- 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 5: Relativism and the Value of Science
Relativism and the Value of Science
In Chapter 4, I discussed Thomas Kuhn's critique of the common view that science has increased our knowledge of the world enormously through using objective and shared standards for assessing theories. Like Kuhn, Paul Feyerabend has claimed that this view of scientific knowledge is deeply mistaken, as science sometimes does not lead to an accumulation of knowledge on the basis of objective and shared standards. Rather, it contains revolutionary episodes during which existing theories are completely overthrown, and our standards of theory appraisal are radically changed. He also argues that the transition from pre-science to science contains similar revolutionary episodes. Unlike Kuhn, Feyerabend sometimes argues that such changes can be so thorough that it ...