Science and Common Sense: Perspectives from Philosophy and Science Education

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This paper explores the relation between scientific knowledge and common sense intuitions as a complement to Hoyningen-Huene’s account of systematicity. On one hand, Hoyningen- Huene embrace continuity between these in his characterization of scientific knowledge as an extension of everyday knowledge, distinguished by an increase in systematicity. On the other, he argues that scientific knowledge often comes to deviate from common sense as science develops. Specifically, he argues that a departure from common sense is a price we may have to pay for increased systematicity. I argue that to clarify the relation between common sense and scientific reasoning, more attention to the cognitive aspects of learning and doing science is needed. As a step in this direction, I explore the potential for cross-fertilization between the discussions about conceptual change in science education and philosophy of science. Particularly, I examine debates on whether common sense intuitions facilitate or impede scientific reasoning. While arguing that these debates can balance some of the assumptions made by Hoyningen-Huene, I suggest that a more contextualized version of systematicity theory could supplement cognitive analysis by clarifying important organizational aspects of science.
Original languageEnglish
Issue number3
Pages (from-to)795–818
Number of pages24
Publication statusPublished - 15 Mar 2019

ID: 165181993