Write a 4-5 page paper (double-spaced) on ONE of the following topics.(I will later on give you the sources for the prompt you choose) Papers will be graded on
the basis of clarity, insight, organization, and depth of argumentation.
- 1) What is Longino’s main aim in her paper “Gender, Politics, and the Theoretical Virtues”? How does she argue in favor of that aim? Among things to think about are the following: Is Longino trying to show that the list of theoretical virtues that Kuhn gives are actually contextual (or pragmatic) virtues rather than (or, perhaps, in addition to) constitutive virtues? Is she trying to show that the list of virtues that feminists have given are actually constitutive (or cognitive) virtues rather than (or, perhaps, in addition to) contextual virtues? Is her main aim to show both of those? Or, rather, is she trying to show that it is unclear which virtues are constitutive and which are contextual? In short, what, exactly is she trying to show and how is she trying to show it?
- 2) Van Fraassen raises doubts about whether an instrument like an optical microscope provides knowledge of the unobservable realm. How are those doubts raised? What do you take to be the best defense of the claim that optical microscopes do provide us with knowledge of things like amoebas? Spell out that defense in detail along with what part of van Fraassen’s considerations you take to be misguided.
- 3) In “The Truth Doesn’t Explain Much,” Cartwright raises challenges for the covering-law model of explanation. What is the main challenge that she raises and how does she argue for it? Does it seem right that there are very few true generalizations that we might use to explain things? Does it seem right that we can and often do explain things anyway? If we do explain things anyway, is it right that we explain things using “ceteris paribus” laws?
- 4) Explain how Bayesianism works as a theory of confirmation. In your view, in what ways does it represent an improvement over Popper’s view that science uses only deduction? What do you take to be its biggest problems? Why don’t those problems make you think that it is not promising?