1st Edition

Smoke and Mirrors How Science Reflects Reality

By James Robert Brown Copyright 1994
    212 Pages
    by Routledge

    210 Pages
    by Routledge

    Realism is an enlightening story, a tale which enriches our experience and makes it more intelligible. Yet this wonderful picture of humanity's best efforts at knowledge has been badly bruised by numerous critics. James Robert Brown in Smoke and Mirrors fights back against figures such as Richard Rorty, Bruno Latour, Michael Ruse and Hilary Putnam who have attacked realist accounts of science.
    But this volume is not wholly devoted to combating Rorty and others who blow smoke in our eyes; the second half is concerned with arguing that there are some amazing ways in which science mirrors the world. The role of abstraction, abstract objects and a priori ways of getting at reality are all explored in showing how science reflects reality.
    Smoke and Mirrors is a defence of science and knowledge in general as well as a defence of a particular way of understanding science. It is of interest to all those who wish or need to know how science works.

    Preface, Acknowledgements, I. Introduction, 1. Explaining the success of science, II. Smoke, 2. Rorty’s Solidarity, 3. Latour’s prosaic science, 4. The naturalism of Ruse, 5. Putnam’s verification, III. Mirrors, 6. Knowledge—in the abstract, 7. Phenomena, 8. What is the vector potential?, 9. Proof and truth in the abstract realm, Bibliography, Index


    James Robert Brown is Professor of Philosophy at the University of Toronto. His research interests include the philosophy of mathematics, foundations of physics, social relations of science, and thought experiments, as well as more general issues in the philosophy of science. He is the author of two earlier books: The Rational and the Social and The Laboratory of the Mind which are both available from Routledge.

    'This spirited and readable contribution to the debates over scientific realism would serve splendidly as the core of an introduction to the philosophy of science.' - J.B. Kennedy, British Journal for the Philosophy of Science