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Keith Lehrer

Print publication date: 1990

Print ISBN-13: 9780198248507

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198248507.001.0001

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Consensual Rationality and Scientific Revolution

Consensual Rationality and Scientific Revolution

(p.167) 7 Consensual Rationality and Scientific Revolution

Keith Lehrer

Oxford University Press

Some philosophers and historians of science claim that the acceptance and rejection of scientific theories is underdetermined by experimental results. They conclude that there is no rational method for deciding such matters solely on the basis of empirical information. The acceptance and rejection of scientific theories depends on social influence and is settled by social dominance. There are also those who hold, to the contrary, that the acceptance and rejection of theories in science is based solely on empirical information according to a rational method. There is however another source of empirical information: the opinions of experts. When such social information is properly aggregated, the acceptance and rejection of scientific theories, though underdetermined by experimental results, is fully determined by the total information available.

Keywords:   science, rationality, consensual probability, experiment, theory, information, expertise, consensus, respect, belief

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