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Philosophy of Science


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Table of Contents

1. Introduction 2. Discovery 3. Heuristics Exercise 1 4. Explanation 5. Justification Exercise 2 6. Observation 7. Experiment Exercise 3 8. Realism 9. Anti-Realism Exercise 4 10. Independence 11. Gender Bias Exercise 5 12. Where we've been and Where to Go for More? Further Reading Notes Index

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A succinct and engaging introduction for anyone looking to understand how and why science has shaped and changed our view of the world.

About the Author

Steven French is Professor of the Philosophy of Science at the University of Leeds. He is the author of The Structure of the World (OUP 2014) and numerous other books and articles on the philosophy of science. He is also Co-Editor of The British Journal for the Philosophy of Science and of The Bloomsbury Companion to the Philosophy of Science.


If philosophy of science baffles you, this book offers the key to unlock its mysteries. Written by a leading scholar in the field, it provides a superb introduction to core topics ranging from scientific discovery to gender bias. This book is a must-read for anyone interested in philosophical issues relating to scientific knowledge. -- Roman Frigg, Professor in Philosophy, London School of Economics and Political Science, UK
The greatest strength of this book is the use of illustrations from the history of science and of quotations from scientists, to illuminate the various issues facing those who would like to think clearly about the methods, backing, and legitimacy of the sciences. Beginning students are introduced effectively to the tensions among the articulations of scientific practice by scientists themselves. I expect that this will lead many of them to appreciate the distinctive role of philosophers of science. * Metascience *
Philosophy of Science: Key Concepts is a lively, engaging and comprehensive introduction to philosophy of science, written by one of its best contemporary practitioners. Steven French explains the mechanics of science by focusing on episodes from past and current scientific practice. He weaves the web of the major concepts that constitute the tools of the philosophical understanding of science and unravels their rich content. This book is like no other introduction I have read in making a complex conceptual terrain accessible to, and viable for, the uninitiated. A masterly achievement. -- Stathis Psillos, University of Athens & Rotman Institute of Philosophy, UWO, Greece
This is a wonderful book. It engages students with an infectious enthusiasm for science and philosophy, built on provocative examples, fascinating history, patient explanations, and no small amount of good humor. French has a terrific knack for unpacking challenging ideas in an intuitive way, without jargon, and yet rigorously. -- Anjan Chakravartty, Professor of Philosophy, University of Notre Dame, USA
In this clearly written, well-organized revision of his Science: Key Concepts in Philosophy (2007), French (philosophy of science, Univ. of Leeds, UK) provides a discussion that is cutting edge in terms of breaking discoveries. He synthesizes knowledge of entire scientific disciplines-physics, astronomy, genetics, biology, math, medicine, chemistry, paleontology, primatology, psychology, and so on-into a coherent, astute account of the whole, presenting the major philosophical concepts of "how science works." He looks at, among much else, how scientific theories are discovered; how they explain phenomena and reality; why, as Alfred North Whitehead said, one cannot know something unless one can measure it; what roles social and political factors play in scientific practice; whether science can ever be purely independent of its social context; the relation between truth, scientific theories, and scientific confirmation; how scientists come to grips with the uncertainty illustrated by the history of changing scientific theories; how social factors in general influence the objectivity of science; and how gender bias impacts science. The best introduction to date to the philosophy of science, the volume includes excellent suggested readings. Summing Up: Essential. All readers. * CHOICE *

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