Synopses & Reviews
Many introductions to this field start with the problem of justifying scientific knowledge but Alexander Bird begins by examining the subject matter, or metaphysics, of science. Using topical scientific debates he vividly elucidates what it is for the world to be governed by laws of nature. This idea provides the basis for explanations and causes and leads to a discussion of natural kinds and theoretical entities. With this foundation in place he goes on to consider the epistemological issues of how science arrives at knowledge, favouring a treatment of scientific reasoning based on inference to the best explanation. Drawing on contemporary work in epistemology, Bird argues that scepticism about induction should not be a problem for science and examines the consequences of this position for controversies surrounding the ideas of scientific progress and scientific revolution. Bird's insightful treatment makes Philosophy of Science an ideal text for undergraduate courses. The guides to further reading provided in each chapter help the reader pursue interesting topics and facilitate the use of the book in conjunction with primary sources.
The third volume in McGill-Queen's University Press's Fundamentals of Philosophy series, Philosophy of Science is an engaging and accessible introduction to the main themes of contemporary philosophy of science. The book offers an indispensable grounding in the philosophical understanding of science and its problems.