What we (should) talk about when we talk about fruitfulness

Silvia Ivani

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review


What are the relevant values to the appraisal of research programs? This question remains hotly debated, as philosophers have recently proposed many lists of values potentially relevant to scientific appraisal. Surprisingly, despite being mentioned in many lists, little attention has been paid to fruitfulness. It is unclear how fruitfulness should be explicated, and whether it has any substantial role in scientific appraisal. In this paper, I argue we should explicate fruitfulness as the capacity to develop of research programs. Moreover, I provide a novel strategy to assess and compare the fruitfulness of programs focused on their research questions and heuristics. To illustrate how this strategy would work, I will discuss a case study, namely the adaptationist program in evolutionary psychology.
Original languageEnglish
Article number4
JournalEuropean Journal for Philosophy of Science
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2019


FundersFunder number
Universiteit van Tilburg


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