Books  General Natural History  History of Science 

The Comprehensibility of the Universe: A New Conception of Science

By: Nicholas Maxwell

322 pages, Figs

Clarendon Press

Paperback | Jan 2003 | #137597 | ISBN: 0199261555
Availability: Usually dispatched within 2-3 weeks Details
NHBS Price: £33.99 $43/€41 approx
Hardback | Oct 1998 | #137598 | ISBN: 0198237766
Availability: Usually dispatched within 2-3 weeks Details
NHBS Price: £83.99 $107/€100 approx

About this book

Maxwell argues that the prevailing view of the relation between scientific theory and evidence is untenable; he calls for a new orthodoxy which sees science as making a hierarchy of assumptions about the comprehensibility of the universe. This new conception has significant implications for both philosophy and science, and promises to heal the rift between the two.

This is not a book to read quickly or easily, but I hope that many may make the effort, because it seems to me to be an important contribution to the philosophy of physics. British Journal for the Philosophy of Science Maxwell performs a heroic feat in making the physics accessible to the non-physicist ... Philosophically, there is much here to stimulate and provoke ... those who share Maxwell's intuitions about progress, even those uncommitted to "theories of everything", will find encouragement here for thinking about how one does justice to such a possibility. Anjan Chakravartty, THES This admirably ambitious book contains more thought-provoking material than can even be mentioned here. Maxwell's treatment of the descriptive problem of simplicity, and his novel proposals about quantum mechanics deserve special note. The Philosophical Review


Contents

1. A New Conception of Science; 2. The Failings of Standard Empiricism; 3. Comprehensibility; 4. Simplicity; 5. Induction; 6. Evidence, Progress, and Discovery; 7. Quantum Theory; Mathematical and Physical Appendix; Bibliography; Index

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