In 1996, Alan Sokal, a Professor of Physics at New York University, wrote a paper for the cultural-studies journal Social Text, entitled: 'Transgressing the Boundaries: Towards a transformative hermeneutics of quantum gravity'. It was reviewed, accepted and published. Sokal immediately confessed that the whole article was a hoax - a cunningly worded paper designed to expose and parody the style of extreme postmodernist criticism of science. The story became front-page news around the world and triggered fierce and wide-ranging controversy. (...) -/- Sokal is one of the most powerful voices in the continuing debate about the status of evidence-based knowledge. In Beyond the Hoax he turns his attention to a new set of targets - pseudo-science, religion, and misinformation in public life. 'Whether my targets are the postmodernists of the left, the fundamentalists of the right, or the muddle-headed of all political and apolitical stripes, the bottom line is that clear thinking, combined with a respect for evidence, are of the utmost importance to the survival of the human race in the twenty-first century.' The book also includes a hugely illuminating annotated text of the Hoax itself, and a reflection on the furore it provoked. (shrink)
This paper analyzes the interaction between science, philosophy and politics (including ideology) in the early work of J. B. S. Haldane (from 1922 to 1937). This period is particularly important, not only because it is the period of Haldane's most significant biological work (both in biochemistry and genetics), but also because it is during this period that his philosophical and political views underwent their most significant transformation. His philosophical stance first changed from a radical organicism to a position (...) far more compatible with mechanical materialism. The primary intellectual influence that was responsible for this shift was that of F. G. Hopkins. Later, Haldane came to accept Marxism and its official metaphysics, dialectical materialism, a move that let him accept the materialist conception of the world while still maintaining a resolute distance from mechanism. Throughout all these changes, what is most obvious is the influence of science on Haldane's philosophical views. An influence in the opposite direction is far less apparent. (shrink)
This is an introductory essay to the symposium on Michael Friedman’s The Dynamics of Reason. It provides a summary description of the symposium and its rationale; an introduction to Michael Friedman’s views on the a priori and what it refers to as ‘developmental Kantianism’; a summary of the content of each of the four contributed papers in the symposium; and a philosophical analysis of the symposium as a whole in relation with developmental Kantianism.
When physicist Alan Sokal recently submitted an article to the postmodernist journal Social Text, the periodical's editors were happy to publish it--for here was a respected scientist offering support for the journal's view that science is a subjective, socially constructed discipline. But as Sokal himself soon revealed in Lingua Franca magazine, the essay was a spectacular hoax--filled with scientific gibberish anyone with a basic knowledge of physics should have caught--and the academic world suddenly awoke to the vast gap that (...) has opened between the scientific community and their mould-be critics. But the truth is that not only postmodern critics but Americans in general have a weak grasp on scientific principles and facts. In Connected Knowledge, physicist Alan Cromer offers a way to bridge the chasm, with a lively, lucid account of scientific thinking and a provocative new agenda for American education. Science, Cromer argues, is anything but common sense: It requires a particular habit of mind that does not come naturally. For example, something as simple as buoyancy can only be explained through Archimedes' principle--that a body in a fluid is subject to an upward force equal to the weight of fluid it displaces--yet few scientists could arrive at this ancient concept by trial and error. School children, however, are often given a ball and a tank of water, and asked to explain buoyancy any way they can. Today's de emphasis on teaching pupils necessary facts and principles, he argues, "far from empowering them, makes them slaves of their own subjective opinions." This movement in education, known as Constructivism, has close ties to postmodern critics (such as the editors of Social Text) who question the objectivity of science, and with it the existence of an objective reality. Cromer offers a ringing defense of the knowability of the world, both as an objective reality and as a finite landscape of discovery. The advance of scientific knowledge, he argues, is not unlike the mapping of the continents; at this point, we have found them all. He shows how the advent of quantum mechanics, rather than making knowledge less certain, actually offers a more precise understanding of the behavior of atoms and electrons. Turning from philosophy to education, he argues that instead of allowing students to flounder, however creatively, schools should follow a progressive curriculum that returns theoretical knowledge to the classroom. Connected Knowledge, however, goes much farther. As a discipline that insists upon connecting theory with measurable reality, physical science offers a new direction for reforming the social sciences. Cromer also shows how some of the hottest issues in public policy--including the debates over special education and group variations in I.Q., can be resolved through clear, hard headed thinking. For example, he argues for use of the G.E.D. as a national educational standard, with a new "politics of intelligence" to guide the distribution of school resources. Always forthright and articulate, Alan Cromer offers a startling new vision for integrating science, philosophy, and education. (shrink)
