Institute of Philosophy
Russian Academy of Sciences

  Philosophy of Science and Technology. 2016, Vol. 21, No. 2
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Philosophy of Science and Technology. 2016, Vol. 21, No. 2






E. Agazzi. Truth as a path to realism

The question of realism was introduced in modern philosophy under two forms. One we can call “ontological” or “metaphysical” realism, and it consists in asking whether “reality” exists independently of our cognitive activity: the thesis that it exists independently was called realism, and the thesis that reality is simply the creation of our cognitive activity was called idealism. A second meaning of the issue of realism which we can call “epistemological” is derived from a presupposition that modern philosophy adopted in epistemology: philosophers gave for granted that we know our representations (or ideas) and not reality but, admitting that our aim is to know reality, they asked whether we can be granted that our ideas correspond to reality. The statement that we can attain such an (indirect) knowledge of reality is seen as realism. Modern natural science that began in 17th century remained realist in both the classical senses: (i) because the object of investigation was considered to be a reality independent of the human investigation, and (ii) because this investigation was considered to attain a true knowledge of the said delimited domain of reality. Therefore, truth was the fundamental characteristic attributed to this new form of knowledge. However, in the beginning of the twentieth century several laws and principles of classical mechanics were proved not to hold in the newly discovered domains of science, and even fundamental concepts seemed to have lost their original meaning. The most immediate consequence of that crisis has been that scientists no longer dared to call “true” even the best founded of their statements and tried to avoid the use of the notion of truth. The way out that has been found was the invention of a kind of replacement of the notion of truth, by the introduction of the idea of objectivity. We can consider two understandings of objectivity – objectivity as intersubjectivity and objectivity as reference to objects. To support the idea of scientific realism it is important to distinguish between things and scientific objects. We should thus understand that (i) a thing can become the object of a given science as far as it is considered from the specific “point of view” of that science which determines a particular “clipping” within this thing; (ii) one single thing can be the object of an indefinite number of scientific investigations. Thus, we can recover the notion of truth in the sciences, provided that we are aware that this truth is always “relative to the specific objects” about which the propositions are formulated. The crisis of the old notion of scientific truth depended on having conceived it as an absolute and total truth, that is, a truth regarding things in themselves. As a consequence this truth was seen to be ruined when new aspects of reality were discovered (that is, new “domains of objects”) with which the old theories were unable to cope. The issue, however, appears under a completely different light if one is conscious that any theory has to be true only about its own objects.

Keywords: reality, realism, truth, objectivity, intersubjectivity, reference, scientific object

DOI: 10.21146/2413-9084-2016-21-2-9-33


Problem of realism in modern quantum mechanics. Materials of discussion

This publication represents the materials of the discussion that took place in a form of a “round table” during the conference “Quantum Mechanics and Philosophical Discourse” (April 14–15, 2016, RAS Institute of Philosophy, Moscow, Russia). This discussion gives information, how the outcome of quantum experiments can chance the notion of reality. Experimental checks of Bell's theorem, Legett inequality, Leggett–Garg inequality and experimental delayed choice confirm, that for quantum objects it is necessary to revise classical realism very seriously. Different approaches to interpretation of observed phenomena also discussed. Within a framework of approach of modal metaphysics is shown how to resolve traditional paradoxes of quantum theory in particular it is shown for the first time what the “secret of quantum theory”, formulated by Richard Feynman, is related to.

Keywords: quantum mechanics, ontology, metaphysics, mode of existence, potentiality, actuality, Mach's principle, individualization principle, time 

DOI: 10.21146/2413-9084-2016-21-2-34-64





R. Nugayev. The methodological problems of theory unification (In the context of Maxwell’s fusion of optics and electrodynamics)

