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Final Report Summary - ERASP (EPISTEMIC REVISABILITY AND A PRIORI SCIENTIFIC PRINCIPLES)

The current state of the art in scientific epistemology is governed by the modern doctrine of empiricism which meets problems in explaining cases of scientific knowledge achieved with no apparent use of experience. This project – Epistemic Revisability and a priori Scientific Principles (ERASP) – addresses two major problems. The first problem is a scientific one: what is the epistemic engine behind the way science forms and evolves; and is contemporary empiricism fully capable of serving this purpose? The second problem is a philosophical one: what is the nature of the a priori notion and how does it depend on the notion of epistemic revisability? Reformulating recent work in scientific epistemology by Michael Friedman (2000), the project defined and critically assessed a radically new approach that treats the dynamics of science: the a priori revisability approach. It counterbalances the traditional scientific doctrine of empirical observation and it addresses those scientific problems that are either in principle unsolvable or too difficult to resolve by standard epistemology. ERASP addresses the first problem by providing a model that complements current empiricism with epistemology to explain the dynamical change of scientific hypotheses and theories for cases where empiricism fails. With respect to the second problem the project develops a proposal that attempts to settle the question in a way that aims to receive confirmation both purely philosophically and scientifically.

In respect of training and career development, the following objectives were set:

(a) Research type objectives - to improve the researcher’s abilities to collect, systematize and analyze relevant data in the state of the art field;
(b) Work development objectives - to enhance the researcher’s abilities to critically analyze data and to examine its formal and contextual properties;
(c) Presentation objectives - to improve the researcher’s presentation abilities.

The work of the Fellow has followed several paths. The first path was the work on the project text itself. The second part was the educational training in Oxford University. The third part was attending conferences and seminars. The last, fourth part was publishing the results of the project. With respect to the first path, the Fellow has finished the work on the project and as a result the project ERASP has a text around 200 pages which deals with the scientific objectives. With respect of the second path the Fellow has undertaken serious educational training at the University. He has attended around 40 graduate-level seminars and classes and participated in a number of them (either presenting papers or responding to them). Regarding the third part, the Fellow has participated in a number of conferences in Croatia, Hungary and Bulgaria. With respect to the fourth part the Fellow has published two papers from the project, one in the prestigious journal Principia and the other in a conference Volume. The Fellow also has an invitation from the German academic publishing house Lambert (LAP) to publish the text of the project.

The main results of the project are twofold. First are the academic results and second are the training results. The main academic results, as put in the objectives of the project, are the new conception of a priori revisability and the new mechanism of a priori revision in humanities and sciences. Together they comprise a new epistemic model which shows that science or at least its major fundamental principles might evolve even during the conditions of lack of empirical data. These results are contained in the main text of the ERASP project as well as in the two publications mentioned above. The training results concern the abilities of the Fellow. During the project the Fellow received top-level training in one of the best universities in the world in the form of attending and participating in lectures and seminars and also through one-to-one meetings with the Scientific Advisor and through participation in the active – and world-leading – Philosophy of Physics research cluster within the Faculty.

Related information

Reported by

The Chancellor, Masters and Scholars of the University of Oxford
United Kingdom
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