Writing on Darwin’s achievement in his 2003 book In Mendel’s Mirror: Philosophical Reflections on Biology, Philip Kitcher advanced the concept of a scientific practice. This consists of:
a set of statements that are accepted by the specific community of scientists
a set of questions that the scientists in the community accept as important
a set of schemata which specify the form of desirable answers
a set of accepted techniques and methodologies to address the questions.
For his study of Darwin he focussed on the first four – language, accepted statements, questions and schemata.
Clearly there is a great deal of common ground with Popperism, especially the idea of getting clear about important problems and his idea of metaphysical research programs which are all about “schemata”.
This links with Kitcher’s move into the situated social practice of science where he drew upon neoclassical economic theory to get a handle on the socioeconomic aspects of scientific practice. This opens up the prospect of some dialogue with Ian Jarvie and anyone else who is interested in Popper’s social turn. We have to hope that this will work out better than the non-exchange between Parsons, von Mises and Popper that could have happened when they were practically on the same page for the study of economics and sociology in the 1930s.