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Objectivity, Rationality, and Scientific Change Author(s): Dudley Shapere Source: PSA: Proceedings of the Biennial Meeting of the Philosophy of Science Association, Vol. 1984, Volume Two: Symposia and Invited Papers (1984), pp. 637-663 Published by: The University of Chicago Press on behalf of the Philosophy of Science Association Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/192530 . Accessed: 25/03/2014 14:20 Your use of the JSTOR archive indicates your acceptance of the Terms & Conditions of Use, available at . http://www.jstor.org/page/info/about/policies/terms.jsp . JSTOR is a not-for-profit service that helps scholars, researchers, and students discover, use, and build upon a wide range of content in a trusted digital archive. We use information technology and tools to increase productivity and facilitate new forms of scholarship. For more information about JSTOR, please contact [email protected] . The University of Chicago Press and Philosophy of Science Association are collaborating with JSTOR to digitize, preserve and extend access to PSA: Proceedings of the Biennial Meeting of the Philosophy of Science Association. http://www.jstor.org This content downloaded from on Tue, 25 Mar 2014 14:20:21 PM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions

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  • Objectivity, Rationality, and Scientific ChangeAuthor(s): Dudley ShapereSource: PSA: Proceedings of the Biennial Meeting of the Philosophy of Science Association,Vol. 1984, Volume Two: Symposia and Invited Papers (1984), pp. 637-663Published by: The University of Chicago Press on behalf of the Philosophy of Science AssociationStable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/192530 .Accessed: 25/03/2014 14:20

    Your use of the JSTOR archive indicates your acceptance of the Terms & Conditions of Use, available at .http://www.jstor.org/page/info/about/policies/terms.jsp

    .JSTOR is a not-for-profit service that helps scholars, researchers, and students discover, use, and build upon a wide range ofcontent in a trusted digital archive. We use information technology and tools to increase productivity and facilitate new formsof scholarship. For more information about JSTOR, please contact [email protected]


    The University of Chicago Press and Philosophy of Science Association are collaborating with JSTOR todigitize, preserve and extend access to PSA: Proceedings of the Biennial Meeting of the Philosophy of ScienceAssociation.


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  • Objectivity, Rationality, and Scientific Change

    Dudley Shapere

    Wake Forest University

    1. The Interpretation of Objectivity and Rationality

    Many philosophers used to believe that the objectivity and ration- ality of science lay in its reliance on "brute facts", on what was "given" in sense-experience without any interpretation (and therefore any presuppositions) whatever. For those philosophers, granted their sharp distinction between the pure given and what is built on or added thereto, a distinction between "objectivity" and "rationality" was comparatively easy to draw (though I know of no place where it was ex- plicitly so drawn). For a person to be "objective" in a given inquiry would be for that person to base his inquiry (either his deductions or inductions from the given, or his justification of his theories, de- pending on the particular version of the view we are considering) solely on the unvarnished facts, the pure given. And for a proposi- tion (conclusion, hypothesis) to be "objectively based" would be for it to be based solely on (deduced or induced solely from, justified in terms of) the pure, uninterpreted given. As for "rationality" of per- sons, that would consist in the person's relying solely on the logical rules of deduction or induction in drawing conclusions from (or justi- fying hypotheses in terms of) the given; and a proposition would be rationally-based if it followed from statements of the given solely by virtue of deductive or inductive rules (or, alternatively, in the pro- position's being justified solely on the basis of application of those or other appropriate rules to statements about the given). Those log- ical rules themselves were, of course, required to be independent of any factual presuppositions, so that rationality involved an element of objectivity also.

    The initial motivation of this view - beyond its advocacy by many scientists - was to exclude from science the biases introduced by meta- physical, political, religious, personal, or other "irrelevant" in- trusions. The philosophers in question, however - mostly empiricists and positivists of a traditional stamp - insisted that admittedly scientific presuppositions also had to be prevented from influencing our observations of nature and the rules by which we think about them. For after all, like any "preconceived ideas", such beliefs, too, if allowed to influence our perception of nature or its interpretation, would slant inquiry in such a way as to destroy its objectivity and

    PSA 1984, Volume 2, pp. 637-663 Copyright ( 1985 by the Philosophy of Science Association

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    rationality. So they too would have to be "left at the doorstep" of the scientists laboratory, and the pure, unvarnished "given" received there in its pristine, uninterpreted form. If science was truly to rest, for its sources and justification, on sense-experience, that foundation, and the rules for using it to build upon or to test, must be free of any possibility of bias whatever. And thus the central problems for that philosophical tradition became ones of trying to characterize this "given", and of trying to show how the edifice of science could be constructed (logically, if not historically) solely from, and/or justified solely in terms of, that "given" as its founda- tion.

    That philosophical view of science is now almost universally admit- ted to be indefensible. Its abandonment is generally attributed to the failure of its adherents to deal successfully with its two central problems, of characterizing the "given" and showing how science can be constructed or justified purely on its basis. But there are more fun- damental reasons for rejecting it. First is the fact that, even if it were possible to specify any such pure given, wholly free of any in- terpretation or presupposition whatever, it would have to be so pure as to be totally irrelevant to the beliefs of which it was to be the source and/or justification; and second, because of the very require- ment that they be pure of any non-logical content, rules of a deduc- tive or inductive logic (supposing the latter could be constructed) would be at best woefully insufficient to explicate what counts as reasoning in science. Furthermore, the view seems belied by the his- tory of science: for that subject, with its new accumulation of pro- fessional studies during the past several decades, has revealed the presence and deep influence of presuppositions throughout the devel- opment of science - presuppositions which determined the interpreta- tion not only of experience and our ways of thinking about it, but of the very course of scientific investigation, and which, moreover, seemed necessary features of the particular scientific developments in question. The idea of a presuppositionless science, resting on an un- interpreted given, now appears to be both a logical impossibility and an historical falsehood.

    But this recognition of the role of presupposition in science raises new difficulties. For if the "objectivity" and "rationality" of science do not reside, respectively, in its "observing nature (or ex- amining the given) without any presuppositions whatever", and in its "deriving or justifying its conclusions solely,by means of presuppo- sition-free rules", what can those terms mean? It seems that there is no such thing as "objectivity" or "rationality" in those senses, nor could there be. And that conclusion leaves two alternatives open: either to admit that the alleged objectivity of science and the ra- tionality of its thought-processes and conclusions are really a myth, an illusion; or to try to understand the objectivity and rationality of science in a way compatible with the role of presupposition there- in.

    Many writers in the past two decades or so have adopted the first alternative, arguing that, at any stage of its history, science em- ploys, in its interpretation of experience and nature, presuppositions which are in the final analysis arbitrary. But however much those writers try to disguise the fact, the result is a relativism according

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    to which the procedures of science do not deserve to be called objec- tive and rational, and the results of scientific inquiry do not merit the title of knowledge. The scientific enterprise thus comes to be portrayed as a succession of prejudices, the passing fads of a parti- cular tradition or group. Such a view, according to which everything in science is the result of arbitrary presupposition and interpreta- tion, is as extreme and unacceptable as the view it claims to replace, that everything in science is grounded in "the given".

    There is, I propose, a way of upholding the second alternative, of showing how the necessity of presupposition - of interpretation - in science is consistent with the idea of an objective, rational science. Indeed, I shall argue for a much stronger thesis: that the objectivity and rationality of science, far from demanding freedom from any "pre- suppositions" whatever, actually depend, in their conception and their criteria, on the employment in science of "presuppositions", though only on ones which satisfy certain constraints. The employment of presuppositions is not only consistent with the rationality and objec- tivity of science; if (but only if) the presuppositions are of the right sort, their employment is necessary in order for science to be rational and objective. In the present paper I will outline this ap- proach. In doing so, I will also show that the appeal here to "cer- tain constraints" on which presuppositions or sorts of presuppositions can legitimately be employed in order that an inquiry or proposition can qualify as "objective" and "rational" does not require an appeal to a priori dogmas. For those constraints, we will find, develop and change through application of the same kind of reasoning that they themselves dictate, and change in response to changes in the reason- ing-patterns which they themselves generate. Nor does this interac- tion of constraints and reasoning beg any questions or eventuate in a vicious circle. On the contrary, as I shall try to show, what results is a mutual reinforcement which is itself rational in a sense that is consistent, that is coherent with well-founded everyday intuitions from which the ideas in question (objectivity and rationality) are descendants, and that makes clearly intelligible the progressive na- ture of science in its search for truth.

