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Theory and Reality: An Introduction to the Philosophy of Science

by Peter Godfrey-Smith University of Chicago Press
Pub Date:
09/2005
ISBN:
9780226300627
Format:
Hbk 288 pages
Price:
AU$135.00 NZ$139.13
Product Status: Reprint Under Consideration
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What makes science different from other ways of investigating the world? In Theory and Reality, Peter Godfrey-Smith uses debates--such as the problem of confirmation, the new riddle of induction, and the problem of scientific realism--as a way to introduce, in a completely accessible way, the main themes in the philosophy of science. Intended for undergraduates and general readers with no prior background in philosophy, Theory and Reality starts by surveying the last hundred years of work in the field. It covers logical positivism; induction and confirmation; Karl Popper's theory of science; Thomas Kuhn and ''scientific revolutions''; the radical views of Imre Lakatos, Larry Laudan, and Paul Feyerabend; and challenges to the field from sociology of science, feminism, and science studies. The book then looks in detail at some of the broader philosophical issues at stake, such as philosophical naturalism, scientific realism, theories of explanation in science, Bayesianism, and other modern theories of evidence. Finally, Godfrey-Smith presents his own proposal for approaching the philosophy of science. Throughout the text he points out connections between philosophical debates and wider discussions about science in recent decades, such as the infamous ''science wars.'' Examples and asides engage the beginning student, a glossary of terms explains key concepts, and suggestions for further reading are included at the end of each chapter.
Like no other text in this field, Theory and Reality combines a survey of recent history of the philosophy of science with current key debates in language that any beginning scholar or critical reader can follow.
''While addressing important issues (such as the difference between logical positivism and logical empiricism), Godfrey-Smith displays consistent clarity. It is truly refreshing to read a text that is thorough, clear, and penetrating. Students with little or no background in philosophy or philosophy of science will find this book to be extremely worthwhile. Professionals in other fields and other disciplines will appreciate the breadth and depth. . . .Whether you teach philosophy of science, or whether you are simple interested in issues relating science, philosophy, history, and other fields, I am confident that you'll find ''Theory and Reality'' an accessible and rewarding read.''--;br>--James Sage ''Metapsychology ''
Dept of Philosophy, Stanford University, California.