Boston Studies in the Philosophy of Science, II [Book Review]

Review of Metaphysics 19 (4):820-821 (1966)

Dedicated to Philipp Frank and containing introductory greetings to Frank by some of his more illustrious pupils and colleagues, the essays in this volume cover the proceedings of the Boston Colloquium for the Philosophy of Science, 1962-1964. The essays deal with most of the important problems in the philosophy of science from physics to the biological sciences and psychology, and include approaches from diverse traditions: Whiteheadian, Scientific Realism, Thomistic, Phenomenological, as well as historical approaches. High points were McMullin's "From Matter to Mass," which contained a highly sensitive analysis of the Aristotelian doctrine of prime matter; Sellars's "The Identity Approach to the Mind-Body Problem"; Capek's "The Myth of Frozen Passage," which very ably took to task some historical and theoretical overextensions of Relativity Theory and spatializations of time which have resulted in the Block-Universe theory: the fact that Donald Williams commented on Capek's paper made it all the more interesting as it was William's theory in particular that was under attack. The best part of the book, however, was an approximately one hundred page exchange on the nature of scientific explanation which included a lead paper by J. J. C. Smart and lengthy commentaries by Sellars, Putnam, and Feyerabend. The issue, in part, was the radical-replaceability-of-frameworks theory of Feyerabend versus the gradual-replacement theory of Sellars.—E. A. R.
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