"Traditional" science (ie, scientific work that has evolved from the natural sciences) is still said to rely on theory-neutral facts, quantitative data, and the search for universal laws. This depiction of science is incongruent with much contemporary thinking. This article examines three shifts in recent philosophy that are relevant for nursing science philosophy: the move from foundationalism to an understanding of the fallibility of science, the shift in emphasis from verification to justification of knowledge claims, and the recent examination of explanation by scientific realists. It is suggested that scientific realism may be a fruitful area of inquiry for philosophers of nursing science.
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