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by James Ladyman




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.
Download Understanding Philosophy of Science epub
ISBN: 0415221579
ISBN13: 978-0415221573
Category: Science
Subcategory: Agricultural Sciences
Author: James Ladyman
Language: English
Publisher: Routledge (December 31, 2001)
Pages: 304 pages
ePUB size: 1751 kb
FB2 size: 1312 kb
Rating: 4.8
Votes: 612
Other Formats: lrf mbr mobi lit

Topmen
I liked Ladyman's book. The clarity of its chapters are worth the price. Not many books written for the purpose of introducing the reader to a complex subject matter succeed in their task. This one does. Those that expect it to be a definitive treatment of whatever subject it touches on are reading it wrongly. Ladyman brings the reader through the foggy marshes of Bas van Fraasen's anti-realism, Putnam's 'no-miracles' argument, Hume's hang ups with induction, and Lipton's love for 'lovely' explanations being guides to likely explanations. The chapters come in at a reasonable length, and end with a helpful 'further reading' section anyone with a good library can use to their advantage. Much of the book is dedicated to the realist v. anti-realist problem, but that is a key problem in philosophy of science. Those who have their minds made up about this ought to look elsewhere, but that does not detract from the value of reading this clearly written book.
Pryl
James Ladyman's book is an excellent introduction to philosophy of science, though at times (especially in the latter part of the book) it becomes too sophisticated for a lower division course. Still, Ladyman covers the basics and then some using a clear style that engages the reader, bringing her gradually closer to some deep questions about the nature of science. The book starts with the standard topics of induction (and the corresponding problem pointed out by David Hume), moving to Popper's falsificationism, originally proposed as a solution to the problem of justification of inductive inference. After having explained why falsificationism in turn didn't work very well, Ladyman proceeds to Kuhn and the idea of paradigm shifts in the history of science. The difficult part comes in the second section, which is entirely devoted to the still ongoing debate between realists and antirealists in science. The reader is slowly but surely walked through increasingly complex rebuttals and counter-rebuttals articulated by major players in this high-level intellectual dispute, encountering fundamental concepts in modern philosophy of science throughout the ride. We learn about the underdetermination of theories by data, inference to the best explanation, constructive empiricism, the Duhem-Quine thesis and theories of explanation. The reader never gets to a final answer, which of course is not the point, but with a bit of effort it should be possible to follow Ladyman all the way to the end. The last two short sections, on idealisation and structural realism, are a bit too short to be effective; they should be either cut out or expanded in future editions. Still, I'm planning to use this book next semester in a 300-level class on philosophy of science, and I'm looking forward to the puzzled reactions of my students when they'll begin to appreciate how little we understand about how science works.
Kikora
Excellent book! I bought it for a Philosophy class and it has not disappointed me.
Kigul
Very nice introductory text. Use it to prepare my classes in the medical school.
Precious
This is not a book for leisure, but it makes an excellent textbook for an introduction course on philosophy of science. In a nutshell, Ladyman can be a bit wordy, but this book accomplishes its goal of making philosophy of science easier to understand without simplifying anything. If I were a professor teaching a course of philosophy of science, I would definitely make this a required text.
DarK-LiGht
Excellent introduction to philosophy of science
Prince Persie
I had to get this book for a class. I gave it two stars rather than one because there were a handful of great sections, including those about Popper and Khuntz. However, some of the more conceptual sections (the problem of symmetry argument against the covering law model) left me scratching my head. Ladyman seriously misses the mark on demonstrating the significance of most of the concepts in what feels like a scramble to cover a certain body of topics.
I'm taking philosophy of science and at times, this book is very confusing. I wish he would define every term specifically and then go into explanations and examples. When he did do this, I had no problem understanding what I was reading. Maybe it's because this is my first philosophy course and I'm a social sciences major with minimal science classes. Who knows, but my overall impression of this book is that there's probably a better one out there that would allow you to understand philosophy of science a lot more.