Making Prehistory: Historical Science and the Scientific Realism Debate

Cambridge University Press (2007)
Scientists often make surprising claims about things that no one can observe. In physics, chemistry, and molecular biology, scientists can at least experiment on those unobservable entities, but what about researchers in fields such as paleobiology and geology who study prehistory, where no such experimentation is possible? Do scientists discover facts about the distant past or do they, in some sense, make prehistory? Derek Turner argues that this problem has surprising and important consequences for the scientific realism debate. His discussion covers some of the main positions in current philosophy of science - realism, social constructivism, empiricism, and the natural ontological attitude - and shows how they relate to issues in paleobiology and geology. His original and thought-provoking book will be of wide interest to philosophers and scientists alike
Keywords Science Philosophy  Paleobiology Philosophy  Historical geology Philosophy  Philosophy  Science  Geology  Paleontology
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Call number Q175.32.R42.T87 2007
ISBN(s) 0511289154   052187520X   9780521875202
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Ben Jeffares (2010). Guessing the Future of the Past. Biology and Philosophy 25 (1):125-142.

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