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An Introduction to the Philosophy of Science Paperback – January 17, 1995

ISBN-13: 978-0486283180 ISBN-10: 0486283186

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Dover Publications (January 17, 1995)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0486283186
  • ISBN-13: 978-0486283180
  • Product Dimensions: 8.7 x 5.4 x 0.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #538,529 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
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Rudolf Carnap is my favorite of the Science philosophers.
James Tygum
Thus, theories such as Newton's Theory of Motion, Einstein's Theory of Special Relativity, etc., may be well confirmed to the point of being considered "true."
NaturalHistoryGuy
I highly recommend it if you're interested in the philosophy of science or philosophy in general.
Steve R

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

23 of 24 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on November 28, 2002
Format: Paperback
This is perhaps the only book in which Carnap is almost invariably informal. It is a remarkably clear introduction to some important topics in the philosophy of science: the nature of scientific laws, probability, scientific measurement, the structure of space, causality and determinism, theoretical concepts and laws, and a last chapter called "beyond determinism". The point where Carnap gets a bit formal, sections 26-28, is boring and absolutely out of date; his approach to analyticity is certainly not the best available. As for the rest, Carnap's conceptions are generally reliable (although it should be observed that his "logical conception" programme for probability was a complete failure). The sections I enjoyed most are those which deal with the structure of space. Carnap is highly proficient there (Carnap's doctoral dissertation was called "Der Raum") and his philosophical observations are always lucid and precise.
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24 of 27 people found the following review helpful By Randall Helzerman on July 6, 2004
Format: Paperback
Is this book still relevant, despite being a bit old? The answer is
an unqualified YES. Why is this book the best introduction to the
philosophy of science ever written? Because it is the result of a
collaberation between Rudolf Carnap (a philosophical giant) and Martin
Gardner--the celebrated columnest who gave us so many years of
"Mathematical games," during Scientific American's golden years.
Because it was co-written by a professional writer of popular
mathematics, it is probably the only philosophy of science book which
can be read and understood by the interested lay person. But because
it is based on a series of lecture notes from one of the worlds
all-time great philosophers of science, it doesn't "wimp out" on the
technical level. If you read it you will be brought to the forefront
of philosophy of science, at least as understood by the later logical
positivists.
In short, a remarkable collaberation by two men who were at the top of
their game. Thank God for Dover. For ten bucks you can buy a priceless
book.
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13 of 15 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on September 16, 1997
Format: Paperback
This is probably the clearest account of the way Science works and why certain decisions are made. Within it is contained the clearest explanation of portions of General Relativity (as a concrete example of why Einstein presented the theory in the manner he did) I've ever read, as well as many other little interesting tidbits. Some parts of the book are a bit dry, but that is probably because this book is a rewriting of college lecture notes given by the author.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Thomas J. Hickey on May 21, 2005
Format: Paperback
Carnap's legacy

Introduction to Philosophy of Science was written very late in Carnap's career. It is thus a mature and reflective summary of its author's distinctive variation on the positivist philosophy.

The reader will find that the book's focus on language analysis has relevance today since the mercifully brief but popular anti-analytical Kuhnian fad. It is regrettable that the computer age had not begun thirty years earlier, because Carnap's linguistic-analysis constructionalism and his semantical-systems approach anticipated important ideas in contemporary computational philosophy of science.

Here are some of those anticipations that readers of Carnap's book might look for:

* Carnap distinguished object language from metalanguage, an idea he states he borrowed from Hilbert's metamathematics. In computational philosophy of science today the computer discovery system is viewed as the metalanguage expressing a mechanized generative grammar. The metalinguistic discovery system processes object language for a science.

* Carnap recognized the importance of semantical rules. Today the semantical rules that describe the semantical interpretation of the object-language statements are sentences that are both analytic and synthetic like Quine's "analytical hypotheses" and "discursive postulates".

* Carnap anticipated componential semantics, which is the resolution of the imponderables in Kuhn's and Feyerabend's semantic holism and incommensurability. Contemporary componential semantics is enabled by semantical rules that are similar to Carnap's reduction sentences, in that he says that they determine only "part" of the meaning of theoretical terms.
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By Steve R on June 4, 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is an incredible book packed with abstract and sophisticated ideas told simply and clearly. The author explores how abstract ideas are the foundation for science (since they allow us to quantify and organize experience), and how we apply them. What I liked about it is that it wasn't just a book packed with scientific facts, but explored and examined ideas thoroughly. I highly recommend it if you're interested in the philosophy of science or philosophy in general.
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Frequently Bought Together

An Introduction to the Philosophy of Science + The Logical Structure of the World and Pseudoproblems in Philosophy (Open Court Classics) + Language, Truth and Logic (Dover Books on Western Philosophy)
Price for all three: $47.97

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