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Introduction to the Philosophy of Science

Cutting Nature at Its Seams

Robert Klee

Publication Date - December 1996

ISBN: 9780195106114

272 pages
6-1/8 x 9-1/4 inches

In Stock


Introduction to the Philosophy of Science: Cutting Nature at Its Seams is a clear and lively explanation of key concepts and issues in the philosophy of science. It surveys the field from positivism to social constructivism, focusing on the metaphysical implications of science as a form of knowledge gathering that explains what the world is really like, while simultaneously arguing for the superiority of a holistic model of scientific theories over competing models. An innovative feature is the use of immunology as the central domain of illustration, in contrast to other philosophy of science texts that draw examples predominantly from physics. The text also presents Thomas Kuhn's model of science clearly and accurately, rectifying the notorious and widespread misinterpretations projected upon it in the past. Klee discusses both traditional models of science and alternative interpretations, most notably nonfeminist and feminist models inspired by the work of Kuhn. Richly illustrated and complete with a glossary of over eighty key terms, this book serves as an ideal text for undergraduates, because it presents a highly accessible and contemporary investigation of science as a form of inquiry capable of revealing to us the structure of the world.

Table of Contents

    1. The Case of Allergic Disease: From Everyday Observation to Microstructural Explanation
    1.1. Experimentation and Research Science
    1.1.1. Observable Mysteries
    1.1.2. Physical Microstructure
    1.2. Mechanism and Testing
    1.2.1. Mast Cell Release
    1.2.2. Immunoglobulin E
    1.3. Intervention and Manipulation
    1.3.1. Released Inflammatory Mediator Blockade
    1.3.2. Mast Cell Release Blockade
    1.3.3. Immunoglobulin E Blockade
    1.4. Unification and Explanation
    1.4.1. IgE--anthelminthic
    1.4.2. Allergy Genes
    1.4.3. Determination and Explanation
    2. The Positivist Model of Scientific Theories
    2.1. Theories as Formal Languages
    2.2. A Dummy Scientific Theory to Illustrate the Positivist Model
    3. Trouble in Positivist Paradise
    3.1. The Point of the Observational/Theoretical Distinction
    3.1.1. Ease of Application
    3.1.2. Instrumentation
    3.1.3. Putnamian Cynicism
    3.1.4. Encapsulated Information Processing
    3.1.5. Sensory Surface Distance
    3.2. Correspondence-Rules
    3.2.1. Dispositional Properties
    3.2.2. Holism
    4. The Underdetermination of Theory
    4.1. The Quine-Duhem Thesis
    4.2. Popperian Falsificationism
    4.3. Is Underdetermination a Myth?
    4.4. Pragmatism and Realism
    5. Reductionism, Antireductionism, and Supervenience
    5.1. Nagel's Model of Reduction
    5.2. Kemeny & Oppenheim's Model of Reduction
    5.3. The Unity of Science Program
    5.4. The Putnam/Fodor Multiple Realization Argument Against the Unity of Science
    5.5. Supervenience to the Rescue?
    5.5.1. Kim's Model of Supervenience
    5.5.2. Modest Physicalism
    6. The Structure of Scientific Explanation
    6.1. The Deductive-Nomological (D-N) Model of Scientific Explanation
    6.1.1. Laws of nature
    6.1.2. Standard Counterexamples to the D-N Model
    6.2. The Aleatory Model of Scientific Explanation
    6.3. The Unification Model of Scientific Explanation
    6.4. Natural Kinds, Homeostatic Property Clusters, and the Structural Basis of Reality
    7. The Revenge of Historicism
    7.1. Anti-Incrementalism
    7.2. Paradigms and the Practice of Normal Science
    7.3. Puzzle-Solving and the Cautiousness of Normal Science
    7.4. Anomalies
    7.5. Revolutionary Science
    7.6. Antirealism, Relativism, and Their Shadows
    7.7. The Case of Modern Immunology
    8. The Social Constructivist Challenge
    8.1. The Strong Programme
    8.2. Roll Over Socrates: Philosophy as the Bad Guy
    8.3. The Case Method with a Vengeance
    8.4. The View from Deep in the Swamp of History
    8.5. The Inequality of Theoretical Alternatives
    9. The Politics of Epistemology
    9.1. The Genderization of Scientific Knowledge
    9.2. Postmodernist Feminism: Sandra Harding
    9.3. Feminist Social Activism: Helen Longino
    9.4. Feminist Empiricism: Lynn Hankinson Nelson
    10. The Actual Way Things Really Are
    10.1. What Can or Cannot Happen in the Limit of Inquiry
    10.2. The Cosmic Coincidence Argument for Scientific Realism
    10.2.1. The Covergence Argument
    10.2.2. The Manipulability Argument
    10.3. The Case for Scientific Antirealism
    10.3.1. Antirealism: Success is Self-Defeating for Realism
    10.3.2. Antirealism: Success Needs No Explanation at All
    10.3.3. Antirealism: Success isn't What You Think it is
    10.3.4. Antirealism: Success May Have Nothing to Do With Truth
    10.4. Conclusion
    Suggested Readings
    Each chapter is followed by recommendations for further reading