Although 20th-century empiricists were agnostic about animal mind and consciousness, this was not the case for their historical ancestors – John Locke, David Hume, Jeremy Bentham, John Stuart Mill, and, of course, Charles Darwin and George John Romanes. Given the dominance of the Darwinian paradigm of evolutionary continuity, one would not expect belief in animal mind to disappear. That it did demonstrates that standard accounts of how scientific hypotheses are overturned – i.e., by empirical disconfirmation or by exposure of logical (...) flaws – is inadequate. In fact, it can be demonstrated that belief in animal mind disappeared as a result of a change of values, a mechanism also apparent in the Scientific Revolution. The “valuational revolution” responsible for denying animal mind is examined in terms of the rise of Behaviorism and its flawed account of the historical inevitability of denying animal mentation. The effects of the denial of animal consciousness included profound moral implications for the major uses of animals in agriculture and scientific research. The latter is particularly notable for the denial of felt pain in animals. The rise of societal moral concern for animals, however, has driven the “reappropriation of common sense” about animal thought and feeling. (shrink)
Few can imagine a world without telephones or televisions; many depend on computers and the Internet as part of daily life. Without scientific theory, these developments would not have been possible. In this exceptionally clear and engaging introduction to philosophy of science, James Ladyman explores the philosophical questions that arise when we reflect on the nature of the scientific method and the knowledge it produces. He discusses whether fundamental philosophical questions about knowledge and reality might be answered by (...)science, and considers in detail the debate between realists and antirealists about the extent of scientific knowledge. Along the way, central topics in philosophy of science, such as the demarcation of science from non-science, induction, confirmation and falsification, the relationship between theory and observation and relativism are all addressed. Important and complex current debates over underdetermination, inference to the best explaination and the implications of radical theory change are clarified and clearly explained for those new to the subject. (shrink)
A feminist primer for philosophers of science -- The legacy of twentieth century philosophy of science -- What feminist science studies can offer -- Challenges from every direction -- The prospects of twenty-first century philosophy of science.
This accessible and engaging text explores the relationship between philosophy, science and physical geography. It addresses an imbalance that exists in opinion, teaching and to a lesser extent research, between a philosophically enriched human geography and a perceived philosophically ignorant physical geography. Science, Philosophy and Physical Geography , challenges the myth that there is a single self-evident scientific method, that can and is applied in a straightforward manner by physical geographers. It demonstrates the variety of alternative (...) philosophical perspectives. Furthermore it emphasizes the difference that the real world geographical context and the geographer make to the study of environmental phenomenon. This includes a consideration of the dynamic relationship between human and physical geography. Finally, it demonstrates the relevance of philosophy for both an understanding of published material and for the design and implementation of studies in physical geography. Key themes such as global warming, species and evolution and fluvial geomorphology are used to provide illustrations of key concepts in each chapter. Further reading is provided at the end of each chapter. (shrink)
History, Philosophy and Science Teaching argues that science teaching and science teacher education can be improved if teachers know something of the history and philosophy of science and if these topics are included in the science curriculum. The history and philosophy of science have important roles in many of the theoretical issues that science educators need to address: the goals of science education; what constitutes an appropriate science curriculum (...) for all students; how science should be taught in traditional cultures; what integrated science is; how scientific literacy can be promoted; and the conflict which can occur between science curriculum and deep-seated religious or cultural values and knowledge. In part, answers to these questions hinge on views about the nature of science, views that are best informed by historical and philosophical study. Outlining the history of liberal, or contextual, approaches to the teaching of science, Michael Matthews elaborates contemporary curriculum developments that explicitly address questions about the nature and the history of science. He provides examples of classroom teaching and develops useful arguments on constructivism, multicultural science education and teacher education. The book will appeal to school and university science teachers, educators of science teachers, and historians and philosophers of science. (shrink)
