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A New Functional Approach to Scientific Progress

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  01 January 2022


This article develops and defends a new functional approach to scientific progress. I begin with a review of the problems of the traditional functional approach. Then I propose a new functional account of scientific progress, in which scientific progress is defined in terms of usefulness of problem defining and problem solving. I illustrate and defend my account by applying it to the history of genetics. Finally, I highlight the advantages of my new functional approach over the epistemic and semantic approaches and dismiss some potential objections to my approach.

Research Article
Copyright © The Philosophy of Science Association

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I would like to thank Jonathon Hricko and two anonymous reviewers for the helpful comments.


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