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Posted: September 4th, 2023

PhilSciMidInfo2sec1 1.The “political” nature of science

PhilSciMidInfo2sec1 1.The “political” nature of science 2.Feminist or “standpoint” epistemology 3.Naturalism 4.The “theory-ladenness of observation” 5.Scientific realism 6.Instrumentalism 7.Probability theory (and what it is for, how it works [no need to know the equation itself])) The Covering Law model of explanation 8.Unification theory 9.The “Enlightenment Project” 10.Why social explanation is considered, in some ways, similar to the Covering Law model Top-down vs. bottom-up explanation strategies 11.The difference between “explanation” and “understanding” in the social sciences Decision theory, rational choice, and the prisoner’s dilemma
The “political” nature of science refers to the idea that scientific knowledge is not neutral, but rather influenced by societal and political factors, such as funding, cultural values, and power dynamics.

Feminist or “standpoint” epistemology is a perspective that recognizes the importance of considering the social and cultural context in which scientific knowledge is produced, and the potential for bias and inequality in the scientific process.

Naturalism is a philosophical position that holds that the natural world is all that exists, and that scientific methods are the best means of understanding it.

The “theory-ladenness of observation” is the idea that our observations are not objective or neutral, but are influenced by our prior knowledge, beliefs, and theories.

Scientific realism is the view that scientific theories accurately represent reality, and that the entities and processes described by science actually exist.

Instrumentalism is the view that scientific theories are simply tools for predicting and controlling phenomena, and need not reflect objective reality.

Probability theory is a branch of mathematics that deals with the analysis of random events and the likelihood of their occurrence. It is used extensively in statistical inference and decision making.

The Covering Law model of explanation is a scientific model that seeks to explain a particular phenomenon by identifying a set of general laws that, when combined, can account for the phenomenon.

Unification theory is the idea that all scientific knowledge can ultimately be reduced to a single, unified framework.

Social explanation is considered similar to the Covering Law model in that it seeks to identify general laws or patterns that can explain social phenomena, such as cultural trends or economic behavior.

Top-down vs. bottom-up explanation strategies refer to the different ways in which scientists and researchers approach the task of explaining complex phenomena. Top-down strategies begin with broad, general principles and work downward to specific details, while bottom-up strategies start with specific details and work upward to identify more general patterns.

“Explanation” and “understanding” are distinct concepts in the social sciences. Explanation seeks to identify the causes or mechanisms that produce a particular phenomenon, while understanding involves grasping the meaning or significance of the phenomenon in its social context.

Decision theory, rational choice, and the prisoner’s dilemma are concepts that relate to the study of how individuals make choices and decisions, particularly in social and economic contexts. Rational choice theory holds that individuals make decisions based on a rational calculation of the costs and benefits involved, while the prisoner’s dilemma is a scenario in which individuals may be inclined to act in ways that are not rational or optimal for themselves or society as a whole.

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