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Introduction to the Philosophy of Science 1st Edition

1 customer review
ISBN-13: 978-0872204515
ISBN-10: 0872204510
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Editorial Reviews


The overall standard of the volume is extraordinarily high, and I have no doubt that this will be the text in philosophy of science for a couple of decades. The coverage is remarkable both in breadth and depth. . . . an amazingly good book. . . . written by an all-star team. . . . --Philip Kitcher, Columbia University


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Product Details

  • Library Binding: 464 pages
  • Publisher: Hackett Publishing Company, Inc.; 1 edition (March 1, 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0872204510
  • ISBN-13: 978-0872204515
  • Product Dimensions: 1.2 x 6 x 9.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #8,524,821 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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7 of 43 people found the following review helpful By Viktor Blasjo on January 8, 2009
Format: Paperback
This is a dogmatic and petty introduction to the philosophy of science, featuring the following trademark traits of second-rate analytic philosophy:

Mathematical incompetence. It is claimed that it follows from Bayes' theorem P(H|E)=P(H)P(E|H)/P(E) that "since the expectedness [of the evidence] occurs in the denominator of the fraction, the smaller the expectedness, the greater the value of the fraction. Surprising evidence confirms hypotheses more than evidence to be expected regardless of the hypothesis." (p. 73). This is stupid. One cannot argue in this way since the evidence occurs also in the numerator. If we change the denominator we change the numerator as well, so we cannot tell whether the fraction will become greater or smaller.

Uncritical treatment of pet theories. E.g. Bayesianism, regarding which it is claimed, for example, that priors wash out (p. 84) and that "Humean sceptics who regiment their beliefs according to the axioms of probability cannot remain sceptical about [a] universal generalization in the face of ever-increasing positive instances (and no negative instances) unless they assign [to it] a zero prior" (p. 94). The mathematical theorems that are supposed to support these hubristic claims actually say something infinitely weaker. In fact, since these theorems are limit theorems they say absolutely nothing at all about any actual situation whatsoever. Such rather obvious objections are ignored in the interest of propaganda.

Authoritarian decrees. We are told that Lakatos' rational reconstructions approach "has rightly been rejected by historians" (p. 154). Why "rightly"? There is not a trace of an argument or any evidence for this.

Convoluted style. E.g.
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