the Pittsburgh Center for Philosophy of Science, and has specialized on the problem of scientific thought experiments at the University of Toronto. Dr Grozdanoff won the Marie Curie Fellowship of the European Commission in 2008, and worked in the Philosophy of Physics group at Oxford University until 2010. At present, he holds an Associate Professorship at the Bulgarian Academy of Science and teaches at the University of Sofia and the Technical University, Sofia. His first book was on thought experiments in science, and he has published articles in Principia, The Croatian Journal of Philosophy and The World of Physics. Currently, he works on the problems of space and time in physics, and is interested in the topics of symmetries, chirality and identity.