1st Edition

Scientific Method A Historical and Philosophical Introduction

By Barry Gower Copyright 1997
    288 Pages
    by Routledge

    288 Pages
    by Routledge

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    The central theme running throughout this outstanding new survey is the nature of the philosophical debate created by modern science's foundation in experimental and mathematical method. More recently, recognition that reasoning in science is probabilistic generated intense debate about whether and how it should be constrained so as to ensure the practical certainty of the conclusions drawn. These debates brought to light issues of a philosophical nature which form the core of many scientific controversies today. Scientific Method: A Historical and Philosophical Introduction presents these debates through clear and comparative discussion of key figures in the history of science. Key chapters critically discuss
    * Galileo's demonstrative method, Bacon's inductive method, and Newton's rules of reasoning
    * the rise of probabilistic `Bayesian' methods in the eighteenth century
    * the method of hypotheses through the work of Herschel, Mill and Whewell
    * the conventionalist views of Poincaré and Duhem
    * the inductivism of Peirce, Russell and Keynes
    * Popper's falsification compared with Reichenbach's enumerative induction
    * Carnap's scientific method as Bayesian reasoning

    The debates are brought up to date in the final chapters by considering the ways in which ideas about method in the physical and biological sciences have affected thinking about method in the social sciences. This debate is analyzed through the ideas of key theorists such as Kuhn, Lakatos, and Feyerabend.

    Chapter 1 Introduction; Chapter 2 Galileo Galilei; Chapter 3 Francis Bacon; Chapter 4 Isaac Newton; Chapter 5 The Bernoullis and Thomas Bayes; Chapter 6 John Herschel, John Stuart Mill and William Whewell; Chapter 7 Henri Poincaré and Pierre Duhem; Chapter 8 John Venn and Charles Peirce; Chapter 9 John Maynard Keynes and Frank Ramsey; Chapter 10 Hans Reichenbach and Karl Popper; Chapter 11 Rudolf Carnap; Chapter 12 Conclusion;


    Barry Gower teaches Philosophy of Science at Durham University.

    'Takes a fresh look at the subject and addresses some key questions in a stimulating way that will appeal both to the general reader and to students of the history and philosophy of science.' - New Scientist