• Summary
  • Contents
  • Subject index

This comprehensive textbook provides a clear nontechnical introduction to the philosophy of science. Through asking whether science can provide us with objective knowledge of the world, the book provides a thorough and accessible guide to the key thinkers and debates that define the field. George Couvalis surveys traditional themes around theory and observation, induction, probability, falsification and rationality as well as more recent challenges to objectivity including relativistic, feminist and sociological readings. This provides a helpful framework in which to locate the key intellectual contributions to these debates, ranging from those of Mill and Hume, through Popper and Kuhn to Laudan, Bloor and Garfinkel among

Introduction
Introduction

The methodology, metaphysical assumptions and ideals of rational conduct which underpin the natural sciences have long been of interest to philosophers. In the seventeenth century, the philosopher-scientist Rene Descartes used the science of geometry as a model of how best to conduct an inquiry. John Locke thought that by acting as a philosophical under-labourer to Newton he could discover how we come to know anything and how we learn truths about the fundamental structure of the world. As it became obvious that Newtonian mechanics was incredibly successful in producing verifiable predictions, Locke's strategy seemed to be the correct one to many thinkers. During the Enlightenment, many philosophers came to think that the proper application of scientific method would lead us to an understanding not ...

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