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Other titles in the Science & Its Conceptual Foundations series:

Theory and Reality : an Introduction To the Philosophy of Science (03 Edition)


Theory and Reality : an Introduction To the Philosophy of Science (03 Edition) Cover


Synopses & Reviews

Please note that used books may not include additional media (study guides, CDs, DVDs, solutions manuals, etc.) as described in the publisher comments.

Publisher Comments:

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.


Includes bibliographical references (p. 243-254) and index.

About the Author

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.

Table of Contents


A Note for Those Teaching with the Book

1. Introduction

1.1 Setting Out

1.2 The Scope of the Theory

1.3 What Kind of Theory?

1.4 Three Answers, or Pieces of an Answer

1.5 Historical Interlude: A Sketch of the Scientific Revolution

Further Reading

2. Logic Plus Empiricism

2.1 The Empiricist Tradition

2.2 The Vienna Circle

2.3 Central Ideas of Logical Positivism

2.4 Problems and Changes

2.5 Logical Empiricism

2.6 On the Fall of Logical Empiricism

Further Reading

3. Induction and Confirmation

3.1 The Mother of All Problems

3.2 Induction, Deduction, Confirmation, and Explanatory Inference

3.3 The Ravens Problem

3.4 Goodman's "New Riddle of Induction"

Further Reading

4. Popper: Conjecture and Refutation

4.1 Popper's Unique Place in the Philosophy of Science

4.2 Popper's Theory of Science

4.3 Popper on Scientific Change

4.4 Objections to Popper on Falsification

4.5 Objections to Popper on Confirmation

4.6 Further Comments on the Demarcation Problem

Further Reading

5. Kuhn and Normal Science

5.1 "The Paradigm Has Shifted"

5.2 Paradigms: A Closer Look

5.3 Normal Science

5.4 Anomaly and Crisis

5.5 Wrap-up of Normal Science

Further Reading

6. Kuhn and Revolutions

6.1 Considerable Upset

6.2 Revolutions and Their Aftermath

6.3 Incommensurability, Relativism, and Progress

6.4 The X-Rated "Chapter X"

6.5 Final Thoughts on Kuhn

Further Reading

7. Lakatos, Laudan, Feyerabend, and Frameworks

7.1 After Structure

7.2 Lakatos and Research Programs

7.3 Laudan and Research Traditions

7.4 Anything Goes

7.5 An Argument from History That Haunts Philosophy

7.6 Pluralism and the Ramblings of Madmen

7.7 Taking Stock: Frameworks and Two-Process Theories of Science

Further Reading

8. The Challenge from Sociology of Science

8.1 Beyond Philosophy?

8.2 Robert Merton and the "Old" Sociology of Science

8.3 The Rise of the Strong Program

8.4 Leviathan and Latour

Further Reading

9. Feminism and Science Studies

9.1 "Science Is Political"

9.2 The Man of Reason

9.3 The Case of Primatology

9.4 Feminist Epistemology

9.5 Science Studies, the Science Wars, and the Sokal Hoax

Further Reading

10. Naturalistic Philosophy in Theory and Practice

10.1 What Is Naturalism?

10.2 Quine, Dewey, and Others

10.3 The Theory-Ladenness of Observation

Further Reading

11. Naturalism and the Social Structure of Science

11.1 Science as a Process

11.2 Kitcher and the Division of Scientific Labor

11.3 Social Structure and Empiricism

Further Reading

12. Scientific Realism

12.1 Strange Debates

12.2 Approaching Scientific Realism

12.3 A Statement of Scientific Realism

12.4 Challenges from Traditional Empiricism

12.5 Metaphysical Constructivism

12.6 Van Fraassen's View

12.7 Representation, Models, and Truth (Optional Section)

Further Reading

13. Explanation

13.1 Knowing Why

13.2 The Rise and Fall of the Covering Law Theory of Explanation

13.3 Causation, Unification, and More

13.4 Laws and Causes (Optional Section)

Further Reading

14. Bayesianism and Modern Theories of Evidence

14.1 New Hope

14.2 Understanding Evidence with Probability

14.3 The Subjectivist Interpretation of Probability

14.4 Assessing Bayesianism

14.5 Scientific Realism and Theories of Evidence

14.6 Procedural Naturalism (Optional Section)

Further Reading

15. Empiricism, Naturalism, and Scientific Realism?

15.1 A Muddy Paste?

15.2 The Apparent Tensions

15.3 Empiricism Reformed

15.4 A Last Challenge

15.5 The Future




Product Details

Godfrey-smith, Peter
University of Chicago Press
Godfrey-Smith, Peter
Philosophy & Social Aspects
Philosophy & Aspects
Science -- Philosophy.
Science Reference-Philosophy of Science
Edition Description:
Science and Its Conceptual Foundations series
Publication Date:
Grade Level:
Professional and scholarly
6 line drawings
9 x 6 in

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Theory and Reality : an Introduction To the Philosophy of Science (03 Edition) Used Trade Paper
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"Synopsis" by , Includes bibliographical references (p. 243-254) and index.
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