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The Inference That Makes Science (Aquinas Lecture) Paperback – March, 1992


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Product Details

  • Series: Aquinas Lecture (Book 1992)
  • Paperback: 112 pages
  • Publisher: Marquette Univ Pr (March 1992)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0874621593
  • ISBN-13: 978-0874621594
  • Product Dimensions: 0.8 x 5 x 7.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,522,024 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Davide T. on July 15, 2013
Format: Paperback
Unfortunately, my english is somewhat poor, thus I cannot explain how I should, but I feel the urgent need to counter the profoundly unjust and biased previous review. The reviewer takes to be a reverend a sufficient reason to be biased about science, but it is not so! And I am an atheist. It is the reviewer who is biased! I didn't know personally Ernan Mc Mullin, I didn't study with him: I know him only through his work, and I think that he was a great philosopher, who used the history to really understand the science of today. Briefly,
- This work is not a "pamphlet"
- It is not true that "terms such as "empirical law", "theory", "induction" and "causal explanation", (...) have positivist meanings in his text". They have meanings adherent to current usage in the philosophy of science
- His treatment is not cartesian, whatever his ideas were, nor anachronistically metaphysical: his inquiry is epistemological-methodological, subtle and perfectly updated
- To say that "New scientific theories are not generated by retroduction" (because) "Today the creation of new scientific theories is investigated with computer systems in computational philosophy of science" is pure nonsense. Moreover, these methods are promising, but nothing more
- Finally, McMullin wrote many very interesting articles. He was not a mere compiler
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Format: Paperback
Hackneyed History, Frivolous Philosophy

This pamphlet is based on an address given by the Reverend McMullin of the University of Notre Dame philosophy department to the philosophy faculty of Marquette University. This Reverend McMullin doesn't just study the past; he actually lives in it. His construing ancient philosophers as writing philosophy of science before science was invented is absurd. Only a Roman Catholic priest addressing the philosophy faculty of another Roman Catholic philosophy school would ever think of writing a pamphlet like this one.

The first 52 pages of this 85-page monograph discuss the ancient Aristotelian concept of science. That is 60 percent of the book, which has nothing to do with science, as we know it. The next 11 pages discuss inductive inference from bacon to the Logical Positivists. That is 13 percent of the book that discusses views that have been repudiated. Then the following 6 pages discuss abduction beginning with Peirce. That is 7 percent. Here as elsewhere instead of writing philosophy McMullin serves up hackneyed history of philosophy about authors for whom an abundant secondary literature already exists. Based on my experience in Notre Dame's philosophy school while he was department chairman, I had concluded that McMullin relies on history of philosophy as a substitute for writing original investigative philosophy, much less consequential philosophy.

The concluding pages set forth McMullin's "proposal" that contains terms such as "empirical law", "theory", "induction" and "causal explanation", all of which clearly have positivist meanings in his text.
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