This Very Short Introduction provides a concise overview of the main themes of contemporary philosophy of science. Beginning with a short history of science to set the scene, Samir Okasha goes on to investigate the nature of scientific reasoning, scientific explanation, revolutions in science, and theories such as realism and anti-realism. He also looks at philosophical issues in particular sciences.
"the book is extremely readable and, I was delighted to discover, extremely sensible [...] I wouldn't have missed the trip for all the tea in Harrods"
– John Ewing, Nurturing Potential
1. What is science?; A very short history of science; Does science have an essential nature?; Science and pseudo-science
2. Scientific reasoning; Induction and deduction; Hume's problem; Two types of inductive reasoning; Probability and induction
3. Explanation in science; The 'covering-law' model of explanation; Alternative models of explanation; Can science explain everything?
4. Realism and anti-realism about science; Scientific realism; Objections to scientific realism; Varieties of anti-realism
5. Scientific change and scientific revolutions; Explaining scientific change; Thomas Kuhn on 'normal' and 'revolutionary' science; Sociological accounts of scientific change
6. Philosophical problems in physics, biology and linguistics; Leibniz versus Newton on absolute space; The problem of biological classification; Is knowledge of language innate
7. Science and its critics; Is science a good thing?; Science and religion; The science wars
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