    In keeping with the points I have made about the present situation in the philosophy of science, I will, for the purposes of the present discussion, assume the following theses to have been established by an abundance of philosophical argument and historical evidence over the past two decades.

    1) Classification and description of experience, problems con- cerning experience, methods of dealing with those problems and what to expect (or demand) in an answer to them, and the goals of investiga- tion of experience, all depend on prior assumptions, on presupposed beliefs. I will refer to such beliefs as background beliefs.

    2) The development of science involves changes not only in our substantive beliefs about nature, but also in all the respects I have mentioned: in the descriptive language of science; in the body of prob- lems regarding nature so described and classified, and in the criter- ia of genuineness and importance of those problems; in the methods by which those problems are approached; in the standards or criteria of what can count as a possible solution of those problems, and also as

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    to what can count as an acceptable solution of them, including what can count as evidence for or against a proposed solution (and specif- ically in what is to count as "observational" or "observational evi- dence"); and even in the conception of the goals of science.

    3) Changes in all these respects also depend on "background be- liefs", and radical changes (at least) depend on changes in background beliefs.

    The task of this paper, then, will be the following: to show how, even when these three theses are accepted, it is still possible to conceive of scientific change as being, in a naturally justifiable sense, objective and rational. Still more explicitly in terms of the three theses just stated, the problem is to show how the employment of some "background beliefs' (rather than others) is rational and their choice objective: how the use of those background beliefs can be des- cribed convincingly as the use of background information serving as reasons. As we shall see, fulfilling this task will require develop- ing a conception of "objectivity" and "rationality" radically differ- ent from the traditional one sketched above; but this new conception, as I have promised we will find, is far more concordant than the lat- ter both with everyday conceptions of objectivity and rationality and with the way science proceeds.

    2. Domains and Domain-Based Problems

    The key to answering our problem lies, as I have already suggested, in the fact that it is not just any beliefs which can function as background beliefs in the scientific enterprise. Roughly (a roughness which will be removed in what follows), the presupposed beliefs - the beliefs which play a definite, specific role in shaping scientific ac- tivity and its theoretical interpretation - are scientific ones. They have earned this status, and the right to serve as background informa- tion in the conception and interpretation (and in the reconception and reinterpretation) of data, problems, methods, criteria of solution of problems, and goals, by having satisfied severe constraints. For pre- sent purposes I will note only the three most important of these con- straints. In order to be legitimately employable as background infor- mation, beliefs have to have been successful, free from specific and compelling doubt, and clearly relevant to the subject-matter or prob- lem to which they are to be applied. I will refer to background be- liefs which satisfy these constraints as background information.

    But how are we to understand these ideas of "success", "freedom from specific and compelling doubt', and "relevance"? And how do they relate to the claim that science is "rational" and "objective"? In this paper, I will consider these questions, focussing primarily on the ideas of "success" and "freedom from doubt"', although I will make some brief remarks about "relevance" also.

    Let us first examine the constraints which science imposes on back- ground beliefs, returning afterward to the question of what those con- straints have to do with the rationality and objectivity of science. Like all other aspects of science, the roots of those constraints must be sought in the historical innovations which have led to its present state. For the vast and undeniable successes which present science

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    has achieved in understanding and controlling nature have emerged, gradually and sometimes insecurely to be sure, from certain crucial departures which it took, at various stages of its history, from pre- vious ways of thinking. In particular, the constraints of "success" and "freedom from specific and compelling doubt" had their modern roots in the seventeenth century, when the approach of examining spe- cific sjbject-matters in isolation from others began to become wide- spread. This piecemeal approach to the knowledge-seeking enterprise replaced an older holistic approach wherein all phenomena were to be dealt with at a stroke, so to speak - attempting, for instance, to ex- plain the nature of "change" or of "substance" in general, or to de- termine the necessary conditions of knowledge in general, an approach which had been widespread in the middle ages. I call these specific, isolated subject-matters, these areas for investigation, domains. (Shapere 1974b; see also $hapere 1983, Chs. 14 and 15). A domain is an association of "items" of putative information into areas for in- vestigation, having the following characteristics: (1) the association is based on some relationship (or putative relationship) between the items; (2) there is something problematic about the body of informa- tion so related; (3) that problem is an important one. Contrariwise, the domain constitutes a domain of responsibility for a theory of it: the theory is expected to account for the items of the domain fully and well. (Usually also, in order to count as a scientific domain, (4) science must be "ready" to deal with the problem.) In sophisti- cated stages of science, domains often have names such as "solid-state physics", "rare-earth chemistry", galactic astronomy"; but the every- day work of science is done with subject-matters - domains - still more specialized than these. Further, the richness of interrelations holding between various areas of modern science has introduced a great deal of flexibility in organization of subject-matters for study. Be- cause of that flexibility, it has become possible for individual sci- entists to organize their own "personal" domains, with problems dif- ferently conceived (though with specifiable relations) by different scientists, even though such creative organization is based on the ob- jective relationships which science has found to hold (Shapere 1985).

    The existence of domains of investigation makes possible a system- atically-based classification of types of problems which can arise in a modern (piecemeal) approach to inquiry about nature.5 The following are the major classes of domain-based problems.

    I. Domain Problems. These concern the domain itself - that which is the object of investigation. There are three major subtypes of such problems.

    a. Problems of Domain Completeness. These are questions con- cerning the completeness of the domain. There may, for example, be specific reasons for supposing that the list of items in the domain is incomplete, as in the case of gaps in the periodic table of chemical elements in the later part of the nineteenth century, gaps presumed (rightly, as it turned out) to indicate the existence of undiscovered elements; or in the SU(3) spin-3/2 decuplet representation of baryon states, the gap having been filled by the 1963 discovery of the strangeness -3 omega minus particle whose existence was predicted by Gell-Mann on the basis of the gap.

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    b. Problems of Domain Description. These have to do with the adequacy with which the items or some of the items of the domain have been specified (e.g. with the accuracy with which they have been mea- sured). The existence of such problems is in general a function of both background beliefs and the requirements of the explanatory prob- lem (problems of Type II below) concerning the domain.

    c. Problems of Domain Coherence, having to do with whether the domain does indeed constitute a domain: with whether, for example, a unified account of all the items so grouped really is to be expected, or with whether some particular item really belongs in the domain (i.e., is really the responsibility of a theory accounting for the re- mainder of the domain). The possibility of such problems arising shows clearly that the claim that a certain body of alleged informa- tion constitutes a domain is a hypothesis, subject to rejection in the light of new discoveries.

    II. Theoretical Problems, problems about the domain requiring (or suggesting the need for) an "account" of the it - a "theory" of that domain (for example, an "explanatory" theory appealing to entities or relationships beyond those of the domain itself, and thus employing descriptive vocabulary other than that appropriate to the domain it- self). In this paper, I will not discuss the sources of such problems - how they arise in the light of background beliefs or of the pattern and description of the domain itself. Nor will I, except peripheral- ly, go into the way in which the character of the "account" to be sought is also, in general, specified to at least some degree by back- ground beliefs. My concern here is only with how the search for such accounts, and their assessment, are judged to be "objective" and "ra- tional". For this purpose, as we shall see, it is problems of Types III and IV that are of prime importance.

    III. Problems of Theoretical Success, regarding the extent to which a particular proposed account of a domain does indeed account for it: whether it does, and if so, how well. Whatever the character of the "account" proposed, that account is expected, in modern sci- ence, (a) to "account fgr" all the items of the domain; (b) to account for them with precision ; and (c) to give no account of domain-like entities or properties which have not been found to exist or which are not found after careful search. (Each of (a)-(c) gives rise to a type of Problem of Theoretical Success. There are important exceptions to (c) which I will not discuss here.) The account is successful insofar as it fulfills these requirements. Thus, in regard to such problems, the account is judged with respect to its domain.

