Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Classical empiricism raised epistemological issues within a framework of dichotomies that were rarely questioned. It was assumed that statements were either normative or descriptive (and analytic or synthetic); terms were either observational or theoretical; meaning is either given atomically or holistically; truth was either radically independent of language (correspondence) or radically dependent upon it (coherence); and the entities postulated by scientific theories are constructed (instrumentalism) or are theory-independent (metaphysical realism). Modern philosophers have questioned the tenability of these distinctions and attempts have been made to relinquish many of them.;I argue that, instead of discarding them, we have to recognize these dichotomies as complementary aspects of epistemic notions, in the same way that the wave-particle dichotomy reflects complementary aspects of quanta. Epistemology has to be reconstructed upon a framework of new concepts that explicitly recognize epistemic complementarity. The basic unit of experience is a Gestalt (a theoretically structured pattern of given sense-data); statements are Expectations (normative and descriptive at the same time); terminological meaning is Holarchic (with atomistically given observational aspect, and holistically offered theoretical aspect); truth is Representation (which has a double dependence on language and the world); and the objects of science are Perspectival (being simultaneously constructed and discovered). Epistemic complementarity is ultimately traceable to the dependence of experience on both language and the world.;These notions enable us to construct a theory of scientific method and scientific rationality that resolves many crucial issues in contemporary philosophy of science. Radically different theories can be compared by appealing to a background language and experience constructed out of them (rather than a language independent of the competing theories); scientific revolutions can be recognized as possessing both cumulative and disjunctive features (which can be identified precisely through the background language); the internalist and externalist accounts of science can be seen as dual perspectives on the content of scientific theories (rather than incompatible alternatives); a theory of internal scientific rationality requires the deployment of dialectical methods (and not only the traditional deductive and inductive techniques).



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