Review of Metaphysics 22 (4):765-766 (1969)

In his preface, Smart tells us that there are three types of treatises on the philosophy of science: the philosopher's philosophy of science, "baby" philosophy of science, and the scientist's philosophy of science. He classifies his own attempt as "a not too technical scientist's philosophy of science." But this book is an excellent introduction to contemporary philosophy of science for anyone interested in the topic. Smart writes lucidly and has the gift of carrying the reader from the most elementary issues to some of the most recent controversies and disputes. Many of the usual topics are covered including the nature of theories, laws, explanation in the different sciences, induction, and probability. But Smart also gives a heavy emphasis to problems of space and time, especially the "direction of time." He has adopted the excellent device of supplying a commentary on further reading at the end of each chapter which enables the student to pursue topics in greater depth. Smart's own views, familiar to those who know his work, are not hidden here but there is a serious attempt to report different views and to provide the reader with the information needed to explore controversies. As an introduction for the intelligent student, this now stands as one of the best books available.--R. J. B.
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DOI revmetaph1969224124
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