    IV. Problems of Theoretical Adequacy. These are problems con- cerning the theory other than whether and how well it accounts for its domain. There are four major subtypes of problems of this sort.

    a. Consistency Problems. The theory may be inconsistent. (It may nevertheless be quite successful with respect to accounting for its domain or a part thereof, the areas in which the inconsistency affects its success being specifiable - cf. Shapere (1969).)

    b. Problems of Theoretical Completeness. These are problems not of the completeness of the theory with regard to its domain, but rath-

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    ar problems such as vagueness or ambiguity of its fundamental ideas (including the possibility that we may not know which formulation of the general theory is best), arbitrariness of some of its fundamental parameters, or other reasons, independent of the theory's domain or of other theories, which imply the need for deeper analysis or even for a deeper theory.

    c. Reality-claim Problems. There may be specific reasons to suppose that the account is "unrealistic". That is, it may consist, in its formulation rather than only in its account of its domain items, Df a (set of) "conceptual device(s)" (usually going by such names as idealizations, approximations, simplifications, models, convenient fictions, or the like). Whether a theory (concept, law) is a (set of) conceptual device(s) or not is a contingent matter, depending on back- ground beliefs.

    d. Problems of Intertheoretical Compatibility. The account of a particular domain may not be compatible with theories of other do- mains, when there exist specific reasons for supposing that the domain under consideration should receive the same kind of account, or per- haps the same account, as has been given by the theories for those other domains, or is expected for those other domains. That is, there may be reasons to suppose or expect (depending on the "strength" and character of those reasons) that the theory of the domain under consid- eration should be consistent with, the same as, or derivable from, another sort of theory having to do with other domains (or derivable from another theory from which the theories of those other domains are also derivable), the problem being that the present theory is not so compatible or derivable. (For example, it might be held that a theory for this domain, like the theories of those others, should be mechan- istic, deterministic, atomistic, gauge invariant, or the like. Such demands or expectations are, clearly, specified by the "background be- liefs" of the current science.)

    3. Success, Freedom from Doubt, and Background Information

    The distinction between problems of Type III, Problems of Theoreti- cal Success, and ones of Type IV, Problems of Theoretical Adequacy, is of crucial importance for our topic, the rationality and objectivity of science. To bring this importance out, I will restrict my use of the terms "success" and "freedom from doubt". I will limit my use of the term "success" to cases of the absence or removal of problems of Type III, saying that a theory is "successful" to the extent that it accounts, and accounts well, for its domain. Although the term is often used in a broader sense (as for instance when we speak of a theory as "successful" because of the unification it brings about), nevertheless, in the light of the way the term has often been used in the history of philosophy, my restricted usage is by no means arbi- trary. (Witness pragmatism, at least in some of its ambiguous and insuf- ficiently analyzed use of this term.) It also corresponds, I think, to much of the scientific and ordinary usage of the term where beliefs are concerned. But far more importantly, there is a deeper point to the restriction: for a theory can be successful (in accounting fully and well for its domain) and still be considered - for good, specific reasons - not to be correct. There can, that is, be reasons for doubt concerning the theory which are independent of its success or failure

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    in accounting for its domain. And these reasons for doubt (apart from reasons for doubt stemming from the theory's failure to account for its domain) are to be found among problems of Type IV.

    It is this distinction that is provided for by reserving the term "success" for freedom from problems of Type III, and using the expres- sion "freedom from specific and compelling doubt" for freedom from certain (but only certain) problems of Type IV. I say "only certain" ones because not all problems of Type IV are "reasons for doubt" of a theory, and still less do they all constitute conclusive or even com- pelling reasons for doubt. For example, it is necessary to distin- guish Problems of Incompleteness from Problems of Incorrectness. Prob- lems of Incompleteness (apart from those of Type I, Domain Problems, which are irrelevant here) can, as we have seen, be of Type III, as when the theory does not provide an explanation of all the items of the domain for whose accounting it is responsible, though no compell- ing reason is known indicating that it cannot do so. In that case we have a reason for supposing the theory to be incomplete, but not (at least to this point, with regard to this problem) for considering it to be incorrect. (Thus, not all objections to a theory should be con- sidered "falsifications" of the theory.) But there can also be incom- pleteness problems of Type IV, as when a theory, even one which ac- counts fully and well for all items of its domain, contains some un- clarity, or there is some ambiguity with regard to its interpretation or the interpretation of one or more of its basic concepts or proposi- tions. (Quantum electrodynamics has had enormous success in account- ing for its domain - e.g., in its prediction of the anomalous magnetic moment of the electron, the anomalous gyromagnetic ratio of the muon, and the Lamb shift in hydrogen. Nevertheless, the interpretation and even the propriety of renormalization was disputed for many years, and despite much progress in understanding the physical basis of the pr- cedure, the dust has not yet completely settled on the controversy. But such Problems of Incompleteness, of whichever type, are not neces- sarily Problems of Incorrectness: they may not constitute reasons for believing that the theory is or may be incorrect, but only for believ- ing that it needs to be supplemented or clarified. Problems of Incom- pleteness, then, insofar as they are only problems of incompleteness, do not constitute reasons for doubting the correctness of the theory, even though they may become such in the face of repeated failure to remove them.

    Reasons for doubt are one side of a coin, the other face of which consists of conditions of adequacy of accounts which are in general established in terms of background beliefs which themselves have proved successful and doubt-free in prior investigations. But a full discussion of such conditions of adequacy for "accounts" involves com- plexities which cannot be entered into here. And in any case, we shall find that what constitutes a reason in science becomes clear if we focus on the "reasons-foh-doubt" rather than the "conditions-of- adequacy" side of the coin.

    The same complexities which force postponement of a full discussion of conditions of adequacy of an account also require that we leave for another occasion a fully detailed treatment of what is involved in de- ciding whether a particular problem of Type IV is or is not a reason for doubt (and, further, a compelling or conclusive one). But even

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    though there is more to say about the matter,9 we have already ob- tained sufficient insight into that question for our present purposes. For through our analysis of types of problems arising in a piecemeal approach to the study of nature and the distinction between Problems of Incompleteness and Problems of Incorrectness, we have seen that the existence of Problems of Incorrectness, even when they constitute com- pelling reasons for doubt, does not necessarily +ply that the theory cannot be successful with respect to its domain. But the preceding discussion also implies that an account may not be fully successful in accounting for its domain, in that it does so incompletely, and yet there may be reasons for believing that the theory does provide a cor- rect account. (Many reasons converge to suggest strongly that gauge theories are "on the right track", despite the multitude of problems remaining in such theories.) And so the restriction imposed here on the use of the terms "success" and "freedom from doubt" finds its ra- tionale in the fact that problems of Types III and IV can be indepen- dent of one another. That is, a theory can in principle be confronted with problems of one of those types without being confronted with any of the other: it can be successful with respect to its domain and yet be incorrect (there being reasons for doubt of the sort that consti- tute reasons for supposing the account incorrect); and conversely, there can be reasons for supposing the account to be correct despite the incompleteness of the account with respect to its domain.

    Through this distinction between "success' and "freedom from doubt", then, the contention of this paper may be stated as follows: What science strives to do is to admit, as legitimately usable back- ground beliefs, only those background theories that have proved suc- cessful with respect to their own domains (that is, free of problems ot Type III) and free from specific doubts of Type IV."1 It is such beliefs that I will speak of as "background information"; and in the absence of any specific reasons for doubt, they ye referred to, legi- timately as well as in practice, as "knowledge". I will argue that such beliefs, such background information, constitutes the body, or more accurately, as we shall see, the basis of the body, of what sci- ence appeals to (counts) as reasons in its deliberations, and that those portions of that body which have been shown to be relevant to a particular domain qualify as reasons applicable in the study of that particular domain.

