I have worked on the following fields in the philosophy of science:
Regarding the history of early modern physical theory, I have worked on important historical figures from Copernicus to Newton (including the history of Newtonian chemistry in the 18th century). This work was not intended to be purely historical but rather to include considerations of methodological standards that guide the development of scientific theory.
Second, the same orientation, if with a different emphasis, characterizes my studies on theory change. My analyses of problems of confirmation and theory comparison are always anxious to take case-studies from the history of science into consideration. This research field includes studies on scientific realism that examine which aspects of a theory are confirmed confirmed by empirical evidence. In this connection, I advance the position of a "realism of kinds", that is a variant of structural realism.
Third, one of topical foci of my work concerns the exploration of conceptual relations among theories. This work has ramified into three different areas, namely, the analysis of psychological and neuroscientific accounts, the suggestion of a consistent notion of semantic incommensurability, and the examination of options for testing theories by theory-laden evidence. The latter argument is explored in my book on the completeness of scientific theories which contains analyses of ways of testing space-time theory in a non-circular manner by using evidence provided by the very same theory to be tested.
Fourth, this work on theory-laden tests was extended to questions of space-time philosophy. I hope to have achieved, in particular, a clearer notion of the conventionality of physical geometry.
Fifth, I address the methodology of utility-driven research and the methodological changes im-posed on science by the pressure of practice. Philosophy of science often focuses on the character-istics of fundamental research without taking into account that a large part of scientific research today is commissioned research, industrial research, or applied research, performed so as to accom-plish short-term practical goals. In such instances, the aims of research do not grow out of the smooth development of a discipline but are shaped by non-scientific problems, and the relevant time-frames are narrow. Kinds of bias may emerge under such conditions that are lacking in fun-damental research but merit closer philosophical scrutiny. The question is what the pressure of prac-tice does to scientific research.
Sixth, I explore the science-society interface and focus on the "value-ladenness of science," i.e., the impact of values on the pursuit of research endeavors and the acceptance of knowledge claims. I appeal to epistemic and non-epistemic values as analytical categories and seek to clarify standards of justification and model-building under the pressure of practice. I further address the credibility problem of parts of science in the social arena. Value commitments within the scientific community and its societal ambiance are used for characterizing different heuristic strategies and in spelling out the ambivalent role of pluralism in buttressing claims within the scientific community and without.