Synopses & Reviews
What is science? Is there a real difference between science and myth? Is science objective? Can science explain everything? This Very Short Introduction provides a concise overview of the main themes of contemporary philosophy of science. Beginning with a short history of science to set the scene, Samir Okasha goes on to investigate the nature of scientific reasoning, scientific explanation, revolutions in science, and theories such as realism and anti-realism. He also looks at philosophical issues in particular sciences, including the problem of classification in biology, and the nature of space and time in physics. The final chapter touches on the conflicts between science and religion, and explores whether science is ultimately a good thing.
"Very helpful.... Okasha presents the issues and arguments with delightful clarity."--Philosophia Christi
About the Author
is currently Lecturer in Philosophy, University of York. He has published numerous articles in philosophy journals, in the areas of philosophy of science, philosophy of biology, and epistemology. He has previously held a Jacobean Fellowship in Philosophy at University of London and has taught at the University of Mexico.
Table of Contents
1. What is science?
A very short history of science
Does science have an essential nature?
Science and pseudo-science
2. Scientific reasoning
Induction and deduction
Two types of inductive reasoning
Probability and induction
3. Explanation in science
The 'covering-law' model of explanation
Alternative models of explanation
Can science explain everything?
4. Realism and anti-realism about science
Objections to scientific realism
Varieties of anti-realism
5. Scientific change and scientific revolutions
Explaining scientific change
Thomas Kuhn on 'normal' and 'revolutionary' science
Sociological accounts of scientific change
6. Philosophical problems in physics, biology and linguistics
Leibniz versus Newton onabsolute space
The problem of biological classification
Is knowledge of language innate
7. Science and its critics
Is science a good thing?
Science and religion
The science wars