Robert Nola and Howard Sankey provide an authoritative and comprehensive examination of the major theories of scientific method and the demarcation of science of the past fifty years. Beginning with the question of what methodology might mean, the authors explore the distinction between discovery and justification, and the ideas of values, rules, and principles. The authors consider induction and its alternatives including abduction and Inference to the Best Explanation (IBE), hypothetico-deductive method and the idea of testability.
They discuss what a theory is, and consider axiomatic and semantic views, but also the idea of idealised models and the methodology of concretising ideal models. Probability and Bayesianism are also examined in detail. Popper's theory of scientific method and the demarcation of science, Lakatos's scientific research programmes, and Feyerabend's anarchism are all considered in turn. Naturalist methodologies, such as those proposed by Quine, Laudan and Rescher are also examined, as well as the extreme naturalism of the Strong programme in the sociology of knowledge, and empirical studies of methodology that arise out of cognitive science. Informed by the latest thinking, the book offers students an excellent introduction to the idea of scientific method and a wide-ranging discussion of how philosophers and scientists have grappled with the question over recent years.
Nola and Sankey's Theories of Scientific Method provides a comprehensive and thoroughly excellent introductory textbook to the philosophy of science. The discussion is fresh and lively; and the focus upon the distinction between methods and meta-methods not only helps to situate some otherwise rather abstract issues and debates, it also adds a valuable extra dimension to some familiar themes. - Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews "This book fills a distinct gap. No other book adopts its comprehensive approach. The expositions of the topics covered are clear and accessible and the emphasis on 'meta' methodological issues is distinctive and useful." - Barry Gower, University of Durham
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