Since the late 1980s, the neglect of experiment by philosophers and historians of science has been replaced by a keen interest in the subject. In this volume, a number of prominent philosophers of experiment directly address basic theoretical questions, develop existing philosophical accounts, and offer novel perspectives on the subject, rather than rely exclusively on historical cases of experimental practice. Each essay examines one or more of six interconnected themes that run throughout the collection: the philosophical implications of actively and intentionally interfering with the material world while conducting experiments; issues of interpretation regarding causality; the link between science and technology; the role of theory in experimentation involving material and causal intervention; the impact of modeling and computer simulation on experimentation; and the philosophical implications of the design, operation, and use of scientific instruments.
Originally published as "Scientific Research, "this pair of volumes constitutes a fundamental treatise on the strategy of science. Mario Bunge, one of the major figures of the century in the development of a scientific epistemology, describes and analyzes scientific philosophy, as well as discloses its philosophical presuppositions. This work may be used as a map to identify the various stages in the road to scientific knowledge. "Philosophy of Science "is divided into two volumes, each with two parts. Part 1 offers a preview of the scheme of science and the logical and semantical took that will be used throughout the work. The account of scientific research begins with part 2, where Bunge discusses formulating the problem to be solved, hypothesis, scientific law, and theory. The second volume opens with part 3, which deals with the application of theories to explanation, prediction, and action. This section is graced by an outstanding discussion of the philosophy of technology. Part 4 begins with measurement and experiment. It then examines risks in jumping to conclusions from data to hypotheses as well as the converse procedure. Bunge begins this mammoth work with a section entitled "How to Use This Book." He writes that it is intended for both independent reading and reference as well as for use in courses on scientific method and the philosophy of science. It suits a variety of purposes from introductory to advanced levels. "Philosophy of Science "is a versatile, informative, and useful text that will benefit professors, researchers, and students in a variety of disciplines, ranging from the behavioral and biological sciences to the physical sciences.
This is a comprehensive collection of essays that explores cutting-edge work in experimental philosophy, a radical new movement that applies quantitative and empirical methods to traditional topics of philosophical inquiry. Situates the discipline within Western philosophy and then surveys the work of experimental philosophers by sub-discipline Contains insights for a diverse range of fields, including linguistics, cognitive science, anthropology, economics, and psychology, as well as almost every area of professional philosophy today Edited by two rising scholars who take a broad and inclusive approach to the field Offers a complete introduction for non-specialists and students to the central approaches, findings, challenges, and controversies in experimental philosophy
Using formal logic, Reconstructing the Past seeks to clarify and resolve themethodological issues that arise when biologists try to answer such questions as whether humanbeings are more closely related to chimps than they are to gorillas. It explores the case forconsidering the philosophical idea of simplicity/parsimony as a useful principle for evaluatingtaxonomic theories of evolutionary relationships. Bringing together philosophy, biology, andstatistics, Sober builds a general framework for understanding the circumstances in which parsimonymakes sense as a tool of phylogenetic inference.Elliott Sober is Professor of Philosophy at theUniversity of Wisconsin, Madison, and the author of The Nature of Selection.
This volume is a contribution to the ongoing debate on the distinction between a ‘context of justification’ and a ‘context of discovery’. It is meant for researchers and advanced students in philosophy of science, and for natural and social scientists interested in foundational topics. Spanning a wide range of disciplines, it combines the viewpoint of philosophers and scientists and casts a new interdisciplinary perspective on the problem of observation and experimentation.
This third volume of Boston Studies in the Philosophy of Science contains papers which are based upon Colloquia from 1964 to 1966. In most cases, they have been substantially modified subsequent to presentation and discussion. Once again we publish work which goes beyond technical analysis of scientific theories and explanations in order to include philo sophical reflections upon the history of science and also upon the still problematic interactions between metaphysics and science. The philo sophical history of scientific ideas has increasingly been recognized as part of the philosophy of science, and likewise the cultural context of the genesis of such ideas. There is no school or attitude to be taken as de fining the scope or criteria of our Colloquium, and so we seek to under stand both analytic and historical aspects of science. This volume, as the previous two, constitutes a substantial part of our final report to the U. S. National Science Foundation, which has continued its support of the Boston Colloquium for the Philosophy of Science by a grant to Boston University. That report will be concluded by a subse quent volume of these Studies. It is a pleasure to record our thanks to the Foundation for its confidence and funds. We dedicate this book to the memory of Norwood Russell Hanson. During this academic year of 1966-67, this beloved and distinguished American philosopher participated in our Colloquium, and he did so before.