    The qualification that the body of background information consti- tutes the basis (rather than the totality) of what can count as rea- sons is an important one. For of course science does employ proposi- tions which do not meet the rigorous standards of freedom from prob- lems of Types III and IV. Indeed, the work of science, its ongoing enterprise, lies precisely in its proposal and consideration of hypoth- eses, conjectures, propositions falling, in general, well short of the standards of "success" and "freedom from doubt"; and it uses such hypotheses not only in proposing answers to existing problems, but also in introducing new problems, building new hypotheses, and in gen- eral in all the functions it performs - in all the functions which I have attributed to beliefs which satisfy the criteria of success and freedom from doubt. Quantum chromodynamics has not yet been shown def- initely to imply quark confinement, and the evidence of free quarks offered by the Fairbank experiments remains anomalous. (These are problems which may be of Type IIIa or IIIc, depending on whether there

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    are free quarks to account for and on what the implications of the theory really are with regard to freedom or confinement of quarks. There is of course nothing strange about there being a problem about what sort of difficulty a particular problem is.) There are many fur- ther respects in which the theory is held to be incomplete; yet quan- tum chromodynamics provides part of the background in terms of which to formulate still more encompassing theories, the Grand Unified Theo- ries (GUTs) which attempt to unite the theories of the strong and electroweak interactions. Inheriting some of the problems of its com- ponent theories while solving others, GUTs have in their turn failed, so far, to give an account (to mention only some of the more striking problems) of how to deal with the vast gap between the energy at which the strong interaction is "broken" from the unified GUTs force and that at which the electroweak interaction is so "broken" (the so- called Hierarchy Problem, which is of Type IVb); or to account (except in more complicated and otherwise unappealing versions) for the exis- tence of three independent "families" of fermions when one seems suffi- cient to account for the workings of the universe, or to say how many more such families, if any, there may be (IIIa). The prediction of proton decay by the simplest version of GUTs, "minimal SU(5)", has not been borne out by experiments (IIIc). The difficulty can be avoided by complicating this theory or by appealing to a more elaborate ver- sion of GUTs (IVb; usually the way of evading the difficulty is by lengthening the half-life of the proton at the expense of introducing new types of particles, rather than by getting rid of proton decay, which is desirable on other grounds). But on the other hand, many of those versions predict neutrino masses and oscillations, which have not been confirmed, at least unambiguously (IIIa or IMIc). Particles of crucial importance to the theory (Higgs particles) have not yet been observed (IIIc); problems about monopoles persist (IIIc). All these theories contain undetermined parameters, ones whose values must be inserted "by hand" (IVb). Which version of GUTs - whether SU(5), SO(10), E(6) or some other viable candidate - is most satisfactory has not yet been determined (IVb). Yet the achievements of these theories (or rather, forms thereof) have been so great, and their background (as we shall see momentarily) so firmly established, that they remain, despite their problems, worthwhile objects of study, bases for resolu- tion of problems, for formulating new problems, for extension to new domains, as in the application of GUTs to cosmology - an application whose achievements have in turn increased the interest and confidence in GUTs approaches. A further example of this functioning is the axi- on, introduced as a result of one attempt to evade the tstrong CP" problem (Ia) in quantum chromodynamics: though still unobserved (and hence involving a problem of Type IIIc), the axion is nevertheless one serious candidate (among others) for making up the unobserved and per- haps unobservable non-baryonic mass occupying galactic haloes and the intergalactic regions of clusters of galaxies, and possibly constitut- ing 90% of the mass in the universe (problem of Type IIIa concerning a domain extended to include astronomical phenomena). Finally, super- symmetric theories, uniting the concepts of fermion and boson which are left distinct in GUTs (problem of Type IVb), suggest ways of bringing the electroweak-strong interaction together with the final force, gravitation, through a "supergravity" theory. Research into such promising theories, and their application in all the ways back- ground beliefs are applied in science, is not daunted by the fact that supersymmetric theories imply the existence of a counterpart particle

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    for each GUTs particle, and that no such counterpart particle has ever been seen (problem of Type IIIc). Indeed, as with the axion, some of these supersymmetric "inos" are undTS consideration as candidates for the "missing mass" in the universe. The promise of all these theo- ries, in their increasing success in accounting for ever-larger do- mains, and in their accomplishing that while removing or remaining free of problems of Type IV, is enhanced by the fact that it is at least arguable that none of the problems of the theories (or at least some versions of the theories) can be said with assurance at the pre- sent stage to be any more than Problems of Incompleteness. While they may turn ou 4to be Problems of Incorrectness, they are not yet known to be such. (Minimal SU(5) does appear to be ruled out by proton- decay experiments, but it nevertheless remains the most interesting and in many ways still the most desirable version of the theory.)

    We need not be surprised by the fact that hypotheses or conjec- tures, in the sense I have laid down, play the same roles as does back- ground information in the work of science. After all, what we are trying to do with such hypotheses is to extend our background knowl- edge, to add to and deepen it; and to do so, we allow our hypotheses to imitate background knowledge, to act like knowledge, so to speak, in their uses and applications. But the fact that hypotheses - be- liefs which do not satisfy the stringent requirements of success and freedom from specific and compelling doubt - play the same roles as do beliefs which we take for knowledge - beliefs which do satisfy those criteria - does not contradict the point I made earlier: for the im- portant point remains that, behind those hypotheses themselves and their employment in furthering the work of science, is a background of beliefs which have proved to fulfill those standards to a very high degree, and in terms of which the hypotheses have been formulated and in terms of which they are applied. The great foundational theories of contemporary physics have not been constructed in an intellectual vacuum; their mode of formulation and their plausibility alike (des- pite their problems, some of which were surveyed above) are obtained from a prior background. GUTs and its extension to cosmology applied the idea of symmetry breaking using the Higgs mechanism previously employed in the highly-successful electroweak unification to join the latter theory with the newly functional theory of the strong interac- tion; the electroweak theory and QCD in turn were based on the gauge- theoretic (more specifically, Yang-Mills) approach whose importance became clear with the establishment of the renormalizability of such theories in the early 1970's. That approach itself was developed in the light of a long background including the enormously successful theory of quantum electrodynamics and the even more central place which group theory, especially Lie groups, had come to play in phys- ical theory. (These developments were by no means unconnected: for example, quantum electrodynamics, with its U(1) symmetry group, served as the basis for a generalization of the gauge concept to Lie groups of any sort, Abelian or non-Abelian. Again, it provided the basis for the construction and interpretation of the deep inelastic electron scattering experiments which, together with similar neutrino experi- ments, led to the acceptance of the idea that the proton is made up of quarks.) All these pieces of background traced their pedigrees ulti- mately to quantum mechanics and its necessary logical extension through the application thereto of the theory of special relativity, the lat- -ter two theories, at least, particularly when so joined, having proved

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    successful and free of specific and igmpelling reasons for doubt, and thus having the status of knowledge. (That special relativity is known to be valid only insofar as general relativity is not is beside the point: we have the utmost confidence in - no reason to doubt - the applicability of STR under certain circumstances, and we understand precisely when and the extent to which it is not applicable.) The work of science - the effort to extend knowledge by devising and test- ing new hypotheses - has been performed, in these cases, in the light of an ultimate background of beliefs which have shown themselves, at least up to now, free from problems of Types III and IV. The compo- nents of that ultimate background, I will argue, deserve to be called reasons, in a primary sense; but since that background serves as a basis for the construction and consideration of new ideas, methods, etc., whose status as fully acceptable background knowledge has yet to be decided (even though they have already achieved high marks in many respects), but which function in the same ways as does the background knowledge itself, those new ideas can be called "reasons" in a deriva- tive (tentative) but nevertheless legitimate sense.16

