Further to my comment earlier about Scepticism and Philosophy of Science, some further thoughts about General Philosophy of Science:
General Philosophy of Science was almost entirely a twentieth century phenomenon. Before the 20th century, there was scientifically informed metaphysics and epistemology—I am thinking of Descartes, Locke, Kant and their intellectual heirs, philosophers who believed that science could teach us something about the structure of reality. The central problem of twentieth century GPOS, however, was new. What is the status of unobservable theoretical entities? What are they? And how can we know them? The problem was urgent because theoretical entities were increasingly a feature of nineteenth century (and later) physical science--atoms, fields, etc.
The idea that drove GPOS was that theoretical entities could be constructed from (or alternatively eliminated in favour of) sense data. This idea, which was also the founding idea of analytic philosophy, began its long decline in the 1960s, when Hilary Putnam introduced ways of talking about unobservables that did not rely on these constructive techniques. Putnam’s work was particularly attractive to philosophers because it showed a way out of the incommensurability problem that arose from Kuhn’s work, for incommensurability sounded to many like a reductio of the whole analytic programme. Now, a decade into the 21st century, the problem of unobservables is no longer at the centre of analytic philosophy, and anti-sense-datum realism has become the norm. (In the PhilPapers survey, 82% of respondents leaned toward non-sceptical realism, and only 4% to idealism; 75% to scientific realism, and 75% to correspondence or deflationary theories of truth. The percentages don't change much when you look at self-identified GPOSers.)
Accordingly, GPOS has declined. How many top-twenty departments have hired GPOSers in the last decade? Very few, I venture: the assistant and associate professors who list themselves as philosophers of science are either philosophers-of-X (POXers?), GPOSers having given way to formal epistemologists or analytic metaphysicians.
GPOS does, however, live on, mostly in satellite departments devoted to History and Philosophy of Science—there are such units in Cambridge, Sydney, Pittsburgh, Chicago, Paris, Toronto—and also in a few philosophy departments that have chosen to develop specializations in philosophy of science—Bristol, the University of Washington, the University of British Columbia are examples that come to mind. In these departments, there are usually POXers devoted to physics and biology and social science, and a GPOSer who is viewed as providing support for the foundations. But the question that I think has not been resolved is how GPOS lives in an HPS environment. Has GPOS become, roughly, Kuhnian? Feminist? Is there a viable path for development that traces back to the Viennese origins of GPOS?
(Cross-posted at NewAPPS)