From Lucretius throwing a spear beyond the boundary of the universe to Einstein racing against a beam of light, thought experiments stand as a fascinating challenge to the necessity of data in the empirical sciences. Are these experiments, conducted uniquely in our imagination, simply rhetorical devices or communication tools or are they an essential part of scientific practice? This volume surveys the current state of the debate and explores new avenues of research into the epistemology of thought experiments.
Scientists use concepts and principles that are partly specific for their subject matter, but they also share part of them with colleagues working in different fields. Compare the biological notion of a 'natural kind' with the general notion of 'confirmation' of a hypothesis by certain evidence. Or compare the physical principle of the 'conservation of energy' and the general principle of 'the unity of science'. Scientists agree that all such notions and principles aren't as crystal clear as one might wish. An important task of the philosophy of the special sciences, such as philosophy of physics, of biology and of economics, to mention only a few of the many flourishing examples, is the clarification of such subject specific concepts and principles. Similarly, an important task of 'general' philosophy of science is the clarification of concepts like 'confirmation' and principles like 'the unity of science'. It is evident that clarfication of concepts and principles only makes sense if one tries to do justice, as much as possible, to the actual use of these notions by scientists, without however following this use slavishly. That is, occasionally a philosopher may have good reasons for suggesting to scientists that they should deviate from a standard use. Frequently, this amounts to a plea for differentiation in order to stop debates at cross-purposes due to the conflation of different meanings. While the special volumes of the series of Handbooks of the Philosophy of Science address topics relative to a specific discipline, this general volume deals with focal issues of a general nature. After an editorial introduction about the dominant method of clarifying concepts and principles in philosophy of science, called explication, the first five chapters deal with the following subjects. Laws, theories, and research programs as units of empirical knowledge (Theo Kuipers), various past and contemporary perspectives on explanation (Stathis Psillos), the evaluation of theories in terms of their virtues (Ilkka Niiniluto), and the role of experiments in the natural sciences, notably physics and biology (Allan Franklin), and their role in the social sciences, notably economics (Wenceslao Gonzalez). In the subsequent three chapters there is even more attention to various positions and methods that philosophers of science and scientists may favor: ontological, epistemological, and methodological positions (James Ladyman), reduction, integration, and the unity of science as aims in the sciences and the humanities (William Bechtel and Andrew Hamilton), and logical, historical and computational approaches to the philosophy of science (Atocha Aliseda and Donald Gillies). The volume concludes with the much debated question of demarcating science from nonscience (Martin Mahner) and the rich European-American history of the philosophy of science in the 20th century (Friedrich Stadler). Comprehensive coverage of the philosophy of science written by leading philosophers in this field Clear style of writing for an interdisciplinary audience No specific pre-knowledge required
Philosophy of Experimental Biology explores some central philosophical issues concerning scientific research in experimental biology, including genetics, biochemistry, molecular biology, developmental biology, neurobiology, and microbiology. It seeks to make sense of the explanatory strategies, concepts, ways of reasoning, approaches to discovery and problem solving, tools, models and experimental systems deployed by scientific life science researchers and also integrates developments in historical scholarship, in particular the New Experimentalism. It concludes that historical explanations of scientific change that are based on local laboratory practice need to be supplemented with an account of the epistemic norms and standards that are operative in science. This book should be of interest to philosophers and historians of science as well as to scientists.
Drawing on the results of his own scholarly research as well as that of others the author offers, for the first time, a comprehensive and documented history of theories of the atom from Democritus to the twentieth century. This is not history for its own sake. By critically reflecting on the various versions of atomic theories of the past the author is able to grapple with the question of what sets scientific knowledge apart from other kinds of knowledge, philosophical knowledge in particular. He thereby engages historically with issues concerning the nature and status of scientific knowledge that were dealt with in a more abstract way in his What Is This Thing Called Science?, a book that has been a standard text in philosophy of science for three decades and which is available in nineteen languages. Speculations about the fundamental structure of matter from Democritus to the seventeenth-century mechanical philosophers and beyond are construed as categorically distinct from atomic theories amenable to experimental investigation and support and as contributing little to the latter from a historical point of view. The thesis will provoke historians and philosophers of science alike and will require a revision of a range of standard views in the history of science and philosophy. The book is key reading for students and scholars in History and Philosophy of Science and will be instructive for and provide a challenge to philosophers, historians and scientists more generally.
