This is an introductory survey to the philosophy of science suitable for beginners and nonspecialists. Its point of departure is the question: why should we believe what science tells us about the world? In this attempt to justify the claims of science the book treats such topics as observation data, confirmation of theories, and the explanation of phenomena. The writing is clear and concrete with detailed examples drawn from contemporary science: solar neutrinos, the gravitational bending of light, and the creation/evolution (...) debate, for example. What emerges is a view of science in which observation relies on theory to give it meaning and credibility, while theory relies on observation for its motivation and validation. It is shown that this reciprocal support is not circular since the theory used to support a particular observation is independent of the theory for which the observation serves as evidence. (shrink)
This book puts forth a radically new conception of science. Maxwell argues that the prevailing view of the relation between scientific theory and evidence is untenable; he calls for a new orthodoxy that sees science as making a hierarchy of assumptions about the comprehensibility of the universe. This new conception has significant implications for both philosophy and science, promises to heal the rift between the two, and will be essential reading for people working in both fields.
This is the first comprehensive view of the work of scholars in several different disciplines contributing to the development of the psychology of science. This new field of inquiry is a systematic elaboration and application of psychological concepts and methods to clarify the nature of the scientific enterprise. While the psychology of science overlaps the philosophy, history, and sociology of science in important ways, its predominant focus is on individuals and small groups, rather than broad social institutions and concepts. The (...) introduction surveys the field and traces its evolution in a historical context. Several contributors address epistemological issues raised by the psychology of science. Subsequent chapters discuss developments in the cognitive psychology of science, scientific theory, and the influence of social relationships on scientists' work. The conclusion proposes an agenda for further progress in this new approach to understanding science. (shrink)
Scientists and 'anti-scientists' alike need a more realistic image of science. The traditional mode of research, academic science, is not just a 'method': it is a distinctive culture, whose members win esteem and employment by making public their findings. Fierce competition for credibility is strictly regulated by established practices such as peer review. Highly specialized international communities of independent experts form spontaneously and generate the type of knowledge we call 'scientific' - systematic, theoretical, empirically-tested, quantitative, and so on. Ziman shows (...) that these familiar 'philosophical' features of scientific knowledge are inseparable from the ordinary cognitive capabilities and peculiar social relationships of its producers. This wide-angled close-up of the natural and human sciences recognizes their unique value, whilst revealing the limits of their rationality, reliability, and universal applicability. It also shows how, for better or worse, the new 'post-academic' research culture of teamwork, accountability, etc. is changing these supposedly eternal philosophical characteristics. (shrink)
Holding the promise of both emancipation and oppression, technology at once terrifies and disturbs the social order. Its dazzles, seduces, yet it also unsettles and raises the specter of the loss of human values and our replacement by machines and silicon. In Living with Technology , Hans Oberdiek and Mary Tiles explore the cultural and philosophical tensions shrouding technology and its place in society. Examing the relationship between instrumental reason and technology, fact and value, efficient and responsibility, Oberdiek and Tiles (...) employ an accessibile and philosophical methodology to assess the embeddness of technology in daily life. Investigating such aspects of technology as its transfer to third world nations and the genetic development of seeds, Oberdiek and Tiles give the strictly practical a compellingly philosophical look--analyzing why, in fact, the West often uses technology to do rather stupid things in rather clever ways. (shrink)
The volume is a collection of essays devoted to the analysis of scientific change and stability. It explores the balance and tension that exist between commensurability and continuity on the one hand, and incommensurability and discontinuity on the other. Moreover, it discusses some central epistemological consequences regarding the nature of scientific progress, rationality and realism. In relation to these topics, it investigates a number of new avenues, and revisits some familiar issues, with a focus on the history and philosophy of (...) physics, and an emphasis on developments in cognitive sciences as well as on the claims of “new experimentalists”.The book constitutes fully revised versions of papers which were originally presented at the international colloquium held at the University of Nancy, France, in June 2004. Each paper is followed by a critical commentary. The conference was a striking example of the sort of genuine dialogue that can take place between philosophers of science, historians of science and scientists who come from different traditions and endorse opposing commitments. This is one of the attractions of the volume. (shrink)
