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Reichenbach's well-known distinction between the context of discovery and the context of justification has recently come under attack from several quarters. In this paper I attempt to reconsider the distinction and evaluate various recent criticisms of it. These criticisms fall into two main groups: those which directly challenge Reichenbach's distinction; and those which (I argue) indirectly but no less seriously challenge that distinction by rejecting the related distinction between psychology and epistemology, and defending the "naturalizing" of epistemology. I argue that these recent criticisms fail, and that the distinction remains an important conceptual tool necessary for an adequate understanding of the way in which scientific claims purport to appropriately portray our natural environment.


The following article appeared in Philosophy of Science 47:2 (June 1980) Pages: 297-321. Philosophy of Science © 1980 Philosophy of Science Accociation. Published by The University of Chicago Press on behalf of the Philosophy of Science Accociation. The original publication is available at