It is discerned what light can the recent historical reconstructions of maxwellian optics and electromagnetism unification on the following philosophical/methodological questions bring: 1) why should one believe that Nature is ultimately simple and that unified theories are more likely to be true? 2) what does it mean to say that a theory is unified? 3) why theory unification should be an epistemic virtue? To answer the questions posed genesis and development of Maxwellian electrodynamics are elucidated. It is enunciated that the Maxwellian Revolution is a far more complicated phenomenon than it may be seen in the light of Kuhnian and Lakatosian epistemological models. Correspondingly it is maintained that maxwellian electrodynamics was elaborated in the course of the old pre-maxwellian programmes’ reconciliation: the electrodynamics of Ampére–Weber, the wave theory of Young–Fresnel and Faraday’s programme. To compare the different theoretical schemes springing from the different language games James Maxwell had constructed a peculiar neutral language. Initially it had encompassed the incompressible fluid models; eventually – the vortices ones. The three programmes’ encounter engendered the construction of the hybrid theory at first with an irregular set of theoretical schemes. However, step by step, on revealing and gradual eliminating the contradictions between the programmes involved, the hybrid set is “put into order” (Maxwell’s term).A hierarchy of theoretical schemes starting from ingenious crossbreeds (the displacement current) and up to usual hybrids is set up. After the displacement current construction the interpenetration of the pre-maxwellian programmes begins that marks the commencement of theoretical schemes of optics, electricity and magnetism real unification. Maxwell’s programme surpassed that of Ampére-Weber because it did absorb the ideas of the Ampére-Weber programme, as well as the presuppositions of the programmes of Young–Fresnel and Faraday properly co-ordinating them with each other. But the opposite statement is not true. The Ampére–Weber programme did not assimilate the propositions of the Maxwellian programme. Maxwell’s victory over his rivals became possible because the gist of Maxwell’s unification strategy was formed by Kantian epistemology looked in the light of William Whewell and such representatives of Scottish Enlightenment as Thomas Reid and Sir William Hamilton. Maxwell did put forward as basic synthetic principles the ideas that radically differed from that of Ampére–Weber approach by their open, flexible and contra-ontological, genuinely epistemological, Kantian character. For Maxwell, ether was not the ultimate building block of physical reality, from which all the charges and fields should be constructed. “Action at a distance”, “incompressible fluid”, “molecular vortices”, etc. were contrived analogies for Maxwell, capable only to direct the researcher at the “right” mathematical relations.

Keywords: J.C. Maxwell, unification of optics and electromagnetism, I. Kant, T. Reid, W. Hamilton

DOI: 10.21146/2413-9084-2016-21-2-65-79


M. Loktionov. Alexander Bogdanov – the founder of General systems theory

The article is dedicated to Russian scientist Alexander Bogdanov who’s main work “Tektology” can be regarded as a forerunner of the systems theory. Bogdanov has proposed “universal organization science” in his works written in 1912–1917 and it was not only an outstanding attempt for its time, but it remains an important theory for the present for it shows the way to generalization of the universal institutional laws governing behavior of any complex system, whether natural, technical or social. The aim of this science is to find out what methods of organization are observed in nature and in human activities; then to generalize and systematize these methods; and further – to explain to them, that is to give the abstract schemes of their tendencies and laws; and finally to determine on the basis of these diagrams the direction of organizational methods and their role in saving the world process. Organizational and structural relationships are considered by Bogdanov regardless of the particular nature of the system in question, and in his belief the underlying principles of organization for physical, biological, social and cultural systems are the same. Bogdanov’s tektology anticipated the cybernetics theories of N. Wiener and W. Ashby, General systems theory of L. von Bertalanffy and dissipative structures of I. Prigogine. As Bogdanov’s “Tektology” work was translated and published in German in 1928, there is an opinion that both von Bertalanffy and Wiener might have been familiar with his ideas. Bogdanov's original proposition was to unite all human, biological and physical sciences, by considering them as systems of relationships, and to search for organizing principles that underlie all types of systems. In accordance with the fundamental premises of tektology the functioning of two or more elements that are part of the same process due to the certain organization can surpass or, on the contrary, concede in comparison to the functioning of these elements taken separately in efficacy (Bogdanov also considers the “neutral” type of relationship). The main subject of Bogdanov’s “Tektology” thus is the analysis and theoretization of the organization factor due to the right application of which the efficacy of the elements constituting the whole is increased.