    There is another way in which science does not always depend on a background consisting of beliefs satisfying criteria of success and freedom from doubt, or even on ideas derivative from such a background (and still less on ideas which have shown themselves relevant to the subject-matter under consideration.) For that background, or at least the relevant part of that background, might simply be, and frequently in historical situations has been, inadequate to permit science to do its work - inadequate, that is, to serve as a sufficient basis for the selection and description of objects of study, the raising of prob- lems, the formulation of methods by which to approach those attempts, the formulation of expectations regarding what should be expected of an answer to the problems, the formulation of specific hypotheses as answers to the problems, the formulation and gathering of evidence to test those hypotheses, and so forth. There are cases in which such work - the introduction of new ideas which turn out to resolve the problems at hand, for example - is accomplished through appeal to what is external to the established background or at least the relevant es- tablished background. In terms of the view offered by the present pa- per, such considerations cannot - and of course should not, even apart from the viewpoint developed here - be counted as "reasons". Never- theless, such cases tend to be found in what are clearly unsophistica- ted (and usually early) historical cases. The point - and it is a point that is impossible to deny - is that science has, through its accumulated background of successful and doubt-free beliefs, become more and more able to rely on that background (and even, more specif- ically, on the relevant background), the latter havin 7become more and more nearly sufficient for doing the work of science. The very fact that it has become so has itself provided grounds for the insistence that science should rely solely on such background beliefs (and more particularly on relevant background beliefs) whenever it is able, and that it1,hould attempt to increase the sufficiency of that back- ground.

    And so we can say in summary of the preceding discussion that sci- ence employs, or rather attempts to employ whenever it is able, only background beliefs which have shown themselves to be successful and free from reasons for doubt in the senses I have outlined, and hence

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    to have the status of knowledge, of not being open to question at pre- sent, there being no reason to question tlhm, even though they might become subject to question in the future. Or in terms of the issues raised earlier in the present paper, although it is true that a back- ground of beliefs plays the role of "presuppositions" in specific sci- entific problem-situations, nevertheless, in order to be a legitimate piece of background information - in order to serve as a legitimate scientific presupposition - a belief must satisfy the criteria of suc- cess and freedom from specific and compelling doubt (and also of rele- vance to the specific situation - to the domain or theory in question, a point which will be discussed further shortly). What must now be shown is the connection of these points with the ideas of the ration- ality and objectivity of science.

    4. Internalization of Criteria and the Dynamics of Scientific Change

    The course of the history of science, at least in more modern times - at least, that is, since the inception of the piecemeal approach to the search for knowledge - must be understood in terms of the goal of becoming able to use as background information only those beliefs which have shown themselves successful, free from specific doubt, and relevant to the subject-matter to which they are applied.

    Early domains of investigation were necessarily those of common, everyday classifications, based on considerations such as sensory similarities, use, place of discovery of a substance, and the like. Views of what the problems concerning those classifications were, of the methods by which those problems were to be approached, and of what sorts of answers to try to provide (especially in the case of problems demanding an "account") were similarly based on prevailing views, of which there were many contradicting one another, with few having any clear advantage over their competitors; and all were ill-formulated and vague. What was and was not relevant to the classifications and the attempt to deal with them was obscure. Thus, in early Greek thought, the informal, tacit, common-sense quality and vagueness of classifications, ideas of what it is to understand (hardly more defi- nite among the Milesians than that understanding should show nature not to be capricious), and so forth, all show the extent to which those constraints were so loose that they (and the piecemeal approach it- self) can hardly be said to have been present. (How and why they can be said to have been present in any sense at all will be suggested at the end of this paper.) There was no clear limit as to what if any- thing might be relevant (or irrelevant), or what it was that was to be accounted for in experience. (The Ionian philosophers knew no bounds on what their theories were supposed to explain or on how those theo- ries were to explain.) Even more careful classifications, for example those of Aristotle, Theophrastus, and their medieval successors, in- cluding particularly the alchemists, tended to be based on rather su- perficial sensory similarities. So, too, did the domains available to those employing the piecemeal approach in the sixteenth and seven- teenth centuries.

    But nature does not come to us neatly and obviously packaged into unalterable areas for investigation. In the course of inquiry, espe- cially with widespread adoption of the piecemeal approach (and other newly-ubiquitous approaches - see Note 3), we have found it necessary,

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    time and again, to alter those areas in fundamental respects. Domains came more and more to be formulated in the light of accumulated knowl- edge - that is, of prior ideas which had proved successful, doubt- free, and relevant to the domain being investigated, and which them- selves led to changes in such ideas. Domains were reconstituted and restructured, old bases of classification coming to be seen as super- ficial, other bases formerly seen as superficial, or new ones not known before, coming to be seen as of fundamental importance. Associ- ations of items current at a given time became subject to criticism, and often had to be revised. Old domains were split ("salts"; argu- ments about the unity of the subject of "electricity" in the eigh- teenth and early nineteenth centuries), items of experience and belief rejoined into new domains (electricity and magnetism, and the subse- quent history of the interpretation of the electromagnetic spectrum), entirely new ones formed (halogens; M-type stars - and note the later split of that domain into "giants" and "dwarfs"; leptons and hadrons). What were formerly considered bases of classification (shininess, col- or, crystalline form) came to be dismissed as superficial, and other bases, previously considered superficial or not noticed or known at all, became fundamental (valency, spin, strangeness). And as the do- mains of scientific investigation - the divisions of labor of the piecemeal approach to the knowledge-seeking enterprise - were thus shifted and altered, so also were the items making them up recon- ceived, reinterpreted, and, in many cases, renamed and redescribed (revision of language of chemistry by Lavoisier and his associates to reflect composition of material substances out of elements; reconcep- tion of leptons as being characterized fundamentally not in terms of low mass, but rather in terms of their non-participation in the strong interactions and later in terms of their not possessing color charge.) Finally, the accumulation of knowledge which led to these changes in domain structure and conception also led to alterations, sometimes profound, in other parts of the fabric of science. The problems asso- ciated with particular domains of course became altered with the pro- found alterations of domains; but also what was expected of answers to the problems underwent revision (recall the history of expectations, or demands, that scientific explanations in any domain of inquiry were unsatisfactory unless they were "mechanical" and deterministic, or Lo- rentz invariant, or gauge invariant). The very goals of science al- tered: seventeenth and eighteenth century chemistry passed gradually from a goal of perfecting matter to one of understanding material sub- stances in terms of their constituent parts, the arrangements of those parts, and whatever it is that holds those parts together - that "com- positionalist" goal itself having been altered in profound ways in the succeeding centuries.

    Our ideas of "success", in the restricted sense of this paper, par- ticipate in these changes on two levels. Not only do the specific do- mains of scientific inquiry - the specific bodies of information whose explanation determines the success of particular theories - undergo alteration in the light of new information; the more general criterion of "success" of a scientific account as "accounting for all (and only) the items of its domain" is itself the product of a historical process and has itself undergone alteration as a result of inquiry. For it was only with the ascendancy of the piecemeal approach to inquiry - the widespread adoption of that approach because its associated crite- rion of success proved fulfillable - that that general criterion was

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    selected from a plethora of pre-existing ideas (mostly rather vague and unform6ated) to be the general criterion of success of a scientif- ic theory. And that general criterion has undergone evolution since it has turned out, as a matter of fact, that through the piece- meal approach precision in accounting for domains, and also unifica- tion of domains and their accounts, can be achieved. (The general criterion has also been altered by such developments as the discovery that the laws of fundamental theories are probabilistic rather than deterministic.) Furthermore, this evolution on the more general level has been a product of the same processes that lead to alterations of the domains which constitute the specific conditions that must be ful- filled (items to be accounted for) if an account is to be successful: the changes on both levels result from the recasting of the body of accepted (successful and doubt-free) beliefs. Appropriately similar remarks can be made about the evolution of standards of freedom from doubt, both on the general level of freedom from the appropriate sorts of problems of Type IV (Problems of Theoretical Adequacy) and on the specific level of such problems as shaped by the existing body of background beliefs governing the sorts of accounts supposed to be the right sorts to construct: again, the changes are brought about by changes in the body of accepted (successful and doubt-free) beliefs.

