Bill Wimsatt is a visionary. He was, and remains, a man ahead of his time. One sees, in these essays (some old, some new), how he challenged orthodox philosophical views of science, and how much contemporary methodological work now conforms to his prescient understanding and analysis. Wimsatt was a pioneer in displaying how messy and complex our world is and in demonstrating how our idealized conceptions of the logic of science, of the nature of our arguments, and of intertheoretic relations, need to be "messied" up to capture and reflect the actual detailed practice and understanding of scientific investigations. Simply read the introductory chapter "Myths of La Placean Omnicience" and you will see why you must read the entire book. (Robert Batterman, Rotman Canada Research Chair in Philosophy of Science, University of Western Ontario)
Wimsatt is concerned with an aspect of the philosophy of biology that has not been a major concern of most philosophers in modern times. He is grappling with the issue of biological complexity and it is certainly an important set of questions. Indeed, it may be the central issue for the philosophy of biology. (Richard Lewontin, Alexander Agassiz Research Professor,Harvard University)
Wimsatt is very thoughtful and imaginative. He has a subtle position on reduction. He shows that it is necessary to hold to a sophisticated position on this issue, [and he] avoids reifying things at the upper level. (Herbert Simon, recipient of the 1975 Nobel Prize in Economics)
In the rich and impressive collection of essays gathered as Re-Engineering Philosophy for Limited Beings, Bill Wimsatt argues that philosophy of science, in its standard forms, has chosen the wrong models: the wrong models of scientists, of their products, and of their explanatory targets...Wimsatt is among the most creative, original, and empirically informed philosophers of our day. These essays clearly demonstrate his imagination, his mastery of many diverse literatures, and his eye for the big question...Few essay collections are integrated and systematic: Re-Engineering Philosophy for Limited Beings is an important exception. (Kim Sterelny Science 2008-07-18)
About the Author
William Wimsatt is Professor of Philosophy and of Evolutionary Biology at the University of Chicago.