Australia and New Zealand boast an active community of scholars working in the field of history, philosophy and social studies of science. Australasian Studies in History and Philosophy of Science aims to provide a distinctive publication outlet for their work. Each volume comprises a group of thematically-connected essays edited by scholars based in Australia or New Zealand with special expertise in that particular area. In each volume, a majority ofthe contributors are from Australia or New Zealand. Contributions from elsewhere are by no means ruled out, however, and are actively encouraged wherever appropriate to the balance of the volume in question. Earlier volumes in the series have been welcomed for significantly advancing the discussion of the topics they have dealt with. I believe that the present volume will be greeted equally enthusiastically by readers in many parts of the world. R. W. Home General Editor Australasian Studies in History And Philosophy of Science viii ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS The majority of the papers in this collection had their origin in the 2001 Australasian Association for History, Philosophy, and Social Studies of Science annual conference, held at the University of Melbourne, where streams of papers on the themes of scientific realism and commonsense were organised.
This richly textured book bridges analytic and hermeneutic and phenomenological philosophy of science. It features unique resources for students of the philosophy and history of quantum mechanics and the Copenhagen Interpretation, cognitive theory and the psychology of perception, the history and philosophy of art, and the pragmatic and historical relationships between religion and science.
This is a collection of high-quality research papers in the philosophy of science, deriving from papers presented at the second meeting of the European Philosophy of Science Association in Amsterdam, October 2009.
This work counters historiographies that search for the origins of modern science within the experimental practices of Europe’s first scientific institutions, such as the Cimento. It proposes that we should look beyond the experimental rhetoric found in published works, to find that the Cimento academicians were participants in a culture of natural philosophical theorising that existed throughout Europe.
In contemporary philosophy of science, ontological reductionism, or the claim that everything that exists in the world is something physical, is the consensus mainstream position. Contrary to a widespread belief, this book establishes that ontological and epistemological reductionism stand or fall together. The author proposes a new strategy of conservative theory reduction that operates by means of the construction of functional sub-concepts that are coextensional with physical concepts. Thus, a complete conservative reductionism is established that vindicates both the indispensable scientific character of the special sciences and their reducibility to physics. The second part of the book works this strategy out, using the example of classical and molecular genetics.
Like any goal-oriented procedure, experiment is subject to many kinds of failures. These failures have a variety of features, depending on the particulars of their sources. For the experimenter these pitfalls should be avoided and their effects minimized. For the historian-philosopher of science and the science educator, on the other hand, they are instructive starting points for reflecting on science in general and scientific method and practice in particular. Often more is learned from failure than from confirmation and successful application. The identification of error, its source, its context, and its treatment shed light on both practices and epistemic claims. This book shows that it is fruitful to bring to light forgotten and lost failures, subject them to analysis and learn from their moral. The study of failures, errors, pitfalls and mistakes helps us understand the way knowledge is pursued and indeed generated. The book presents both historical accounts and philosophical analyses of failures in experimental practice. It covers topics such as "error as an object of study", "learning from error", "concepts and dead ends", "instrumental artifacts", and "surprise and puzzlement". This book will be of interest to historians, philosophers, and sociologists of science as well as to practicing scientists and science educators.
This 1983 book is a lively and clearly written introduction to the philosophy of natural science, organized around the central theme of scientific realism. It has two parts. 'Representing' deals with the different philosophical accounts of scientific objectivity and the reality of scientific entities. The views of Kuhn, Feyerabend, Lakatos, Putnam, van Fraassen, and others, are all considered. 'Intervening' presents the first sustained treatment of experimental science for many years and uses it to give a new direction to debates about realism. Hacking illustrates how experimentation often has a life independent of theory. He argues that although the philosophical problems of scientific realism can not be resolved when put in terms of theory alone, a sound philosophy of experiment provides compelling grounds for a realistic attitude. A great many scientific examples are described in both parts of the book, which also includes lucid expositions of recent high energy physics and a remarkable chapter on the microscope in cell biology.
The institutionalization of History and Philosophy of Science as a distinct field of scholarly endeavour began comparatively earl- though not always under that name - in the Australasian region. An initial lecturing appointment was made at the University of Melbourne immediately after the Second World War, in 1946, and other appoint ments followed as the subject underwent an expansion during the 1950s and 1960s similar to that which took place in other parts of the world. Today there are major Departments at the University of Melbourne, the University of New South Wales and the University of Wollongong, and smaller groups active in many other parts of Australia and in New Zealand. "Australasian Studies in History and Philosophy of Science" aims to provide a distinctive publication outlet for Australian and New Zealand scholars working in the general area of history, philosophy and social studies of science. Each volume comprises a group of essays on a connected theme, edited by an Australian or a New Zealander with special expertise in that particular area. Papers address general issues, however, rather than local ones; parochial topics are avoided. Further more, though in each volume a majority of the contributors is from Australia or New Zealand, contributions from elsewhere are by no means ruled out. Quite the reverse, in fact - they are actively encour aged wherever appropriate to the balance of the volume in question.