    That body of beliefs itself changes, partly as a result of new ob- servations and partly of new accounts. But what counts as an obser- vation, and also the conditions of adequacy of an account, are shaped partly in the light of antecedent criteria of success and freedom from doubt. There is thus a continuing dynamic interplay between ideas or criteria of success, and freedom from doubt (both on a general and a specific level) on the one hand, and the body of beliefs which are ac- cepted as satisfying those criteria on the other, alterations in each producing changes in the others. Conclusions about what beliefs to accept come to be decided on the basis of success and freedom from (specific) doubt; criteria and specifications of criteria of the lat- ter two come to be decided in terms of prior accepted beliefs.

    Through this dynamic interplay, criteria of success - conceptions of what it is for an idea or theory to be successful - and freedom from doubt (and hence criteria of adequacy) have passed from being science-transcendent to being interlocked with scientific belief, themselves both guiding the knowledge-seeking enterprise and guided by its results - helping to set goals which, when achieved, may lead to the revision of those goals and the criteria themselves which set them. To give a name to the process, those criteria have been inter- nalized into the scientific process, becoming subject to the very pro- cedures of revision or rejection which they themselves helped define. It is a process by which science strives to eliminate, and has shown itself time and again successful in eliminating, distinctions of "lev- els" of its activities - between levels of "metascience" and "sci- ence", methodology and substantive belief, criteria and thought, rules and activity, to bring all aspects of its enterprise to the possibility of test.

    It is through this process of internalization that any a priori status with which those criteria or conceptions (or indeed any other conceptions) may originally have been invested is shed. If such cri- teria as those of success and freedom from doubt did indeed irrevoc-

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    ably transcend scientific processes and results, being independent of and presupposed by them, then those criteria would require warrant other than scientific. But the failures of the transcendentalist tra- dition to provide such warrant or even clarity for their claimed cri- teria ought by now to be evident (Shapere 1980). And in any case, the repeated efforts to demonstrate that such claimed criteria necessarily impose themselves on scientific thought, or even on human thought gen- erally, have been shown to be misguided by the equally-often repeated rejection of such claims in the history of science. On the other hand, the gradual incorporation of criteria of success and freedom from doubt (as well as other such standards) into the scientific pro- cess itself has led to the possibility of revising, rejecting, or re- placing such standards, those alterations being made in accordance with the dictates of the standards themselves. If for didactic pur- poses I may use a distinction which this paper implicitly recasts in a radical way, science strives - has learned to strive - to bring into the open its most fundamental presuppositions, both substantive (e.g., that space is nothingness; that to exist an entity must possess defi- nite values of all its state-variables simultaneously; that mirror- image symmetry must hold for all entities and processes) and methodo- logical (e. that explanation requires deterministic theories as goals; that philosophical doubts are legitimate reasons for rejecting a theory). Once it has brought them into the open, science strives to internalize them: where feasible, to make them integral parts of the scientific enterprise, subject to test like any other belief. And even when it fails immediately to internalize an alleged a priori claim, the depths of change in science, which can only rarely be anti- cipated, at least in its present state, may yet ultimately bring that claim within the scope of scientific testing, and science will make every effort to do so. If for that reason alone (and there are others also), no transcendental argument can establish the unalterably a priori status of any claim, and thus the impossibility of that claim one day being internalized and even rejected.

    Thus, based on prior suppositions (including criteria of success and freedom from doubt), the process of internalization can lead, and has led, to new views which can give rise to revision of those very suppositions themselves. But the result has not been merely revision of standards such as those of success and freedom from doubt; on the whole if not always in particular cases, but increasingly with increas- ing sophistication of science, the process has made possible revision of standards based on their criticism, and hence refinement, in the light of results arrived at through their own application. Standards - in particular for present purposes, ones concerning what to aim at (including criteria of "success", both on the general level and the level of specific items which must be accounted for, and also criteria of what sorts of accounts to seek) and what to worry about (criteria concerning "reasons for doubt") - have led to new results: better un- derstanding, in the light of our standards, of how to divide nature into areas for investigation, how to describe those domains, what kinds of questions to ask about them and what sorts of answers to look for, and so forth; and those results have in turn brought forth re- finement of the standards themselves. Such refinement has, further- more, gone hand-in-hand with a continually-growing fulfillment of the successively-refined aims themselves: the revision of standards has made possible a greater success (in the broad sense that includes not

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    only accounting for domains but also doing so "adequately") in achiev- ing success by science.

    The process of revision, being one of criticism and refinement in the light of discoveries produced by application of the standards themselves, thus makes it possible for standards and beliefs about the universe to reinforce one another. The self-corrective character of science which used to be so extolled, but which has been largely for- gotten in contemporary philosophy of science, is therefore deeply im- portant after all - except that the self-correctiveness is no longer to be seen as limited, as it used to be, to overt claims about the way things are, but extends also to the very standards (criteria) and meth- ods by which science proceeds.21 It is this contingently-realized process of refining and altering standards that counters the danger of vicious circularity in a process in which criteria of success and freedom from doubt are subject to revision in the light of the very results to which they lead. Far from resulting in a vicious circle, the process of internalization and the interplay which it makes pos- sible between criteria of various sorts and substantive beliefs about the world, is one of mutual reinforcement, of "lifting oneself by the bootstraps".

    That the piecemeal approach to the attempt to understand nature has been possible at all; that it has proved possible to accompany it by a process of internalization which has permitted revision, criticism, refinement and self-correction of both substantive beliefs and stan- dards, as well as greater and greater fulfillment of those standards as they have been revised and refined; and that through the piecemeal ap- proach and the process of internalization we have been able to achieve greater and greater coherence and unity of understanding (a coherence and unity which the piecemeal approach initially eschewed) - all this is a matter of contingent fact. But science has managed such achieve- ments, indeed as no other human enterprise making knowledge-claims has been able to do; and the very success of that piecemeal approach and that process of internalization has led to the establishment of an ideal, a normative principle for science - an ideal or normative prin- ciple established precisely because it has been fulfilled to a very high degree, even if not completely. That ideal is that, to be le- gitimately employable as a background belief for further developments in science, a belief must satisfy the stringent conditions of success and freedom from doubt that have evolved with the piecemeal approach to inquiry into nature, and of relevance which results in the inter- nalization of all aspects of the enterprise of such inquiry.

    5. "Reason" and "Objectivity" in Scientific and Everyday Argument

    It remains to be shown how these constraints are related to more everyday concepts of "reason" and of "objectivity". To do this, let us note that it is a commonplace in everyday argument about factual matters to dismiss an adversary's point by saying that it is off the subject, or that it is irrelevant to that subject: "That has nothing to do with the subject under discussion; stick to that subject and whatever else is clearly relevant to it!" This common point reveals a central aspect of the concept of "(a) reason": for we see that, in such everyday disputes or decisions, whether a consideration counts as a reason for accepting one side or another depends crucially, first,

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    on there being a subject-matter which the argument is about, and sec- ond, on there being other information relevant to that subject-matter. And furthermore, since the characteristics and boundaries of that sub- ject-matter, and the relevance thereto of proposed considerations, can themselves be subject to debate, it follows that whether a given con- sideration counts as a "reason" depends crucially on how definitively the subject-matter can be formulated, and how clearly the relevance of proposed considerations can be established. However far science has departed from everyday thinking, these features of the everyday notion of "a reason" in the case of factual disputes or decisions have their descendants in modern science; and that line of descent provides a key to understanding the sense in which, and the extent to which, modern science is "rational" and "objective" in its procedures and its con- clusions. For the ideas of "domain" and "background information" cor- respond respectively to the notions of "subject-matter" and "other in- formation relevant thereto" which appear in the everyday notion of a reason which I have just described: the former are the descendants, respectively, of the latter; and the formation of domains and back- ground information together thus constitute at least an important part of the development of the rationality of science. More specifically, the development of science consists (in part only, of course) in a gradual discovery, sharpening, and organization of relevance-rela- tions, and hence in a gradual separation of the objects of its inves- tigations and what is directly relevant thereto from what is irrelevant to those investigations: a gradual demarcation, that is, of the scien- tific from the non-scientific. In that development, science aims at becoming, as far as possible, autonomous, self-sufficient, in its or- ganization, description, and treatment of its subject-matter - at be- coming able to delineate its domains of investigation and the back- ground information relevant thereto, to formulate its problems, to lay out methods of approaching those problems, to determine the character of possible and acceptable answers to those problems (and in particu- lar of accounts of its domains) all in terms solely of the domain un- der consideration and the other successful and doubt-free beliefs (background information) which have been found to be relevant to that domain; that is, to make its reasoning in all respects wholly self-- sufficient. To the extent that science has become able to rely solely on its subject-matters and relevant "background information" alone, without appeal to "outside", "external" considerations - to the ex- tent, that is, that science has been able to internalize the consider- ations on which it relies - to that extent it has become rational.

