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The emergence of scientific understanding in current ecological research practice

Poliseli, Luana (2020) The emergence of scientific understanding in current ecological research practice. [Preprint]

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Abstract

Scientific understanding as a subject of inquiry has become widely discussed in philosophy of science
and is often addressed through case studies from history of science. Even though these historical reconstructions
engage with details of scientific practice, they usually provide only limited information about the gradual
formation of understanding in ongoing processes of model and theory construction. Based on a qualitative
ethnographic study of an ecological research project, this article shifts attention from understanding in the
context of historical case studies to evidence of current case studies. By taking de Regt's (2017) contextual
theory of scientific understanding into the field, it confirms core tenets of the contextual theory (e.g. the crucial
role of visualization and visualizability) suggesting a normative character with respect to scientific activities.
However, the case study also shows the limitations of de Regt's latest version of this theory as an attempt to
explain the development of understanding in current practice. This article provides a model representing the
emergence of scientific understanding that exposes main features of scientific understanding such as its gradual
formation, its relation to skills and imagination, and its capacity for knowledge selectivity. The ethnographic
evidence presented here supports the claim that something unique can be learned by looking into ongoing
research practices that can’t be gained by studying historical case studies.


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Item Type: Preprint
Creators:
CreatorsEmailORCID
Poliseli, Luanaluapoliseliramos@gmail.com
Keywords: philosophy of science in practice, model building, visualization, skills, imagination, knowledge selectivity.
Subjects: Specific Sciences > Biology
Specific Sciences > Biology > Ecology/Conservation
General Issues > Explanation
General Issues > Models and Idealization
General Issues > Rhetoric of Science
General Issues > Thought Experiments
Depositing User: dr Luana Poliseli
Date Deposited: 31 Aug 2020 01:01
Last Modified: 31 Aug 2020 01:01
Item ID: 18039
DOI or Unique Handle: https://doi.org/10.1007/s40656-020-00338-7
Subjects: Specific Sciences > Biology
Specific Sciences > Biology > Ecology/Conservation
General Issues > Explanation
General Issues > Models and Idealization
General Issues > Rhetoric of Science
General Issues > Thought Experiments
Date: 2020
URI: https://philsci-archive-dev.library.pitt.edu/id/eprint/18039

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