• 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

Popper and Mill: Fallibility, Falsification and Coherence
Popper and mill: Fallibility, falsification and coherence

According to the epistemology of Descartes and of many of his successors, we should seek indubitable statements on which to found scientific knowledge. We should also seek precisely defined, reasoning procedures which allow us to use those statements to justify scientific laws or explanations. Such reasoning procedures should themselves be based on indubitable statements. As I pointed out in the introduction to this book, developments in science, philosophy and logic have led many thinkers to doubt there is such a foundation. Scientific and philosophical theories which appeared to be based on obviously true statements have turned out to be false or dubious. I mentioned in Chapter 2 that even some propositions of ...

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