    And so the very notion of the rationality of science, as that no- tion has developed, depends on the clearness of delineation of its subject-matters and of the background information relevant thereto, and on the degree to which that background information satisfies con- ditions of success, freedom from doubt, and relevance to the subject- matter being considered. Science has become - has been, as a matter of contingent fact, able to become - more and more rational, the more it has learned (the more beliefs it has accumulated that have proved successful, doubt-free, and relevant): the process of learning about the world has simultaneously been one of learning how to think and how to learn about nature, as well as of learning about it. In this pro- cess, the dependence on background information is not to be feared or regretted: on the contrary, it is through the accumulation of success- ful and doubt-free beliefs, and more especially through the use of

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    such beliefs as background information for obtaining new knowledge, that science builds on what it has learned. The knowledge-seeking en- terprise is "rational" because it does this; and its results are ra- tional because they are built on this basis, and not on arbitrary presuppositions .22

    6. The Roots of Rationality and Objectivity

    At the beginning of this essay, we saw how older views, fearful that any employment of presuppositions in scientific observation or thought would lead to subjectivity and irrationalism, sought to con- strue objectivity and rationality in the vacuum of a complete purity from any such background. We have seen that such fears are ground- less: the concepts of rationality and objectivity, far from being in- compatible with the employment of background beliefs, are intimately and inextricably bound with such employment, so long as those back- ground beliefs satisfy certain constraints which themselves have been developed in the course of scientific history, and which, because they have proved so fulfillable, have been adopted as goals or ideals, to be satisfied as fully as possible in any scientific situation, even while remaining subject to further alteration or rejection in the light of new findings. I have tried to show that such a view is co- herent, in that it does not involve any vicious circle; that it makes sense of the development of science, in that it enables us to under- stand what science counts as "reasons", and how such reasoning has enabled it to progress; and that it accords with one major aspect of everyday concepts of "reason" and "objectivity', so that, in certain important respects, the concepts of scientific rationality and objec- tivity are rational descendants of those everyday concepts.

    Those everyday concepts themselves have deeper roots in the human condition. For in childhood as in history, we find ourselves having experiences, some associated in repatitive patterns, some of which we come to think of as "things" or "objects". And we find that those ob- jects have properties other tha.i those we are experiencing at any giv- en time, and some that we only discover after long contact with them. Similarly, we find that some of the properties we attribute to them they do not have. We thus begin to think of objects as having an ex- istence independent of us, and of having characteristics of which we are not aware. Since those objects affect us, it is only natural that we should either fear their unpredictability or (perhaps partly be- cause of that fear, though often through curiosity) try to learn more about them - even though, where the latter course is taken, we may not initially know how to "learn" about them, or what the results of such learning may be like. But there is nevertheless something, however vague and even empty, in that inquisitiveness or need that involves a search for success in understanding (and perhaps in control), and also in assurance (freedom from doubt - here, in the form of freedom from uncertainty). Here, then, are to be found the ultimate sources of our ideas of "reason" and "truth", and also - what is even more important for the attempt to understand the knowledge-seeking enterprise, though it cannot be discussed here - the deepest sources of the relationship between those ideas.

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    I speak of "science", rather than of "scientists", as "observing nature" and "deriving or justifying its conclusions" advisedly. The content of the science of a given epoch, and the implications of that content, may or may not be grasped adequately (or even at all) by in- dividual scientists of that epoch, or even by any of them; and the same may be said of the criteria or standards of that epoch and their application by scientists. We are concerned here with what constitute scientific reasons, and therefore with relations between scientific beliefs and with relations between those beliefs and the standards or criteria governing them, rather than with the understanding and appli- cation of those beliefs and standards by scientists. That is, we are concerned with science rather than with scientists: with what is "in" the science of the epoch concerned to be used, and what ought to be used. (Shapere 1977, pp. 500-503; 194-197 in Shapere 1983).

    2Further details of the view to be outlined here are given in the essays included in Shapere (1983), (1982b), and (1985).

    3This piecemeal approach to inquiry about nature was not the only important innovation of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. Among others were the following: the use of idealizations and other forms of "conceptual devices" (Shapere (1969)), in which some features of the situation being investigated were ignored; the appeal to obser- vation and experiment; and the idea that mathematics could provide a~ key to full understanding of natural events. (This latter idea was opposed to the Platonic view that, while mathematics is necessary for understanding of "the realm of change", its fit to nature is limited by the intrinsic vagueness of nature. It also was a denial of the Aristotelian view according to which mathematical knowledge cannot be knowledge of "essences" except in the case of beings consisting of form without matter.) Still another innovation at this level of im- portance, associated to a considerable extent with the introduction of the mathematical approach, was the idea that all phenomena of experi- ence (and of nature generally) can be accounted for with complete pre- cision. (This idea opposed the view of the Timaeus and other Platonic writings that the world open to sense-experience is intrinsically vague, not describable accurately or precisely in terms of any "form".) A final example was the triumph, in the eighteenth century, of what I have called the "compositionalist approach to explanation", according to which material substances are to be understood in terms of their constituent parts, the arrangement of those parts, and the forces holding those parts together [Shapere (1974a)].

    In speaking of these approaches as seventeenth- and eighteenth- century "innovations", I of course do not mean to imply that they did not have long background histories. They all did: isolated instances of piecemeal approaches, for example, can be found interspersed throughout the ancient and medieval periods. Nevertheless, in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries (beginning with their advocacy, in one respect and to one degree or another, by Galileo and Kepler), the four mentioned innovations ultimately came to dominate the search for knowledge of nature. It should also be recognized that the ap- proaches which these "innovations" opposed did not die out completely even after the enormous successes of the latter - witness the persis- tence of holistic approaches among the writings of philosophers.

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    A fuller treatment of these four innovations would note certain qualifications concerning their importance in the beginnings of modern science; but those cannot be discussed here. It is furthermore neces- sary to remember that innovations of comparable significance for the question of the "rationality" and "objectivity" of science have been introduced or become centrally important at other periods, both before and after, as well as during, the seventeenth and eighteenth centur- ies. Full understanding of the ways in which the scientific enter- prise can be said to be "objective" and "rational" requires recogni- tion of the roles played by those other innovations also. Finally, the "innovations" I have mentioned here have undergone profound revi- sion over the past two centuries, and especially in the present one (general character of what can legitimately be considered "mathemati- cal", as well as the specific sorts of mathematics that may be em- ployed; what is to be counted as "precision"; what can be counted as an "experiment" or "observation" - for the latter, see Shapere (1982b).

    4In the case of the science of a given epoch, such categories as "object", "event", and "property" may or may not be appropriate or useful for characterizing the prevailing fundamental ontology. Such categories, too, are in principle subject to revision in the light of what we learn in our study of nature, for nature does not have to con- form to the categories of everyday human thought and experience - nor, as we have found in the actual process of learning about nature (rath- er than through logical analysis), does the knowledge we are able to gain about it. To gain some measure of neutrality with respect to categories, I generally prefer the rather bland and non-committal term "items".

    5But it must be remembered that other sorts of problems arise through the incorporation into science of profoundly significant ap- proaches other than the piecemeal (domains) approach - see Note 3, above. The architectonic of problems outlined here is that generated by adoption of the piecemeal approach alone.