In Natural Minds Thomas Polger advocates, and defends, the philosophical theory that mind equals brain—that sensations are brain processes—and in doing so brings the mind-brain identity theory back into the philosophical debate about consciousness. The version of identity theory that Polger advocates holds that conscious processes, events, states, or properties are type- identical to biological processes, events, states, or properties— a "tough-minded" account that maintains that minds are necessarily indentical to brains, a position held by few current identity theorists. Polger's (...) approach to what William James called the "great blooming buzzing confusion" of consciousness begins with the idea that we need to know more about brains in order to understand consciousness fully, but recognizes that biology alone cannot provide the entire explanation. Natural Minds takes on issues from philosophy of mind, philosophy of science, and metaphysics, moving freely among them in its discussion. -/- Polger begins by answering two major objections to identity theory—Hilary Putnam's argument from multiple realizability (which discounts identity theory because creatures with brains unlike ours could also have mental states) and Saul Kripke's modal argument against mind-brain identity (based on the apparent contingency of the indentity statement). He then offers a detailed account of functionalism and functional realization, which offer the most serious obstacle to consideration of identity theory. Polger argues that identity theory can itself satisfy the kind of explanatory demands that are often believed to favor functionalism. (shrink)
Scientific uncertainty puzzles many people. The puzzlement arises when scientists have more than one answer, and disagree among themselves. This book helps people find their way through this maze of scientific contradiction and uncertainty. By acquainting them with the ways that uncertainty arises in science, how scientists accommodate and make use of uncertainty, and how they reach conclusions in the face of uncertainty, the book enables readers to confidently evaluate uncertainty from their own perspectives, in terms of their own experiences.
This book explores the epistemology and the methodology of political knowledge and social inquiry. What can we know, and how do we know? Friedrich V. Kratochwil and Ted Hopf question all foundational claims of inquiry and envisage science as a self-reflective practice. Brian Pollins and Fred Chernoff accept their arguments to some degree and explore the implications for logical positivism. David A. Waldner, Jack Levy, and Andrew Lawrence address the purpose and methods of research. They debate the role of explanation (...) versus prediction, the relationship of theory to evidence, and their implications for the Democratic Peace research program. A concluding chapter by Mark Lichbach offers a pluralistic reformulation of neopositivism. An alternative conclusion by Steven Bernstein, Richard Ned Lebow, Janice Gross Stein and Steven Weber contends that social science should be modeled on medicine and reformulated as a set of case-based diagnostic tools. The distinguishing feature of the book is the inclusion of authors who represent different approaches to social science and their willingness to engage with one another in a constructive debate. (shrink)
Introduction to the Philosophy of Science: Cutting Nature at Its Seams is a clear and lively explanation of key concepts and issues in the philosophy of science. It surveys the field from positivism to social constructivism, focusing on the metaphysical implications of science as a form of knowledge gathering that explains what the world is really like, while simultaneously arguing for the superiority of a holistic model of scientific theories over competing models. An innovative feature is the use of immunology (...) as the central domain of illustration, in contrast to other philosophy of science texts that draw examples predominantly from physics. The text also presents Thomas Kuhn's model of science clearly and accurately, rectifying the notorious and widespread misinterpretations projected upon it in the past. Klee discusses both traditional models of science and alternative interpretations, most notably nonfeminist and feminist models inspired by the work of Kuhn. Richly illustrated and complete with a glossary of over eighty key terms, this book serves as an ideal text for undergraduates, because it presents a highly accessible and contemporary investigation of science as a form of inquiry capable of revealing to us the structure of the world. (shrink)
What is science? How is scientific knowledge affected by the society that produces it? Does scientific knowledge directly correspond to reality? Can we draw a line between science and pseudo-science? Will it ever be possible for computers to undertake scientific investigation independently? Is there such a thing as feminist science? In this book the author addresses questions such as these using a technique of 'cognitive play', which creates and explores new links between the ideas and results of contemporary history, philosophy, (...) and sociology of science. New ideas and approaches are applied to a wide range of case studies, many of them from controversial and contested science. This book will be of interest to historians and sociologists of science, to anyone interested in science studies, and to educated general readers with an interest in the history, philosophy, and social context of science. (shrink)
This second edition of Women, Knowledge and Reality continues to exhibit the ways in which feminist philosophers enrich and challenge philosophy. Essays by twenty-five feminist philosophers, seventeen of them new to the second edition, address fundamental issues in philosophical and feminist methods, metaphysics, epistemology, and the philosophies of science, language, religion and mind/body. This second edition expands the perspectives of women of color, of postmodernism and French feminism, and focuses on the most recent controversies in feminist theory and philosophy. The (...) chapters are organized by traditional fields of philosophy, and include introductions which contrast the ideas of feminist thinkers with traditional philosophers. The collected essays illustrate both the depth and breadth of feminist critiques and the range of contemporary feminist theoretical perspectives. (shrink)
There has been much debate recently about the relationship between science and politics. This volume of essays takes an affirming, positive view of the relationship between the values embodied in science (such as honesty and precision of language) and the nature of civil society. The contributors - who include philosophers, political scientists, feminist theorists, physicists and engineers - argue that science can broadly inspire the civic virtues of an educated and tolerant global enterprise dedicated to the common good.
