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Philosophy of Science

A New Introduction

Gillian Barker and Philip Kitcher

Publication Date - August 2013

ISBN: 9780195366198

192 pages
5-1/2 x 8-1/4 inches

In Stock

A lucid, wide-ranging, and accessible introduction to the current state of philosophical discussion about the natural sciences and their place in society


Offering an engaging and accessible portrait of the current state of the field, Philosophy of Science: A New Introduction shows students how to think philosophically about science and why it is both essential and fascinating to do so. Gillian Barker and Philip Kitcher reconsider the core questions in philosophy of science in light of the multitude of changes that have taken place in the decades since the publication of C.G. Hempel's classic work, Philosophy of Natural Science (1966)--both in the field and also in history and sociology of science and the sciences themselves. They explore how philosophical questions are connected to vigorous current debates--including climate change, science and religion, race, intellectual property rights, and medical research priorities--showing how these questions, and philosophers' attempts to answer them, matter in the real world.

Featuring numerous illustrative examples and extensive further reading lists, Philosophy of Science: A New Introduction is ideal for courses in philosophy of science, history and philosophy of science, and epistemology/theory of knowledge. It is also compelling and illuminating reading for scientists, science students, and anyone interested in the natural sciences and in their place in global society today.

About the Author(s)

Gillian Barker is Assistant Professor in the Department of Philosophy at Western University and a founding member of the Rotman Institute of Philosophy, an interdisciplinary research center fostering academic inquiry and public discussion concerning issues at the intersection between philosophy and the sciences.

Philip Kitcher is John Dewey Professor of Philosophy at Columbia. He is the author of books and articles on issues in the philosophy of science. He has been President of the American Philosophical Association (Pacific Division) and Editor-in-Chief of Philosophy of Science. A Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, he also received the Prometheus Prize, awarded by the American Philosophical Association for work in expanding the frontiers of science and philosophy.


"This new textbook from Barker and Kitcher is a wonderful attempt to create a new thoroughly more modern kind of general philosophy of science course that embraces the true expansiveness of the field and the modern concern of philosophers to move beyond traditional epistemological and metaphysical debates... In a very short space of text, this book makes a highly accessible case for an open and inclusive philosophy of science." --Metascience

"Gillian Barker and Philip Kitcher offer an elegant integration of ideas from the history, sociology, and philosophy of science. The discussion is philosophically rich and conceptually deep, but remains accessible throughout. Their treatment is a useful guide for anyone interested in understanding both the success of scientific methods and the limits, epistemic and moral, of scientific authority."--Bruce Glymour, Kansas State University

"Philosophy of Science: A New Introduction is an excellent work that should become a standard text in introduction to philosophy of science courses for many years to come. Its best quality is the way in which it reorients the field of philosophy of science to questions of social and political relevance."--Justin B. Biddle, Georgia Institute of Technology

"This is an excellent book written by two excellent scholars. I think that it is the first attempt to recast the format of classical philosophy of science textbooks to take into account how the field has changed since the mid-20th century. I suspect that it will quickly become the standard textbook, and also a stimulating introduction for lay readers and scientists."--Michael Weisberg, University of Pennsylvania

Table of Contents

    Each chapter ends with Suggestions for Further Reading.
    1.0 Scientific disputes and philosophical questions
    1.1 Modern science: A brief history
    1.2 Images of Science
    2.0 Demarcating Science
    2.1 Confirmation
    2.1.1 The Hypothetico-Deductive Method
    2.1.2 Confirmation and Probabilities
    2.2 Theories
    2.3 Explanation
    2.4 Failures--and Successes
    3.0 The sciences on their own terms
    3.1 The ideal of unified science
    3.2 The ineradicability of causation
    3.3 Against the supernatural
    3.4 Making sense of ourselves
    3.5 Naturalizing knowledge
    4.0 More than anecdote
    4.1 Frameworks and revolutions
    4.2 The bogey of relativism
    4.3 Success, truth, and progress
    4.4 Progress without truth?
    5.0 A mixture of challenges
    5.1 Diversity and the feminist critique
    5.2 The cultural critique
    5.3 The ecological critique
    5.4 Anti-science
    5.5 Science as a social endeavor
    5.6 Knowledge and power
    6.0 The aims of the sciences
    6.1 Values and choices
    6.2 The autonomy of the sciences
    6.3 Powers behind the lab
    6.4 What do "we" want to know?
    6.5 Deciding what we know
    6.6 Conclusion
    Suggestions for Further Reading