The Machine Scientists: Iatrophysics and Selective Scientific Realism

The Machine Scientists – Giovanni Borelli, Jan Swammerdam and Niels Steensen – followed Rene Descartes in modelling the human body mechanically. The scientific success of this ‘iatrophysical’ programme, replete with rejected entities such as ‘Animal Spirits’, poses a problem for Scientific Realism. Using Psillos’ moderate realism, this paper attempts to reconcile a selective realist position with the historical record.

Lumping and splitting: brain tumours in white Britons

A much-publicised report suggests that white Britons’ brain tumour survival rates are lower than other ethnicities. But analysing the ethnicities categories used, and considering the diversity of the “brain tumour” label, complicates the picture, as the ‘Dismal Disease’ of Glioblastoma continues to confound.

Crisis Thresholds: network demarcation and the Kuhnian turning point

In at least some of his work (e.g. 1962), Kuhn refers to a ‘crisis’ within the scientific community, which occurs when the build-up of anomalies becomes so substantial that most of the community begin to search for an alternative to the dominant paradigm. The crisis precipitates a period of revolutionary …

Pluralism and the Problems of Demarcation

In 1983, Larry Laudan proclaimed the “Demise of the Demarcation Problem” (Laudan 1983). I will argue that the ‘simple demarcation’ problem should indeed be abandoned. However, abandoning the quest for simple demarcation does not entail that demarcation problems are intractable. Though the dream of a single criterion to demarcate ‘science’ …