Experimentation versus Theory Choice: A Social-epistemological Account

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Weber, Marcel
conference paper description
This paper examines how experimental scientists choose theoretical frameworks as well as their experimental systems for doing research. I start out with Kuhn's claim that there are no (single) algorithms that could determine the coices made by individual scientists. Samir Okasha has recently provided an argument for this claim in terms of social choice theory, which I briefly discuss. Then, I show why this problem is not relevant in an experimental science. There are social mechanisms in place that make sure the community chooses the best framework and a matching experimental system. As historical evidence for this claim, I present the case of classical genetics.