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Historical geology; methodology and metaphysics

Derek Turner
Historical geology; methodology and metaphysics (in Rethinking the fabric of geology, Victor R. Baker (editor), J. W. Harshbarger (editor) and James E. Rogers (editor))
Special Paper - Geological Society of America (September 2013) 502: 11-18


This chapter engages critically with Carol Cleland's recent work in the philosophy of historical science. Much of the practice of historical geology fits her description of the methodology of "prototypical historical science" quite well. However, there are also important kinds of historical scientific research that do not involve what she calls the search for the smoking gun. Moreover, Cleland's claim that prediction is not a major factor in historical natural science depends on taking an overly restrictive view of what counts as a prediction. Finally, Cleland's approach, which emphasizes methodology, is just one possible way of thinking about the difference between historical and nonhistorical science. Rather than focusing on the "how" of historical science, one can also focus on the "what" of historical science--on the nature of the processes and events that historical geologists study.

ISSN: 0072-1077
EISSN: 2331-219X
Serial Title: Special Paper - Geological Society of America
Serial Volume: 502
Title: Historical geology; methodology and metaphysics
Title: Rethinking the fabric of geology
Author(s): Turner, Derek
Author(s): Baker, Victor R.editor
Author(s): Harshbarger, J. W.editor
Author(s): Rogers, James E.editor
Affiliation: Connecticut College, Department of Philosophy, New London, CT, United States
Affiliation: University of Arizona, Department of Hydrology and Water Resources, Tucson, AZ, United States
Pages: 11-18
Published: 201309
Text Language: English
Publisher: Geological Society of America (GSA), Boulder, CO, United States
References: 47
Accession Number: 2013-088742
Categories: Miscellaneous
Document Type: Serial
Bibliographic Level: Analytic
Country of Publication: United States
Secondary Affiliation: GeoRef, Copyright 2017, American Geosciences Institute. Reference includes data supplied by the Geological Society of America, Boulder, CO, United States
Update Code: 201352
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