    6Requirement (ii) arose in science for reasons in addition to, and partly independent of, ones connected simply with the piecemeal or do- mains approach, but is interjected here for the sake of greater com- pleteness.

    In this connection, it should be remembered that whether a certain alleged problem is in fact a problem is a hypothesis which may turn out to be wrong. That there was something deeper to be understood ab- out renormalization, rather than its being simply a mathematical de- vice for making quantum electrodynamics work, was always a hypothesis. It was of course not a piece of mere groundless speculation: it gained at least some appeal in, for example, the sleight-of-hand character of the procedure, as well as - later, in connection with other quantum field theories - in the existence of mathematical techniques (lattice gauge theories) which might ultimately prove as effective as perturba- tion theory for dealing with problems in such theories (assuming that the infinities with which renormalization is concerned arise because of the employment of perturbation theory). For a recent assessment of the role and interpretation of renormalization, with special attention to the strong interactions, see Gross (1982).

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    8A fuller discussion of conditions of adequacy of an account, by bringing out hitherto-ignored aspects of what is involved in "explana- tion" in science, would make it possible to see what is truly involved in that activity and its results. In addition, such a discussion would show that, although in any particular investigative situation the success of a past belief is certainly important in determining whether it can serve as background information, its freedom from doubt plays a more fundamental role in choosing what I will shortly call the background basis. (Herein lies the real role, as well as the limita- tions of the role, of "falsifiability" in science.) Success, on the other hand, while playing an important role in the latter choice, plays a more central role in what I will in the coming discussion call the "work" of science. These different roles of "freedom from doubt" and "success" stem from deep connections between the concepts of "rea- son" and "truth", the latter being beyond the scope of this essay.

    9For example, even where the background beliefs employed in a par- ticular situation satisfy the conditions of success and freedom from doubt (freedom from problems of Type III and from problems of Type IV which count as reasons for doubt), there is still a further class of potential problems concerning the relevance of that background infor- mation to the situation at hand.

    It is sometimes convenient to refer to a theory's protracted fail- ure to achieve success (i.e., to remove problems of Type III - to ac- count fully and well for its domain) as a "reason for doubt" of a the- ory. In such cases, the expression "reason for doubt" will of course not be limited to the relevant problems of Type IV. This need not cause any confusion, however, as long as the roles of the problems involved are kept clear.

    Readers may wonder why problems of Types I and II have not entered into my discussion: isn-t it "rational" also to "check the facts", and to ask whether the "theoretical problem" is rightly conceived? The answer is of course affirmative; but these questions, problems of Types I and II, are resolved in the light of background information - the kind of beliefs which are not subject to problems of Types III and IV. (Domains are structured, and theoretical problems raised in their specific forms, in the light of background beliefs which have proved successful and doubt-free.) Hence the topic of "reason" can be dealt with solely in terms of problems of Types III and IV.

    '0In such cases, however, science attempts to explain why the theory can be thus successful: it tries, that is, to show that the "theory" is really a conceptual device - that, in other words, (a) there are reasons to believe that things cannot be the way the theory says, but (b) it is possible, under specifiable circumstances, to treat them as if they were that way and to obtain results which are usable within tTe requirements of the experiment or calculation under consideration; and (c) it is convenient (e.g., simpler) to so treat them. The "rea- sons" referred to under (a) come from the accepted beliefs of the sci- ence of the time - the relevant "background information". In short, the theory can no longer be said to provide an "account" of its domain in the sense in which it would if there were not such doubts that things could be "that way", but is spoken of as an "idealization", a "model", a "simplification", a "fiction", or an "approximation", or in similar terms. (The issue is not, of course, one of how people would speak, but of real distinctions of roles which may or may not be re-

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    flected in the philosophically-abused language used in talking about science.) Of course, it is only in "best cases" that science is able to determine explicitly and fully whether conditions (a)-(c) hold; its knowledge may be too incomplete to enable it to do so. Note that, on this view, whether a certain idea or theory is an idealization (or, more generally, a conceptual device) depends on prior beliefs, and its status may change with change of beliefs (and, in particular, with in- creasing knowledge). For further details, see Shapere (1969).

    Besides the distinction between Problems of Incompleteness and Prob- lems of Incorrectness, there are also other ways in which the above discussion of types of scientific problems must be supplemented. For example, one must recognize a distinction between reasons for doubt of which we are aware and reasons for doubt which exist in current science (independently of whether or not we are aware of them). (See Note 1, above.) This distinction cuts across the distinction between the four types of problems discussed above, and hence also that be- tween Problems of Incompleteness and Incorrectness.

    "1There can be other background beliefs than what are naturally called "theories", but for the sake of simplicity in the present paper, I will concentrate only on the latter.

    12Though the recurrent qualification that doubts must be specific is peripheral to the present topic, it must nevertheless be emphasized. Specific doubts are ones directed against specific propositions and not others. These must be distinguished from philosophical or univer- sal doubts, which are directed against any proposition whatever, both against the proposition and its negation. (Examples: a demon may be deceiving me; I may be dreaming; I may be a brain in a vat.) The latter sorts of "doubts", we have learned through actually engaging in the knowledge-seeking and knowledge-acquiring enterprise, do not play any role in that enterprise (and, in particular, in science). In oth- er words, when we have no specific reason to doubt a particular propo- sition, we a fortiori have no reason not to consider it knowledge.

    In describing the constraints on legitimate scientific background information, I have in effect described the functions of the term ~knowledge in science (and, I would argue, in everyday affairs also, insofar as the "knowledge" in question concerns claims about the way things are). That is how the word 'knowledge- plays a working role, and no further considerations ("semantic", "metaphysical") need be appealed to in explaining its usage. (Cf. Shapere (1982a).)

    13For a recent review of GUTs theories, their background and compo- nents, and their extensions, see Ramond (1983). Many foundational papers on GUTs and its application to cosmology are collected in Zee (1982).

    14That science generally tries to employ hypotheses which are, as far as we know, subject only to what can be argued to be Problems of Incompleteness does not mean that those hypotheses are not subject to "reasons for doubt" in the sense I have laid out. For it still re- mains, for many of the problems, at least something of an open ques- tion (and often more than that) as to whether it really is only a Problem of Incompleteness or whether it may yet turn out to be one of Incorrectness.

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    Although the hypotheses considered seriously by science are gener- ally ones which are free of Problems of Incorrectness, this is not al- ways the case: remember Einstein's quantum hypothesis for light, which for two decades after its introduction in 1905 seemed to nearly every- one to be contradicted by the vast amount of evidence favoring the continuous theory of light). The fact that Einstein's hypothesis was ignored by the physics community for nearly two decades is of course consistent with the thesis that only hypotheses which are arguably open only to Problems of Incompleteness should be taken seriously. But Einstein, in his 1905 paper on the photoelectric effect, presented arguments to that effect which ought to have been taken more seriously than they in fact were. There were in fact what could have amounted to Problems of Incorrectness in Bohr's 1913 quantum theory: its con- tradiction of classical physics. The successes of that theory, how- ever, were too patent to ignore.

    15In addition, in considering this "background knowledge", we need to recall a further vast body of relevant well-founded belief, some of it providing background for the formulation of the new theories, some providing doubt-free domain information for the new physical theories. This further body includes, among much else: the theory of the struc- ture and evolution of the stars and their energy production (and hence of the evolution of the chemical elements), the expansion of the uni- verse, the structure and interactions of atoms, and a host of other information which also has proved (at least in many aspects) suc- cessful and doubt-free, and thus having the status of knowledge.

    That an idea fulfills conditions of success and freedom from doubt does not mean that it need not continue to be tested, although the priority of such testing does drop for ideas which fulfill those con- ditions. The solar neutrino experiment should serve as a warning that observational testing even of the best-established theories is not to be neglected.

    16It must also be kept in mind that the body of beliefs satisfying the criteria of success and freedom from doubt consists only of poten- tial reasons; to constitute a reason which may be appealed to in spe- cific investigations, the potential reason must also be shown, on the ultimate basis of successful a