There are three main accounts of scientific progress: the epistemic account, according to which an episode in science constitutes progress when there is an increase in knowledge; the semantic account, according to which progress is made when the number of truths increases; the problem-solving account, according to which progress is made when the number of problems that we are able to solve increases. The epistemic account is considered to be the account of progress more compatible with a realist stance. Recently, Dellsén proposed the noetic account, according to which an episode in science constitutes progress when scientists achieve increased understanding of a phenomenon. Dellsén claims that the noetic account is a more adequate realist account of scientific progress than the epistemic one. This paper aims precisely at assessing whether the noetic account is more adequate than the epistemic one.
Keywords: Epistemic account, Knowledge, Noetic account, Quasi-factivity, Scientific progress, Understanding.