Getting to Know the World Scientifically: An Objective View
This undergraduate textbook introduces some fundamental issues in philosophy of science for students of philosophy and science students. The book is divided into two parts. Part 1 deals with knowledge and values. Chap. 1 presents the classical conception of knowledge as initiated by the ancient Greeks and elaborated during the development of science, introducing the central concepts of truth, belief and justification. Aspects of the quest for objectivity are taken up in the following two chapters. Moral issues are broached in Chap. 4, which discusses some aspects of the use and abuse of science, taking up the responsibilities of scientists in properly conducting their business and decision-makers in their concerns with the import of science for society. Part 2 contrasts the view of scientific progress as the rejecting of old hypotheses and theories and replacing them with new ones, represented by Karl Popper, with the conception of progress as accumulating knowledge, saving as much as possible from older theories, represented by Pierre Duhem. A concluding chapter defends the natural attitude of taking the theories of modern science to be literally true, i.e. realism, in the face of arguments drawn partly from the history of scientific progress in criticism of this stance.
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