The article focuses on a select group of arguments which are aimed at showing the advantages of an evolutionary conception of science and at indicating how the evolutionary perspective may be adopted and also further implemented in relation to the question of the development of knowledge. Stress is placed on treating conceptual evolution as the instantiation of universal evolution, and not, as traditionally, the application of the principles of biological evolution to epistemology. The prospects for approaches to conceptual evolution in Campbell, Toulmin and Hull are discussed, and some particular examples are used to demonstrate how one might, with the help of the instruments of an evolutionary conception, tackle critical arguments as well as a persisting misunderstanding on the part of the opponents of the evolutionary conception of science. The aim is to introduce into these discussions the term “level closure” and thus develop the argumentative instruments of the evolutionary conception. In conclusion, on the basis of the arguments presented above, a reply is sketched to the question posed in the title of the article: that is, whether the development of science is an evolutionary struggle of ideas.
Financed by the National Centre for Research and Development under grant No. SP/I/1/77065/10 by the strategic scientific research and experimental development program:
SYNAT - “Interdisciplinary System for Interactive Scientific and Scientific-Technical Information”.