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Theoria. Revista de Teoría, Historia y Fundamentos de la Ciencia

Volume 16, Issue 3, Septiembre 2001

Elie G. Zahar
Pages 415-435

The Interdependence of the Core, the Heuristic and the Novelty of Facts in Lakatos’s MSRP

In this paper I try to explain why Lakatos’s (and Popper’s) conventionalist view must be replaced by a phenomenological conception of the empirical basis; for only in this way can one make sense of the theses that the hard core of an RP (Research Programme) can be shielded against refutations; that this metaphysical hard core can be turned into a set of guidelines or, alternatively, into a set of heuristic metaprinciples governing the development of an RP; and that a distinction can legitimately be made between novel predictions and facts to which a theory might have been adjusted post hoc. Two basic metaprinciples are finally examined: the (conservative) Correspondence Principle and various (revolutionary) symmetry requirements; both of these heuristic devices illustrate the fundamental role which, according to Lakatos, mathematics plays in the progress of empirical science.

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