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::: center home >> events >> lunchtime >> 2005-06 >> abstracts

Tuesday and Thursday, 13 & 15 September 2005
What is Science?
Paul Hoyningen-Huene, U. of Hannover
Ctr. for Philosophy and Ethics of Science
A joint colloquium co-sponsored by CMU, Dept. of Philosophy

Tuesday, 13 September 2005
Part I: The Short Answer
12:05 pm, 817R Cathedral of Learning, University of Pittsburgh

Thursday, 15 September 2005
Part II: The Long Answer
4:30 pm, A53 Baker Hall, Carnegie Mellon Campus

Abstract: I will begin the first talk with a few historical and systematic remarks concerning the historical setting in which the title questions is being asked. Furthermore, I will explain how exactly the question should be understood. Then, I shall give a short answer to the question. The claim is that scientific knowledge is distinguished from other forms of knowledge, especially from everyday knowledge, by a comparatively higher degree of systematicity. This answer will be qualified and clarified. The clarification explicates the central concept of systematicity. It turns out that the relevant concept of systematicity has to be made more concrete in seven different dimensions.

In the second talk, the answer to the title question will be further elaborated and justified. The elaboration concerns the seven dimensions in which, according to the given answer, science is more systematic than other forms of knowledge. These seven dimensions are descriptions, explanations, predictions, the defense of knowledge claims, an ideal of completeness, knowledge generation, and the structure and representation of knowledge.

The necessarily sketchy justification of my answer consists in examples from various fields of research that exemplify how scientific knowledge is more systematic than other forms of knowledge in those seven dimensions. Finally, I will compare my answer with alternative answers to the title question that have been given in the history of philosophy.

Revised 3/6/08 - Copyright 2006