Theory and Reality: An Introduction to the Philosophy of Science

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University of Chicago Press, Aug 1, 2003 - Philosophy - 272 pages
12 Reviews
How does science work? Does it tell us what the world is "really" like? What makes it different from other ways of understanding the universe? In Theory and Reality, Peter Godfrey-Smith addresses these questions by taking the reader on a grand tour of one hundred years of debate about science. The result is a completely accessible introduction to the main themes of the philosophy of science.

Intended for undergraduates and general readers with no prior background in philosophy, Theory and Reality covers logical positivism; the problems of induction and confirmation; Karl Popper's theory of science; Thomas Kuhn and "scientific revolutions"; the 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 more detail at some specific problems and theories, including scientific realism, the theory-ladeness of observation, scientific explanation, and Bayesianism. Finally, Godfrey-Smith defends a form of philosophical naturalism as the best way to solve the main problems in the field.

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. However, this is a textbook that doesn't feel like a textbook because it captures the historical drama of changes in how science has been conceived over the last one hundred years.

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.
  

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Review: Theory and Reality: An Introduction to the Philosophy of Science

User Review  - Abby Jean - Goodreads

good, solid introduction to the philosophy of science. sometimes unclear whether it was a general overview or an argument for the author's pet theories. i benefited from discussing it with others as i read it. Read full review

Review: Theory and Reality: An Introduction to the Philosophy of Science

User Review  - Jeffrey Backlin - Goodreads

A great intro into the problems and difficulties of the scientific method, theory generation and thought. Read full review

Contents

Introduction
7
12 The Scope of the Theory
8
13 What Kind of Theory?
11
14 Three Answers or Pieces of an Answer
14
A Sketch of the Scientific Revolution
19
Further Reading
24
Logic Plus Empiricism
25
22 The Vienna Circle
28
84 Leviathan and Latour
134
Further Reading
141
Feminism and Science Studies
142
92 The Man of Reason
143
93 The Case of Primatology
145
94 Feminist Epistemology
147
95 Science Studies the Science Wars and the Sokal Hoax
150
Further Reading
154

23 Central Ideas of Logical Positivism
31
24 Problems and Changes
36
25 Logical Empiricism
40
26 On the Fall of Logical Empiricism
43
Induction and Confirmation
45
32 Induction Deduction Confirmation and Explanatory Inference
46
33 The Ravens Problem
52
34 Goodmans New Riddle of Induction
56
Further Reading
62
Popper Conjecture and Refutation
63
43 Popper on Scientific Change
67
44 Objections to Popper on Falsification
69
45 Objections to Popper on Confirmation
73
46 Further Comments on the Demarcation Problem
77
Further Reading
80
Kuhn and Normal Science
81
A Closer Look
83
53 Normal Science
85
54 Anomaly and Crisis
88
55 Wrapup of Normal Science
90
Further Reading
92
Kuhn and Revolutions
93
62 Revolutions and Their Aftermath
94
63 Incommensurability Relativism and Progress
97
64 The XRated Chapter X
102
65 Final Thoughts on Kuhn
104
Further Reading
107
Lakatos Laudan Feyerabend and Frameworks
108
72 Lakatos and Research Programs
109
73 Laudan and Research Traditions
114
74 Anything Goes
116
75 An Argument from History That Haunts Philosophy
119
76 Pluralism and the Ramblings of Madmen
121
Frameworks and TwoProcess Theories of Science
123
Further Reading
127
The Challenge from Sociology of Science
128
83 The Rise of the Strong Program
131
Naturalistic Philosophy in Theory and Practice
155
102 Quine Dewey and Others
156
103 The TheoryLadenness of Observation
161
Further Reading
168
Naturalism and the Social Structure of Science
169
112 Kitcher and the Division of Scientific Labor
173
113 Social Structure and Empiricism
175
Further Reading
178
Scientific Realism
179
122 Approaching Scientific Realism
180
124 Challenges from Traditional Empiricism
186
125 Metaphysical Constructivism
187
126 Van Fraassens View
189
127 Representation Models and Truth Optional Section
192
Further Reading
195
Explanation
196
132 The Rise and Fall of the Covering Law Theory of Explanation
197
133 Causation Unification and More
200
134 Laws and Causes Optional Section
206
Further Reading
207
Bayesianism and Modern Theories of Evidence
208
142 Understanding Evidence with Probability
209
143 The Subjectivist Interpretation of Probability
211
144 Assessing Bayesianism
214
145 Scientific Realism and Theories of Evidence
216
146 Procedural Naturalism Optional Section
220
Further Reading
223
Empiricism Naturalism and Scientific Realism?
225
152 The Apparent Tensions
226
153 Empiricism Reformed
227
154 A Last Challenge
233
155 The Future
236
Glossary
239
References
249
Index
261
Copyright

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About the author (2003)

Peter Godfrey-Smith is an associate professor of philosophy and of history and philosophy of science at Stanford University. He is the author of Complexity and the Function of Mind in Nature.

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