Abstract

Solomon has made the case, in Social Empicism (2001) for socially naturalized analysis of the dynamics of scientific inquiry that takes seriously two critical insights: that scientific rationality is contingent, disunified, and socially emergent; and that scientific progress is often fostered by factors traditionally regarded as compromising sources of bias. While elements of this framework are widely shared, Solomon intends it to be more resolutely social, more thoroughly naturalizing, and more ambitiously normative than other contextualizing epistemologies currently on offer. Four focal issues are addressed in the commentaries that follow: Solomon's characterization of empirical success as a goal of science (Clough); her distinction between empirical and non-empirical decision vectors and the viability of the multivariate analysis she proposes for assessing epistemic fairness in their distribution (Clough; Richardson); the plausibility of her thesis that normatively appropriate consensus is a (rare) limiting case rather than an intrinsically desirable outcome of inquiry (Oreskes; Richardson); and her conviction that a socially naturalized analysis of science can ground norms of scientific rationality (Longino; Oreskes).

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