Philosophy of Science: A Contemporary Introduction, 4th Edition (Paperback) book cover

Philosophy of Science

A Contemporary Introduction, 4th Edition

By Alex Rosenberg, Lee McIntyre


328 pages | 3 B/W Illus.

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Any serious student attempting to better understand the nature, methods, and justification of science will value Alex Rosenberg’s and Lee McIntyre’s updated and substantially revised Fourth Edition of Philosophy of Science: A Contemporary Introduction. Weaving lucid explanations with clear analyses, the volume is as a much-used, thematically-oriented introduction to the field.

The Fourth Edition has been thoroughly rewritten based on instructor and student feedback, to improve readability and accessibility, without sacrificing depth. It, however, retains all of the logically structured, extensive coverage of earlier editions, which the journal Teaching Philosophy called, "the industry standard" and "essential reading" in a 2010 review. 

Key Features of the Fourth Edition:

• Revised and rewritten for readability based on feedback from student and instructor surveys.

• Updated text on the problem of underdetermination, social science, and the realism/anti-realism debate.

• Improved continuity between chapters.

• Revised and updated Study Questions and annotated Suggested Readings at the end of each chapter.

• Updated Bibliography.


"Sets the industry standard. This book is essential reading for any serious student of the philosophy of science. […]Rosenberg provides a comprehensive, sophisticated presentation of the current state of the field, and yet it is clear enough to be accessible to students. Rosenberg’s text gets my highest recommendation for courses with students who are academically well prepared and motivated."

W. Russ Payne, in Teaching Philosophy

Table of Contents

1. The Relationship Between Philosophy and Science

2. Why is Philosophy of Science Important?

3. Scientific Explanation

4. Why Do Laws Explain?

5. Causation, Inexact Laws and Statistical Probabilities

6. Laws and Explanations in Biology and the "Special Sciences"

7. The Structure of Scientific Theories

8. Epistemic and Metaphysical Issues about Scientific Theories

9. Theory Construction vs. Model Building

10. Induction and Probability

11. Confirmation, Falsification, Underdetermination

12. Challenges from the History of Science

13. Naturalism in the Philosophy of Science

14. The Contested Character of Science

15. Science, Relativism and Objectivity

About the Authors

Alex Rosenberg is R. Taylor Cole Professor and Chair in the Philosophy Department at Duke University. He is also co-director of Duke’s Center for Philosophy of Biology. Rosenberg has held fellowships from the National Science Foundation, the American Council of Learned Societies, and the John Simon Guggenheim Foundation. In 1993, Rosenberg received the Lakatos Award in the philosophy of science.

Lee McIntyre is a Research Fellow at the Center for Philosophy and History of Science at Boston University. He is the author of Respecting Truth (Routledge, 2015), Post-Truth (MIT Press, 2018), and The Scientific Attitude (MIT Press, 2019).

About the Series

Routledge Contemporary Introductions to Philosophy

An innovative, well structured series, the Routledge Contemporary Introductions to Philosophy are designed for students who already have completed an introductory-level course in philosophy.  Each book introduces a core general subject in contemporary philosophy and offers students an accessible but substantial transition from introductory to higher-level college work in that subject.  The series is accessible to non-specialists and each book clearly motivates and expounds the problems and positions introduced.  An orientating chapter briefly introduces its topic and reminds readers of any crucial material they need to have retained from a typical introductory course.  Considerable attention is given to explaining central philosophical problems of a subject and the main competing solutions and arguments for those solutions.  The primary aim is to educate students in the main problems, positions and arguments of contemporary philosophy rather than to convince students of a single position.

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