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P.D. Magnus

Science and rationality for one and all

It's at least possible for the demands of science as a collective endeavor and the individual demands of rationality to coincide.

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Abstract

A successful scientific community might require different scientists to form different beliefs even when faced with the same evidence. The standard line is that this would create a conflict between the demands of collective rationality which scientists face as members of the community and the demands of individual rationality which they face as epistemic agents. This is expressed both by philosophers of science (working on the distribution of cognitive labor) and by epistemologists (working on the epistemology of disagreement). The standard line fails to take into account the relation between rational belief and various epistemic risks, values of which are a matter of personal and social commitment. This introduces the possibility of conflicts the standard line does not recognize, because someone with extreme values might be individually rational but too far beyond the pale to have a place in the scientific community. More importantly, it introduces at least a possibility for good scientists to be rational individuals.

BibTeX

@ARTICLE(Magnus2014x,
	AUTHOR = {P.D. Magnus},
	TITLE = {Science and rationality for one and all},
	JOURNAL = {Ergo},
	YEAR = {2014},
	VOLUME = {1},
	NUMBER = {5},
	PAGES = {129--138},
	DOI = {10.3998/ergo.12405314.0001.005}
)

The first on-line draft of this paper was posted 14nov2013.

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