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Philosophy of Science: An Historical Anthology Hardcover – May 4, 2009

ISBN-13: 978-1405175432 ISBN-10: 1405175435 Edition: 1st

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 680 pages
  • Publisher: Wiley-Blackwell; 1 edition (May 4, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1405175435
  • ISBN-13: 978-1405175432
  • Product Dimensions: 7.1 x 1.6 x 10 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 3 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,874,715 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


"The introductions, which occupy one-sixth of the volume, are carefully, clearly, and at times even beautifully written. Perhaps most important, they are always intelligently sympathetic to the authors whose views they are presenting." (The Journal of the International Society for the History of Philosophy of Science, 1 April 2011)

"Overall, this is an impressive and versatile volume that should find its way into many classrooms. The commentary is thorough and clear enough to make the readings accessible to students, but not so imposing that instructors cannot add their own interpretation. This book would be suitable for advanced undergraduates who have completed previous coursework in history or philosophy." (Science & Education, 4 March 2011)


"For years I've fielded queries from colleagues around the world seeking an anthology through which to teach introductory history and philosophy of science courses by means of primary sources from the Greeks to the twentieth century. My answer has always been discouraging: No one book fills that need. But not anymore. This superb new collection is the book we've all been wanting. It's sure to become a classroom staple and a standard reference in the library of every historian and philosopher of science who thinks that Aristotle, Galileo, Newton, Darwin, and Einstein deserve to be heard speaking for themselves."
– Don Howard, University of Notre Dame

"This text provides a unique combination of historical and classical sources, combined with very helpful introductions. Its breadth of coverage means it may profitably used as a text in philosophy of science courses at many levels."
–Peter Machamer, University of Pittsburgh

More About the Author

Fritz Allhoff, Ph.D., is currently an Associate Professor in the Department of Philosophy at Western Michigan University and a Senior Research Fellow at The Australian National University's Centre for Applied Philosophy and Public Ethics. He has been a Visiting Associate Professor in the Department of Philosophy at the University of Michigan, a Visiting Academic in the Future of Humanity Institute at Oxford University, a Visiting Fellow at the Center for Philosophy of Science at the University of Pittsburgh, and a Senior Research Fellow at the Institute for Ethics at the American Medical Association.

Most of his writing and teaching is in ethical theory, applied ethics, and the history and philosophy of biology and science. Recently he has been doing a lot of work in ethical issues of emerging technologies as well as in the ethics of terrorism and torture. For the technology part, see *What Is Nanotechnology and Why Does It Matter: From Science to Ethics* (Wiley-Blackwell, 2010). His next book, *Terrorism, Ticking Time-Bombs, and Torture* (University of Chicago Press) should be out sometime next year.

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By bibliophile on September 16, 2009
Format: Paperback
This anthology combines two strengths: first, it provides a wide range of primary texts from a large number of the major figures in the history of the philosophy of science; and second, it provides accessible commentary by the editors designed to bring the reader up to speed on key issues and in doing so it provides the reader with a broad perspective. Too often one finds an imbalance of the former or the latter in an anthology, but this anthology from editors McGrew, Alspector-Kelly, and Allhoff provides just the right balance of both.

Since it is strong in both the range of primary texts and the level and engagement of the editorial commentary, this anthology would serve well in a number of contexts. It would work very well in undergraduate courses in which historical approaches to the philosophy of science are explored because students unfamiliar with debates in the history of science would receive a much-needed introduction through the editorial commentary. This commentary is provided by the editors at the beginning of each of the book's 9 units.

The anthology would also work well for a beginning-level graduate course in the history of the philosophy of science or as a supplementary text in a course on the history of science. A graduate student in such a situation would not only benefit from the commentary but also from the wide range of primary texts provided in a single volume. Working through this anthology would provide such a graduate student with the necessary breadth of the field that he or she will need when moving further along in the discipline.

Given its breadth and accessibility, I wholeheartedly recommend this text for anyone interested in the philosophy of science!
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Hannah E. Johnson on September 22, 2009
Format: Paperback
This anthology is made for students. The editors have kept in mind those with little or no background in philosophy or science and made the last 2,500 years where these two disciplines intersect, open for study. Each unit has an introduction written by the editors, as does each reading in order to provide the necessary information for the reader to appreciate the texts.

Anyone looking to understand the core of philosophy of science for its own sake or to provide a cornerstone for the study of more specific branches in the field would be greatly aided by the reading of this anthology.

I would have liked to have seen a few selections by authors coming from the `continental' tradition, but that is more a problem with academic institutions than with this book. To take the massive corpus of scientific and philosophical thought and reduce it down to something understandable for people with no background in either deserves more than praise. Because of this, I fully recommend this volume.
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14 of 21 people found the following review helpful By Rafe Champion on July 23, 2009
Format: Paperback
This anthology contains over 80 extracts from the literature of science and philosophy from Democritus (circa 400 BC) onwards. Part I covers the ancient and medieval periods, the scientific revolution, the modern philosophers (Bacon to Kant), then methodology and revolution (Lavoisier to Einstein). Part II contains the received (positivist or logical empiricist) view, mostly Carnap and Hempel, confirmation and observation (more Hempel and some others), then the revisionists in methodology (Popper, Kuhn and Lakatos), explanation (mostly Salmon) and the realism debate (Boyd, van Frassen, Laudan and Fine).

Commentaries from the editors guide the reader through the main themes and the shifts in the narrative. It is good to have extracts from scientists. The philosopher/scientist Duhem advised young scientists to read the works of the great scientists rather than philosophers. He gave that advice when positivism was on the rise and it is still apt. He is represented here by his argument against the decisive nature of crucial experiments, a theme that took on new life under the influence of a paper by Quine.

The use of a large number of small extracts provides breadth at the cost of depth. It is good to find Koyre among the supplementary reading for the Copernican revolution in cosmology and Koestler's "The Sleepwalkers" would be a useful addition for a gripping account of the episode from a man who combined a grasp of the science with the narrative skills of a novelist.

In the later sections there appears to be a bias towards logical empiricists, perhaps reflecting the dominant school of thought in the US where the book will be most used.
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By Miguel Stroe on December 29, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
It is concise given the vastness of the subject. I strongly recommend it whether one has the background or not.
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