Stump (2022)

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Stump, David. (2022) The Relative A Priori as a Model of Radical Conceptual Change in Science. In Barseghyan et al. (Eds.) (2022), 249-263.

Title The Relative A Priori as a Model of Radical Conceptual Change in Science
Resource Type collection article
Author(s) David Stump
Year 2022
Collection Barseghyan et al. (Eds.) (2022)
Pages 249-263


Relative, pragmatic, or dynamic theories of the a priori have been considered by many philosophers of science. I present these theories as a model of how radical conceptual change occurs during a scientific revolution. When elements of a theory that are considered to be a priori or constitutive change, we have a revolutionary change that requires rethinking all of a scientific practice. Given that conceptual change is the flashpoint for discussion of the issues of incommensurability, the rationality of scientific change and relativism, by exploring theories of the a priori I show how radical conceptual change can occur and defend the rationality of scientific change. The viewpoint adopted avoids commitment to traditional a priori knowledge and to metaphysics, while still acknowledging that there is an important element in science that cannot simply be described as empirical. I present evidence to show that the model of scientific change can be applied widely.