The Limits Of Science: Revised Edition
Perfected science is but an idealization that provides a useful contrast to highlight the limited character of what we do and can attain. This lies at the core of various debates in the philosophy of science and Rescher’s discussion focuses on the question: how far could science go in principle—what are the theoretical limits on science? He concentrates on what science can discover, not what it should discover. He explores in detail the existence of limits or limitations on scientific inquiry, especially those that, in principle, preclude the full realization of the aims of science, as opposed to those that relate to economic obstacles to scientific progress. Rescher also places his argument within the politics of the day, where "strident calls of ideological extremes surround us," ranging from the exaggeration that "science can do anything"—to the antiscientism that views science as a costly diversion we would be well advised to abandon. Rescher offers a middle path between these two extremes and provides an appreciation of the actual powers and limitations of science, not only to philosophers of science but also to a larger, less specialized audience.
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3 The Instability of Science
4 Complexity Escalation as an Obstacle to Completing Science
5 Against Convergentism
6 Question Dynamics and Problems of Scientific Completeness
7 The Unpredictability of Future Science
10 The Theoretical Unrealizability of Perfected Science
11 The Practical Infeasibility of Perfecting Science
12 Can Computers Overcome Our Limitations?
13 Extraterrestrial Science Could Aliens Overcome Our Limitations?
14 The Limits of Quantification in Human Affairs
15 The Limited Province of Natural Science
8 Against lnsolubilia
9 The Price of an Ultimate Theory
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