How and why do scientists do what they do? These are two of the questions at the heart of the philosophy of science-and they are central to research by Dr. C. Kenneth Waters. As Canada Research Chair in Logic and Philosophy of Science, Waters believes scientists’ activities are best understood in terms of practical purposes rather than in terms of the quest for grand theoretical truths.
He and his research team are developing an account of scientific knowledge based on an examination of scientists’ activities. They are investigating how and why scientists identify and categorize entities and generalize about their behaviours within categories. They plan to use the results of these philosophical investigations to analyze how scientific knowledge is both truthful and pragmatic, while at the same time partial, pluralistic and perspectival.