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Imre Lakatos: A Critical Appraisal

4. Conclusion

Book cover: Epistemology: A Contemporary Introduction to the Theory of Knowledge by Robert Audi

In this critical review of Lakatos' work, I summarised his theory of rationality based on his MSRP and suggested four areas in need of modification and improvement. Moving on to a consideration of Lakatos' MHRP, I argued that his defence of his theory of rationality, by appealing to its success as a historiographical research programme rationally reconstructing the history of science, was inadequate. This was because Lakatos had provided us with no reason for selecting the history of science as the exemplar of rationality, and so his MHRP appears arbitrary. Once it is supplemented with a prima facie argument for the rationality of science, his MHRP does serve as a partial vindication of his MSRP. Although, in the form that Lakatos had developed this meta-methodology, it suffers from an internal tension. I had sought to eliminate this tension and further improve his MHRP by suggesting important revisions. I had also argued that although Lakatos did not propose a coherence test for monistic methodologies, such a test is an essential additional requirement to his MHRP.

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