Few can imagine a world without telephones or televisions; many depend on computers and the Internet as part of daily life. Without scientific theory, these developments would not have been possible.
In this exceptionally clear and engaging introduction to philosophy of science, James Ladyman explores the philosophical questions that arise when we reflect on the nature of the scientific method and the knowledge it produces. He discusses whether fundamental philosophical questions about knowledge and reality might be answered by science, and considers in detail the debate between realists and antirealists about the extent of scientific knowledge. Along the way, central topics in philosophy of science, such as the demarcation of science from non-science, induction, confirmation and falsification, the relationship between theory and observation and relativism are all addressed. Important and complex current debates over underdetermination, inference to the best explaination and the implications of radical theory change are clarified and clearly explained for those new to the subject.
This introductory text is for students of science with no prior knowledge of philosophy, as well as students of philosophy, who have no experience with science. Ladyman (philosophy, U. of Bristol, UK) avoids using math, thus limiting some of the issues discussed in favor of accessibility to a wider audience; but he avoids superficiality and addresses topics with a depth that will engage advanced students as well as working scientists and philosophers. Material is arranged in two major sections, the first on the scientific methodinduction and inductivism, falsificationism, and revolutions and rationality; and the second on realism and antirealism. Suggestions for further reading are provided at the end of each of chapter, and a five-page glossary of terms is included. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)