Larry Laudan, 1941-present

Timeline created by LaneRichardson
  • Progress

    Laudan's earliest views can be seen in his book "Progress and its Problems." In "Progress" he analyzes the methodologies of science and attempts to explain his perspective of how theory develops and works in science. Laudan's theory has many similarities in structure to Lakatos, which is often viewed as an improvement of Lakatos's philosophy. (Godfrey-Smith 108.)
  • Shapere and Scientific Change

    Shapere and Scientific Change
    For a short time, Laudan questioned his perspective on scientific change. After reading a discussion by Dudley Shapere in "The Character of Scientific Change," Laudan questioned his theory's soundness. Shapere argued that theories and methods of science change as new discoveries are made. This concept collided with Laudan's definition of research traditions and how their core, although not unchanging, is relatively stable.
  • Reticulated Model

    Reticulated Model
    Laudan envisioned a model vastly different than his research traditions which he called the reticulated model. In it, he stated that theories and methods of science can change and explained how they do so rationally. He claims that science changes because there are multiple reasons someone may want to pursue a theory other than to study nature.
  • Worrall and Fixed Methodology

    Worrall and Fixed Methodology
    Laudan's "Science and Values" sparked a response by John Worrall who attempted to disprove this reticulated model. In a series of back-and-forth replies all published in the British Journal for Philosophy and Science, Laudan and Worrall argue about his new model and digress into what it is they are exactly disagreeing about (Worrall and Laudan). Although nothing appears to have been resolved through these responses, Laudan would soon revert back to his original ideas about science methodology.
  • Scrutinizing Science

    Scrutinizing Science
    Laudan again changed his perspective regarding scientific theory in the same year as his argument with Worrall, claiming that there is, in fact, a universal method to science. Consequently, he went back to his model of research traditions. Although he has not responded to questions about his change of mind, Laudan's research traditions is thought to be his final view regarding the philosophy of science.
  • Works Cited

    Godfrey-Smith, Peter. Theory and Reality: An Introduction to the Philosophy of Science. University of Chicago Press, 2003. Laudan, Larry. “If It Ain't Broke, Don't Fix It.” The British Journal for the Philosophy of Science, vol. 40, no. 3, 1989, pp. 369–375. JSTOR, Worrall, John. “The Value of a Fixed Methodology.” The British Journal for the Philosophy of Science, vol. 39, no. 2, 1988, pp. 263–275., doi:10.1093/bjps/39.2.263.