Changes in epistemic frameworks: Random or constrained?

Abstract

Since the emergence of a solid anti-positivist approach in the philosophy of science, an important question has been to understand how and why epistemic frameworks change in time, are modified or even substituted. In contemporary philosophy of science three main approaches to framework-change were detected in the humanist tradition:

1. In both the pre-theoretical and theoretical domains changes occur according to a rather constrained, predictable or even pre-determined pattern (e.g. Holton).
2. Changes occur in a way that is more random or unpredictable and free from constraints (e.g. Kuhn, Feyerabend, Rorty, Lyotard).
3. Between these approaches, a middle position can be found, attempting some kind of synthesis (e.g. Popper, Lakatos).

Because this situation calls for clarification and systematisation, this article in fact tried to achieve more clarity on how changes in pre-scientific frameworks occur, as well as provided transcendental criticism of the above positions. This article suggested that the above-mentioned positions are not fully satisfactory, as change and constancy are not sufficiently integrated. An alternative model was suggested in which changes in epistemic frameworks occur according to a pattern, neither completely random nor rigidly constrained, which results in change being dynamic but not arbitrary. This alternative model is integral, rather than dialectical and therefore does not correspond to position three.

 

https://doi.org/10.4102/koers.v77i2.425
HTML
EPUB
XML
PDF
Copyright information
  • Ownership of copyright in terms of the Work remains with the authors.
  • The authors retain the non-exclusive right to do anything they wish with the Work, provided attribution is given to the place and detail of original publication, as set out in the official citation of the Work published in the journal. The retained right specifically includes the right to post the Work on the authors’ or their institutions’ websites or institutional repository.
Publication and user license
  • The authors grant the title owner and the publisher an irrevocable license and first right and perpetual subsequent right to (a) publish, reproduce, distribute, display and store the Work in  any form/medium, (b) to translate the Work into other languages, create adaptations, summaries or extracts of the Work or other derivative works based on the Work and exercise all of the rights set forth in (a) above in such translations, adaptations, summaries, extracts and derivative works, (c) to license others to do any or all of the above, and (d) to register the Digital Object Identifier (DOI) for the Definitive Work.
  • The authors acknowledge and accept the user licence under which the Work will  be published as set out in http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.5/za/legalcode (Creative Commons Attribution License South Africa)
  • The undersigned warrant that they have the authority to license these publication rights and that no portion of the copyright to the Work has been assigned or licensed previously to any other party.

Disclaimer: The publisher, editors and title owner accept no responsibility for any statement made or opinion expressed by any other person in this Work. Consequently, they will not be liable for any loss or damage sustained by any reader as a result of his or her action upon any statement or opinion in this Work. 
In cases where a manuscript is NOT accepted for publication by the editorial board, the portions of this agreement regarding the publishing licensing shall be null and void and the authors will be free to submit this manuscript to any other publication for first publication.

Our copyright policies are author-friendly and protect the rights of our authors and publishing partners.