John Worrall (philosopher)

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John Worrall, c. 2000

John Worrall (born 27 November 1946 in Leigh, Lancashire, UK) is a professor of philosophy of science at the London School of Economics.[1] He is also associated with the Centre for Philosophy of Natural and Social Science at the same institution.

Worrall studied under Imre Lakatos, advancing the methodology of scientific research programmes through his work in 19th Century optics.[1] He is best known for resurrecting the theory of structural realism in the philosophy of science, a view previously associated with Henri Poincaré. Additionally he has published important work in the philosophy of medicine. He has also published widely in journals and anthologies, edited Imre Lakatos's collected works, and a recent volume on The Ontology of Science. He was editor-in-chief of the British Journal for the Philosophy of Science from 1974 to 1983.[1] He has supervised numerous philosophers including Jeremy Howick, Jeffrey J. Ketland and Ioannis Votsis.

Selected publications[edit]

  • Underdetermination, Realism and Empirical Equivalence, Synthese, Vol 80/2, 2011, pp. 157-172.
  • Miracles and Models: Why reports of the death of Structural Realism may be exaggerated, Royal Institute of Philosophy Supplements, Volume 82, Supplement 61, October 2007, pp. 125-154.
  • History and Theory-Confirmation in J. Worrall and C. Cheyne (eds) Rationality and Reality: Conversations with Alan Musgrave. Kluwer Academic Publishers, 2006, pp. 31-61.
  • Why Science Discredits Religion in M. Peterson and R. Vanarragon (eds) Contemporary Debates in Philosophy of Religion. Blackwell, 2004
  • Normal Science and Dogmatism, Paradigms and Progress: Kuhn versus Popper and Lakatos in T. Nickles (ed): Thomas Kuhn. Cambridge University Press, 2003
  • What Evidence in Evidence-Based Medicine, Philosophy of Science, September 2002 (with E. Scerri)
  • Prediction and the periodic table, Studies in the History and Philosophy of Science Vol 32/3, 2001;
  • Kuhn, Bayes and "Theory-Choice": How Revolutionary is Kuhn's Account of Theoretical Change? in R. Nola and H. Sankey (eds): After Popper, Kuhn and Feyerabend: Recent Issues in Theories of Scientific Method, 2000;
  • The Scope, Limits and Distinctiveness of the Method of "Deduction from the Phenomena": Some Lessons from Newton's "Demonstrations" in Optics, The British Journal for the Philosophy of Science, 2000;
  • Two Cheers for Naturalised Philosophy of Science, Science and Education, July 1999;
  • Structural Realism: the Best of Both Worlds in D. Papineau (ed) The Philosophy of Science (Oxford 1996).
  • Routledge Encyclopaedia of Philosophy (Subject Editor for Philosophy of Science), (Routledge, 1998)
  • Philosophy and Natural Science in A C Grayling (Ed.), Philosophy 2. Further through the subject (Oxford University Press, 1998)
  • Revolution in Permanence": Karl Popper on theory-change in science, Karl Popper: Problems and Philosophy (CUP, 1995)
  • The Ontology of Science, ed (Dartmouth Publishing Co, 1994)


  1. ^ a b c "Professor John Worrall". LSE. Retrieved 30 April 2011. 

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External links[edit]