- 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
Chapter 1: Theory and Observation
Theory and Observation
It is widely believed that many scientific theories have been justified objectively and that we know they give us a true picture of the world. In contrast, the claims of philosophers and the pronouncements of religions, no matter how plausible, are widely believed to be speculative and dubitable. The belief that many scientific theories have been justified objectively is allied to the view that scientific theories can be justified by observation because observation gives us direct access to the world. Taking this view, science provides an ideal method for acquiring knowledge which should be emulated whenever possible – the answer to the central problem of epistemology, ‘how can we get knowledge?’, is ‘follow the methods of science as much as ...