Keywords: Alexander Bogdanov, tectology, the universal organizational science, General systems theory, systems approach, Cybernetics, synergetics, autopoiesis, empiriomonism, optimum 

DOI: 10.21146/2413-9084-2016-21-2-80-96

D. Vorob’еv. Conventionalism and instrumentalism in the light of the doctrine of the research programs of Imre Lakatos

The concept of the research program which Imre Lakatos builds in opposition to a conventionalism from which this program, nevertheless, borrows highlights, is researched in this article. The concept of a kernel and the periphery of the theory are among these moments, in particular. From the point of view of Lakatos, any research program is a set of the theories which are consistently arising and accepted by us. The theories are united by common goals, tasks, means for their achievement and the same object of research. The theory of a conventionalism at the heart of which, from the point of view of Lakatos, lies the idea of reliability under the agreement is researched. According to this idea if the theory is doubtful, it is always possible to agree and declare it conditionally reliable for the purpose of protection of basic provisions, so-called, kernels. The relations between a conventionalism and an instrumentalism as by extreme degree of a conventionalism are considered. According to the theory of an instrumentalism, reliability, in the majority of the cases, doesn't exist and if it exists somewhere, only at the level of atomic judgments. The instrumentalism says to us that theories and systems aren't obliged to be reliable. Theories have to provide results in the form of exact forecasts which will be coordinated with our empirical supervision. From the point of view of Lakatos, when conventionalism is a justified, philosophical position, instrumentalism on the other hand by its nature is only degeneration of conventionalism. According to Lakatos, the reason for instrumentalism is in the usual philosophical untidiness caused by lack of elementary logical education. Any research program, from the point of view of Lakatos, includes three of the basic elements: kernel, positive heuristic and negative heuristic. As well as conventionalism, the negative heuristic of the research program forbids to push together with the empirical facts and, thus, forge those provisions of the program which constitute the firm kernel. We always have to aspire to keeping the basic positions of this program in inviolability. The basic positions of the research program, certainly, can be changed, but it means only one result – transition to other paradigm. Which means – transition to other research program. We can change considerably its periphery for the purpose of protection of a kernel. We can change considerably protective belt of a kernel, but not a kernel. Unlike negative heuristic, the positive heuristic is directed to maintenance of a protective belt and warns the scientist against acts and actions, undesirable to the program.

Keywords: conventionalism, instrumentalism, research program, induction, epicycle, deferens, empiricism, demarcation

DOI: 10.21146/2413-9084-2016-21-2-97-110





S. Pirozhkova Prediction, forecast, scenario: on question about diversity of prognostic research’s results

The main problem that article focuses on is the analysis and classification of various forms of scientific prognostic activity and its results. The term “scientific prognostic activity” is proposed by author to integrate the diversity of ways of foreseeing, usually defined as scientific or pretended to be that. It’s shown that in the XX century there is an increased necessity for well-grounded, reliable foreknowledge of three types of events – natural and social as consequences of scientific and technological advance and, third, technological as related to content of technology progress – causes development of new interdisciplinary area of investigations – forecasting, according to the above differentiated primarily as natural, social and technological. Futurology was another area of investigations, arisen a little later for foreseeing technological and social perspectives and becoming today, as author argues, Futures studies. Forecasting and futurology differ in many aspects – besides object (any nature vs social, including foreseeing technological progress), in goals, in methods and therefore in results. But in fact results of both forecasting and futurology are often defined as forecasts, so there are several definitions of term “forecast” that we find in different works. Moreover sometimes forecasters and futurologists talk about their results as predictions. And there are no generally recognized criteria to distinguish results of forecasting and futurology, and also to distinguish forecast and prediction. Author considers several conceptions including N. Resher’s, K. Popper’s, I. Bestuzhev-Lada’s, W.J. Gonzalez’, A. Guillán Dopico’s, investigators of “Global Scenarios” and “Global Trends” projects’ points of view and shows in which aspects these conceptions conform with practice and in which they don’t. There is author’s own conception of three forms of scientific prognostic activity and thereafter three forms of its results, suggested to overcome drawbacks of other theory and classifications of foreseeing. According to it the prognostic activity may be realized as prediction (as procedure of deducing of predictions), forecasting and futurological investigation. The first form arose within the scope of classical natural science, concerns closed systems, therefore based on the universal knowledge and exhaustive information of initial conditions and relevant factors, realizing by calculation in mathematical or logical sense and gives descriptions of qualitatively, quantitatively, space and time specified events. When we need to foresee future state of an open system (natural or social), which future state is determined by many factors and critically depends on its values, we usually don’t have enough (and never exhaustive) information about its initial conditions, because 1) we don’t know precisely what factors will be relevant and what will be not, 2) we can’t reach absolute accuracy in estimation of such factors value. So it’s often possible only to produce probabilistic estimation of some parameters, define limit of variables and by mathematical computing, simulation and modeling produce description of system’s dynamics under defined conditions (the second form). A few of open systems demonstrate self-organizing behavior, that is why the principles of its functioning can change, so it is possible only to foresee by plausible reasoning and the construction of qualitative models (images) different ways of its development without knowledge of what will be realized. It is the third form of prognostic activity that may have both scientific and social journalistic (publicus) character. It’s shown that relation between these forms of prognostic activity is inclusion relation and prediction may transform into forecasting, and forecasting – into futurological investigation and inversely. In accordance with this classification of types of prognostic activities author distinguishes such results of it as prediction, forecast and futurological scenario, their characteristic and comparative analysis are given in the article.

