Understanding Perspectivism (Open Access): Scientific Challenges and Methodological Prospects, 1st Edition (Hardback) book cover

Understanding Perspectivism (Open Access)

Scientific Challenges and Methodological Prospects, 1st Edition

Edited by Michela Massimi, Casey D. McCoy


232 pages | 4 B/W Illus.

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Hardback: 9781138503069
pub: 2019-07-01
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This edited collection is the first of its kind to explore the view called perspectivism in philosophy of science. The book brings together an array of essays that reflect on the methodological promises and scientific challenges of perspectivism in a variety of fields such as physics, biology, cognitive neuroscience, and cancer research, just as a few examples. What are the advantages of using a plurality of perspectives in a given scientific field and for interdisciplinary research? Can different perspectives be integrated? What is the relation between perspectivism, pluralism, and pragmatism? These ten new essays by top scholars in the field offer a polyphonic journey towards understanding the view called ‘perspectivism’ and its relevance to science.


"This impressive collection is essential reading for appreciating the inevitable contextualities of scientific knowledge. It explores of how notions of "perspective" can illuminate the epistemic upshot of the sciences and how they are situated in their history, practices, representations, and sometimes competing aims, provocatively advancing debates about realism, pragmatism, explanation, and modeling in the process, all through a wealth of cases from physics, biology, neuroscience, and medical science." - Anjan Chakravartty, University of Miami

"An excellent collection of essays on a topic rapidly establishing itself as an important interpretive programme in philosophy of science. One of the volume’s many merits consists in showing the diversity and versatility of perspectivism while illustrating common features among its different varieties. The reader is thus provided an enormously rich foundation for evaluating the role of perspectivism in understanding science and its practices." - Margaret Morrison, University of Toronto

"Perspectivism is a fruitful metaphor for imagining alternatives to traditional realism in philosophy of science. Massimi and McCoy have gathered ten essays which show how perspectivism is illuminating in areas such as molecular biology and measurement theory, and also explore the relationships between perspectivism and other recent accounts including pragmatism, structural realism, pluralism, and scientific modelling. There is an excellent balance of established and emerging scholars in the field. This volume is a superb, cutting-edge text to use in an advanced graduate seminar." - Miriam Solomon, Temple University

Table of Contents

Table of Contents




Michela Massimi and Casey D. McCoy

Chapter 1. Pragmatism, Perspectivism, and the Historicity of Science

Hasok Chang

Chapter 2. Explanation, interdisciplinarity, and perspectives

Melinda Bonnie Fagan

Chapter 3. What is Perspectivism, and Does it Count as Realism?

Paul Teller

Chapter 4. Realism and Explanatory Perspectives

Juha Saatsi

Chapter 5. Universality and the Problem of Inconsistent Models

Collin Rice

Chapter 6. Representationalism in Measurement Theory. Structuralism or Perspectivalism?

Johanna E. Wolff

Chapter 7. Safe-and-substantive perspectivism

David Danks

Chapter 8. Charting the Heraclitean Brain: Perspectivism and Simplification in Models of the Motor Cortex

Mazviita Chirimuuta

Chapter 9. Cancer Modeling: the Advantages and Limitations of Multiple Perspectives

Anya Plutynski

Chapter 10. Perspectives, Representation, and Integration

Sandra D. Mitchell



About the Editors

Michela Massimiis Professor of Philosophy of Science at the University of Edinburgh, UK. She was Co-Editor-in-Chief of the British Journal for the Philosophy of Science (2011-2016) and she is currently Vice President of the European Philosophy of Science Association.

Casey D. McCoy is a research fellow at the University of Edinburgh, UK. His research falls primarily within the philosophy of science and the philosophy of physics, and he has written on topics including inflationary cosmology, fine-tuning problems in physics, and the interpretation of statistical mechanics.

About the Series

Routledge Studies in the Philosophy of Science

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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
SCIENCE / Philosophy & Social Aspects