Synopses & Reviews
During the last three decades, reflections on the growth of scientific knowledge have inspired historians, sociologists, and some philosophers to contend that scientific objectivity is a myth. In this book, Kitcher attempts to resurrect the notions of objectivity and progress in science by identifying both the limitations of idealized treatments of growth of knowledge and the overreactions to philosophical idealizations. Recognizing that science is done not by logically omniscient subjects working in isolation, but by people with a variety of personal and social interests, who cooperate and compete with one another, he argues that, nonetheless, we may conceive the growth of science as a process in which both our vision of nature and our ways of learning more about nature improve. Offering a detailed picture of the advancement of science, he sets a new agenda for the philosophy of science and for other "science studies" disciplines.
"Philip Kitcher, in his excellent new book, provides something that has not been available before: a careful, detailed and systematic attempt to show that what's wrong with traditional accounts of science can be conceded...without thereby sacrificing at any rate the core claims of scientific rationalists....Few philosophers will fail to agree that this book constitutes a significant step forward in the discipline"--Times Higher Education Supplement
"[Kitcher] makes an important contribution that will enable philosophers once more to give credit to those parts of science where credit is due....A book that is destined to be discussed by all those interested in science for some years to come."--New York Times Book Review
"A must for philosophers, historians, and sociologists of sciences as well as for reflective scientists."--Choice
"This will be a book of major significance in philosophy of science. It develops an approach that incorporates historical, social, economic, and psychological aspects of science without giving up the kind of logical rigor that has always characterized Kitcher's work (as well as that of such philosophers as Hempel and Carnap). As I see it, this work should provide a substantial synthesis of the great traditions associated respectively with Kuhn and Hempel. Impressively innovative, it constitutes a large step forward in the discipline."--Wesley C. Salmon, University of Pittsburgh
"An essential text for anyone concerned with the fundamental issues it addresses....The book is full of insightful and important ideas and analysis, and is written with the clarity and force of argument that readers of Kitcher's earlier works will expect. There can be no doubt that it constitutes a significant contribution to fundamental issues in the philosophy of science."--The Philosophical Review
This ambitious book presents a new interpretation of Chinese thought guided both by a philosopher's sense of mystery and by a sound philosophical theory of meaning. That dual goal, Hansen argues, requires a unified translation theory. It must provide a single coherent account of the issues
that motivated both the recently untangled Chinese linguistic analysis and the familiar moral-political disputes. Hansen's unified approach uncovers a philosophical sophistication in Daoism that traditional accounts have overlooked. The Daoist theory treats the imperious intuitionism that
alienates critical thinkers as a feature of Confucianism alone. Freed from the view that Confucianism is the core of Chinese thought and from myopic Confucian interpretations, Chinese thinkers emerge as unmistakably philosophical.
Includes bibliographical references (p. 392-406) and index.