Keywords: forecasting, foresight, prediction, futurology, Futures studies, forecast, scenario forecast, futurological scenario 

DOI: 10.21146/2413-9084-2016-21-2-111-129

M. Kazakov. Pseudoscience as the converted form of science: theoretical analysis

Demarcating the science, pseudoscience and non-scientific cognitive practices and knowledge remains one of the “hard problems” of modern epistemology, philosophy and methodology of science. The paper is dedicated to working out one of the possible solutions of some issues of this problem’s grounding: to give fulfilling definition of the phenomenon of pseudoscience within the confines of philosophy of science (abstracting from the specific characteristics and connections of the explored phenomenon with the other sciences). To complete this task, the author tries to distance himself from the approach used in post-positivistic epistemology in the context of demarcation. Taking the grounding of realistic ontology (such as correspondence theory of truth), the author combines its postulations with methodology of converted forms research. In this context, the phenomenon of pseudoscience is proposed to be considered as a converted form of scientific knowledge. Basing on such a way of understanding the phenomenon of pseudoscience, the key properties, which are present in singular manifestations of pseudoscience, are proposed. The classification, according to which the types of pseudoscientific knowledge should be divided according to the elements of scientific knowledge and cognition that undergo the transformation of their real form, becoming its opposite side, imitation or negation (this transformation may happen to methodology, aim, object, subject, result of research) is proposed. The author proposes four sub-classes of pseudoscientific knowledge – quasi-science, para-science, pseudoscientific disciplines and anti-science, as well as the phenomenon of scientific falsifications (which may be included in one of the types of such a “knowledge” or exist independently from them). The explicated properties of the converted forms of scientific knowledge are not regular to each specific manifestation of pseudoscience – on one hand, while researching the types of knowledge which are considered as pseudoscientific by the scientific community, these properties can be seen (one or another) in these manifestations. On the other hand, when the scientific community deals with new idea, pretending to be scientific, and, while verifying the idea, sees these properties, they are alerting about the possibility of this idea to be pseudoscientific (pretending on being science while not being it).

Keywords: pseudoscience, converted forms, quasi-science, para-science, anti-science, demarcation, scientific falsifications

DOI: 10.21146/2413-9084-2016-21-2-130-148





Paradigm of complexity in perspective of philosophical strategy of Gilles Deleuze. Papers of the “round table”

The round table rises important questions – the questions concerning developments of the conceptual apparatus which would provide constructive movement within the limits of a complexity paradigm. These problems concern the status of the such paradigm, how it is accepted or not accepted in natural-science and philosophical traditions, what influence it renders to express its specificity on description languages. Different aspects and ways of understanding of complexity are considered in a context of the conceptual strategy which is offered by the French philosopher Gilles Deleuze. During the discussion an attempt of rethinking the relation of methodology and ontology, parts and whole, a text and a context etc. is undertaken. Also the problem that draws attention of the participants of a round table is the conceptualization of the opposition “simple-complex”. Within the limits of the discussion on the dichotomy “simple-complex” possible approaches to complex thinking are considered to construct the concept “complex vision of the world”. In this aspect the construction ontology of nonclassical type, the ontology, which is based not on static vision of the world, not on identity, but on dynamics, on becoming, is discussed. The accent is done on dynamics and on removal of classical dichotomies, for example on removal of dichotomy “methodology-ontology”. This suggests a new postnonclassical ontology and special type of methodology. The special attention is given to the problem of observer, considering that the conceptual character “observer of complexity” is found almost in all later works of Deleuze. Thus the emphasis is made on a role of recursion and communications during such observation. In this context complexity is seen as a recursive process between integrity and partiality which basic premise is the idea of distinction. The observer of complexity is the observer creating distinctions, staying in the nonequilibrium, uncertain situation which is open for the future having in the past the set of causes and effects for retrospective explanations which however cannot serve as a support for the determined forecasts of the future events. Position, according to which it is necessary to refuse the position of the external observer, considering this or that state of affairs from outside, is put forward. Moreover, we have in mind postnonclassical complexity, but not difficult complex problems that we have to solve. And this fact can be grasped from a number of practices related primarily to innovation activities. Also the special attention is given to postnonclassical control strategy of complex systems which can be considered in terminology of Deleuze as movements from “virtual object” to “the virtual subject”. The considerable attention in performances is given to the status of truth in a paradigm of complexity (in perspective of philosophical strategy of Deleuze). At last, the considered theme is developed in a context of congruence of philosophies of Deleuze with philosophical and research strategy of Edgar Moraine (the author of the term “paradigm of complexity”) and also with the theory of autopoiesis offered by Francisco Varela and Humberto Maturana.

