Philosophy Speaker Series: Molly Kao, "Discovery and Justification: Refining the Context Distinction"
The Concordia Department of Philosophy Speaker Series presents:
Molly Kao (Université de Montréal) speaking on "Discovery and Justification: Refining the Context Distinction"
The "context of discovery" of a scientific theory is traditionally contrasted with the "context of justification" in order to distinguish between processes that contribute to the evidential justification of a theory, and those that lead to its discovery. While most authors agree that a chronological division of a theory's development into such stages is unacceptable, there is debate on the proper characterization and philosophical significance of the distinction. I will argue that the two contexts are even more enmeshed than is generally recognized by showing how one particular example of theory development - Millikan's studies of the photoelectric effect - can be interpreted as being an example of both "discovery" and "justification." I argue that we can maintain the distinction between the two contexts by relativizing to a specified domain, and I make some suggestions as to why it might be useful to do so.