Representing and Intervening: Introductory Topics in the Philosophy of Natural Science

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Cambridge University Press, Oct 20, 1983 - Philosophy - 287 pages
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This 1983 book is a lively and clearly written introduction to the philosophy of natural science, organized around the central theme of scientific realism. It has two parts. 'Representing' deals with the different philosophical accounts of scientific objectivity and the reality of scientific entities. The views of Kuhn, Feyerabend, Lakatos, Putnam, van Fraassen, and others, are all considered. 'Intervening' presents the first sustained treatment of experimental science for many years and uses it to give a new direction to debates about realism. Hacking illustrates how experimentation often has a life independent of theory. He argues that although the philosophical problems of scientific realism can not be resolved when put in terms of theory alone, a sound philosophy of experiment provides compelling grounds for a realistic attitude. A great many scientific examples are described in both parts of the book, which also includes lucid expositions of recent high energy physics and a remarkable chapter on the microscope in cell biology.
 

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Contents

Rationality
1
What is scientific realism?
21
Building and causing
32
Positivism
41
Pragmatism
58
Incommensurability
65
Reference
75
Internal realism
92
Experiment
149
Observation
167
Microscopes
186
Speculation calculation models approximations
210
The creation of phenomena
220
Measurement
233
Baconian topics
246
Experimentation and scientific realism
262

A surrogate for truth
112
Reals and representations
130

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About the author (1983)

Ian Hacking is a Canadian philosopher, specializing in the philosophy of science. Hacking was appointed visiting professor at University of California, Santa Cruz for the Winters of 2008 and 2009.

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