Keywords: complexity, interdisciplinarity, transdisciplinarity, sense, rhizome, communication, context, entanglement

DOI: 10.21146/2413-9084-2016-21-2-149-181





N. Bagdasaryan, M. Korol. “Dynamic theorizing” of Z. Bauman: critical optics or search of vital strategy?

Achievements of modern science strike with the scope and opportunities which open prospects of transformation of human civilization in a new social and technological way. However the scientific gains which are enormously expanding the possibilities of human at the same time put humanity in the face of risks and threats that have not existed before. Designing of complete system of views about the general properties of the world surrounding society started the restructuring of science connected with integrating natural, social and humanitarian sciences, having strengthened positions of a social and humanitarian discourse. It becomes more and more obvious that social and humanitarian knowledge is the peculiar navigator helping to be guided with social reality: they are capable to offer an explanation, or, at least, to design model for the best organization of the separate facts and phenomena, for their further interpretation. However the concepts designed today by the scientists reflecting on modern society with it's paradoxes, gaps and synthesis are in difficult relations among themselves, competing for domination as the types of social and philosophical theorizing and thinking. Do the scientific discussions satisfy only the cognitive needs of the scientists that lead to such model of the scientific research that works only for itself and that, using the trope of H.Hesse, can be called “The Glass Bead Game”? Or is this a new stage of vision into the essence of the social processes when the theoretical models that answer the requirements of the expert scientific theories and including the prognostic function are made? An attempt to solve this elaborate question is made by the authors on the basis of the research on the relations between theoretical and methodological guidelines embedded in the main principles of postmodernism as a mentality, a reflexive postmodern, and the views of professor Z. Bauman. Zigmund Bauman is one of the most distinguished thinkers of the present who has accumulated in his works the key changes that happened to the society in the last decades, and who has in the peculiar interlacement of metaphors and meanings created the concepts with image names like “individualized society”, “liquid modernity”, “collateral damage”. Through the optics of theoretical heritage of professor Z. Bauman one can see the origins of the formation of the new standards of scientific thinking that differ greatly from those that are connected with the social and cultural practices of the postmodern epoch. Bauman attempts in his works to solve one of the most important problems of the modern science – to work out the life strategy of the society development the potential of which can provide the design of the social reality of the future.

Keywords: Z. Bauman, “individualized society”, “fluid modernity”, “collateral damage”, socio-humanitarian discourse, postmodernism

DOI: 10.21146/2413-9084-2016-21-2-182-191





A. Yakovleva. Review of the Inaugural Conference of the East European Network for Philosophy of Science (24–26 June 2016, New Bulgarian University, Sofia, Bulgaria)

The paper is a review of the Inaugural Conference of East European Network for Philosophy of Science, held June 24–26 in Sofia (Bulgaria). Launched only in October 2015 the efforts of scientists and enthusiasts, the Network immediately started its activities, and this conference has become an important stage of its activity. A review includes the information about the main events and papers, which were presented at the conference.

Keywords: general philosophy of science, EENPS, philosophy of natural sciences, philosophy of cognitive sciences, philosophy of social sciences

DOI: 10.21146/2413-9084-2016-21-2-192-196