This book introduces social scientists to the difference that critical realism can make to theorizing and methodological problems within the contemporary social sciences. The chapters, which cover such topics as cultural studies, feminism, globalization, heterodox economics, education policy, the self, and the "underclass" debate, are arranged in four sections dealing with some of the major topics in contemporary social science: ethics, the consequences of the "linguistic turn", methodology and globalization.
Why believe in the findings of science? John Ziman argues that scientific knowledge is not uniformly reliable, but rather like a map representing a country we cannot visit. He shows how science has many elements, including alongside its experiments and formulae the language and logic, patterns and preconceptions, facts and fantasies used to illustrate and express its findings. These elements are variously combined by scientists in their explanations of the material world as it lies outside our everyday experience. John Ziman’s (...) book offers at once a valuably clear account and a radically challenging investigation of the credibility of scientific knowledge, searching widely across a range of disciplines for evidence about the perceptions, paradigms and analogies on which all our understanding depends. (shrink)
Scientific Inquiry: Readings in the Philosophy of Science features an impressive collection of classical and contemporary readings on a wide range of issues in the philosophy of science. The volume is organized into six sections, each with its own introduction, and includes a general introduction that situates the philosophy of science in relation to other areas of intellectual inquiry. The selections focus on the main issues in the field, including the structure of scientific theories, models of scientific explanation, reductionism, historicist (...) challenges to the objectivity of science, and the dispute over the ontological interpretation of mature scientific theories. Both the positivist model of science and its competitors, including contemporary social constructivist models, are included. Ideal for introductory philosophy of science courses, Scientific Inquiry strives to provide students and other readers with a thorough knowledge of the philosophical complexity of modern science and an appreciation of its authoritative intellectual standing in contemporary life. (shrink)
In this book, Carl Cranor utilizes material from ethics, philosophy of law, epidemiology, tort law, regulatory law, and risk assessment to argue that the evidentiary standards for science used in the law to control toxics ought to be ...
Lakatos, I. History of science and its rational reconstructions.--Clark, P. Atomism vs. thermodynamics.--Worrall, J. Thomas Young and the "rufutation" of Newtonian optics.--Musgrave, A. Why did oxygen supplant phlogiston?--Zahar, E. Why did Einstein's programme supersede Lorentz's?--Frické, M. The rejection of Avogadro's hypotheses.--Feyerabend, P. On the critique of scientific reason.
This book presents the current feminist critique of science and the philosophy of science in such a way that students of philosophy of science, philosophers, feminist theorists, and scientists will find the material accessible and intellectually rigorous.Contemporary feminist debate, as well as the debate brought on by the radical critics of science, assumes—incorrectly—that certain movements in philosophy of science and science-driven theory are understood in their dynamics as well as in their details. All too often, labels such as “Kuhnian” or (...) “positivistic” are taken for granted, and much of the contemporary postmodern or post-structuralist feminist theory that sets out to criticize science does little to alleviate the reader’s lack of knowledge with regard to such movements.Unlike other texts, Philosophies of Science: Feminist Theories provides a student-oriented framework so that, for example, positivism is given a thorough grounding before the feminist critique of such epistemological theory is given. Other movements discussed include the Kuhnian turn, sociology of science, and the radical critique of science. Feminist theory and critique are interwoven throughout, with one chapter devoted to feminist thought, which includes the work of such thinkers as Longino, Hararway, Hubbard, Nelson, Harding, and Keller. (shrink)