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The methodology of scientific research programmes. Philosophical papers. Vol. 1. Edited by John Worrall and Gregory Currie

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Abstract

Imre Lakatos' philosophical and scientific papers are published here in two volumes. Volume I brings together his very influential but scattered papers on the philosophy of the physical sciences, and includes one important unpublished essay on the effect of Newton's scientific achievement. Volume II presents his work on the philosophy of mathematics (much of it unpublished), together with some critical essays on contemporary philosophers of science and some famous polemical writings on political and educational issues. Imre Lakatos had an influence out of all proportion to the length of his philosophical career. This collection exhibits and confirms the originality, range and the essential unity of his work. It demonstrates too the force and spirit he brought to every issue with which he engaged, from his most abstract mathematical work to his passionate 'Letter to the director of the LSE'. Lakatos' ideas are now the focus of widespread and increasing interest, and these volumes should make possible for the first time their study as a whole and their proper assessment.

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... Frequentist vs. Bayesian), rather it is a conceptual framework by which to judge the appropriateness of whatever evidential norm. Grounded in Popper (1959), Lakatos (1977) and others, a severe test is difficult to pass and, in case of success, provides evidential support because it could have easily failed. With a nonsevere test, a hypothesis is not sufficiently probed, that is, the test was not capable of finding the "flaws or discrepancies of a hypothesis" (Mayo, 2018). ...
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In a case study, the mechanism of decomposition of diazonium ions in solution is discussed; the reasonable mechanism brought forward in 1940 was not refuted until 1973, in spite of experimental results published in 1952 that were not consistent with the proposed mechanism. A new mechanistic hypothesis, mentioned in the literature in 1973, was in contradiction to the paradigm that nitrogen molecules do not react with organic reagents in solution. After a psychologically explainable crisis the new hypothesis was tested experimentally and the paradigm mentioned was falsified for this case. In the analysis it is shown that Pop-perian logic was commingled with Kuhn’s cycle of normal science, crisis, and revolution, as well as with a psychological barrier. Joint investigations of modern problems by chemists and philosophers of science are encouraged because they may elucidate how progress in scientific discoveries takes place at the present time.
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