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Molly Kao – Discovery and Justification: Refining the Context Distinction

The McGill History and Philosophy of Science Lunchtime Talk series is pleased to present:

Molly Kao (Département de philosophie, Université de Montréal)
Discovery and Justification: Refining the Context Distinction
The "context of discovery" of a scientific theory is traditionally contrasted with the "context of justification" in order to distinguish between processes that contribute to the evidential justification of a theory, and those that lead to its discovery. While most authors agree that a chronological division of a theory’s development into such stages is unacceptable, there is debate on the proper characterization and philosophical significance of the distinction. I will argue that the two contexts are even more enmeshed than is generally recognized by showing how one particular example of theory development – Millikan’s studies of the photoelectric effect – can be interpreted as being an example of both "discovery" and "justification." I argue that we can maintain the distinction between the two contexts by relativizing to a specified domain, and I make some suggestions as to why it might be useful to do so.
Thursday, October 5th, 12-2pm, McGill University, Leacock 927. Free pizza will be served at 11:45 AM.

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