Menu
Home
Log in / Register
 
Home arrow History arrow Integrated History and Philosophy of Science: Problems, Perspectives, and Case Studies
Source

Conclusion

Wrinch and Jeffreys are not philosophers, and that is the reason they end up with an epistemology of science that would be unacceptable to most philosophers. In saying this, I do not mean that they were ignorant of philosophy. On the contrary, their deep knowledge of the cutting edge of epistemology of the time is apparent both through their writings, and the things that have been written about them by contemporary philosophers such as C. D. Broad and R. B. Braithwaite. The difference is in the motivation. Wrinch and Jeffreys needed an epistemology of science that could be applied to actual sciences, such as seismology, and the epistemology they came up with, though flawed, was one that they believed could be so applied, something that they thought could not be said for any of the leading theories of epistemology of the time.

I said that my original motivation for studying the work of Wrinch and Jeffreys is an interest in the epistemology of modern seismology. Wrinch and Jeffreys believed that the only way out of a massive underdetermination problem, such as the one faced by seismologists, is through something like the simplicity postulate. The problem is that the simplicity postulate seems to be unjustified—the only argument for it seems to be that scientists do it, and it seems to work generally. My own view is that Wrinch and Jeffreys made a mistake by turning to epistemology to attempt to justify the simplicity postulate—it might be better justified by appealing to methodology, not epistemology.[1] But that would be the subject for another paper. In any case, an examination of the later works of Wrinch and Jeffreys, in which they lay out a theory of “mensuration”, as well as the further development of the epistemological views of Jeffreys in response to the needs arising out of his work in seismology, would be of further philosophical interest.

  • [1] See Miyake (2013) for a more detailed exposition of this idea.
 
Source
Found a mistake? Please highlight the word and press Shift + Enter  
< Prev   CONTENTS   Next >
 
Subjects
Accounting
Business & Finance
Communication
Computer Science
Economics
Education
Engineering
Environment
Geography
Health
History
Language & Literature
Law
Management
Marketing
Mathematics
Political science
Philosophy
Psychology
Religion
Sociology
Travel