The subject which has been chosen for me is sufficiently comprehensive. Several years ago I wrote the last of a series of essays in a book called Science, Religion, and Reality , in which, as requested, I tried to sum up the contributions of the other writers, with reflections of my own. I have also given a short statement of my opinions in the first volume of that interesting book, Contemporary British Philosophy . Lastly, I have tried, in (...) a book published in the autumn of 1933, to consider the religious and philosophical implications of recent scientific theories and discoveries, and particularly of the conviction held by our leading astronomers and mathematicians that the Second Law of Thermodynamics is unassailable, so that the ultimate extinction of the universe as we know it is certain. I showed that the acceptance of this verdict raises important questions for the philosopher and theologian. (shrink)
What is science? Is there a real difference between science and myth? Is science objective? Can science explain everything? This Very Short Introduction provides a concise overview of the main themes of contemporary philosophy of science. Beginning with a short history of science to set the scene, Samir Okasha goes on to investigate the nature of scientific reasoning, scientific explanation, revolutions in science, and theories such as realism and anti-realism. He also looks (...) at philosophical issues in particular sciences, including the problem of classification in biology, and the nature of space and time in physics. The final chapter touches on the conflicts between science and religion, and explores whether science is ultimately a good thing. (shrink)
The newest addition to the successful Oxford Readings in Philosophy series, this collection contains the most important contributions to the recent debate on the philosophy of science. The contributors crystallize the often heated arguments of the last two decades, assessing the skeptical attitudes within philosophy of science and the counter-challenges of the scientific realists. Contributors include Nancy Cartwright, Brian Ellis, Arthur Fine, Clark Glymour, Larry Laudan, Peter Lipton, Alan Musgrave, Wesely C. Salmon, Lawrence Sklar, Bas (...) C. van Fraassen, and John Worrall. (shrink)
Cognitive science has always included multiple methodologies and theoretical commitments. The philosophy of cognitive science should embrace, or at least acknowledge, this diversity. Bechtel’s (2009a) proposed philosophy of cognitive science, however, applies only to representationalist and mechanist cognitive science, ignoring the substantial minority of dynamically oriented cognitive scientists. As an example of nonrepresentational, dynamical cognitive science, we describe strong anticipation as a model for circadian systems (Stepp & Turvey, 2009). We then propose a (...)philosophy of science appropriate to nonrepresentational, dynamical cognitive science. (shrink)
In this article I first sketch what I take to be two Quinean arguments for the continuity of philosophy with science. After examining Wittgenstein’s reasons for not accepting the arguments, I conclude that they are ineffective on Wittgenstein’s assumptions. Next, I ask three related questions: Where do Quine’s and Wittgenstein’s philosophical views essentially diverge? Did Wittgenstein have an argument against the continuity of science with philosophy? Did Wittgenstein believe until the end of his philosophical career that (...) scientific results are philosophically irrelevant? It will be seen that all three questions are related with Wittgenstein’s distinction between conceptual and factual issues. I conclude that the opposition between Quinean philosophy and Wittgensteinian philosophy is genuine. (shrink)
This user-friendly text covers key issues in the philosophy of science in an accessible and philosophically serious way. It will prove valuable to students studying philosophy of science as well as science students. Prize-winning author Alex Rosenberg explores the philosophical problems that science raises by its very nature and method. He skilfully demonstrates that scientific explanation, laws, causation, theory, models, evidence, reductionism, probability, teleology, realism and instrumentalism actually pose the same questions that Plato, Aristotle, (...) Descartes, Hume, Kant and their successors have grappled with for centuries. (shrink)
Jan WoleĔski Kazimierz Twardowski and the Development of Philosophy of Science in Poland Kazimierz Twardowski studied with Brentano and followed his style of doing philosophy, in particular, the thesis that the method of philosophy is ...