Have one to sell? Sell on Amazon
Flip to back Flip to front
Listen Playing... Paused   You're listening to a sample of the Audible audio edition.
Learn more
See this image

What Is This Thing Called Science? Paperback – March 1, 1999

ISBN-13: 978-0872204522 ISBN-10: 9780872204522 Edition: 3rd

5 New from $49.95 45 Used from $0.07
Amazon Price New from Used from
Paperback
"Please retry"
$49.95 $0.07
12%20Days%20of%20Deals%20in%20Books
NO_CONTENT_IN_FEATURE

Best Books of the Year
Best Books of 2014
Looking for something great to read? Browse our editors' picks for 2014's Best Books of the Year in fiction, nonfiction, mysteries, children's books, and much more.

Product Details

  • Paperback: 200 pages
  • Publisher: Hackett Publishing Company; 3rd edition (March 1, 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 9780872204522
  • ISBN-13: 978-0872204522
  • ASIN: 0872204529
  • Product Dimensions: 0.8 x 5.5 x 8.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #408,091 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Discover books, learn about writers, read author blogs, and more.

Customer Reviews

A very good overview of philosophy of science written clearly and accessibly.
Gerald Filson
Chalmers is especially helpful in showing the limitations of Kuhn and providing a balanced perspective on Popper, Lakatos and Feyerabend.
"skeptic_quest"
The latest edition of the book includes an extensive chapter on Feyerabend and his radical agenda.
Murat Abus

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

50 of 55 people found the following review helpful By Rafe Champion on February 15, 2002
Format: Paperback
Alan Chalmers wrote this book (first published in 1976) because there was no suitable introductory text for undergraduate studies in the history and philosophy of science. The preliminary chapters are devoted to a close scrutiny and demolition of the old orthodoxy in the pre-Popperian philosophy of science, an orthodoxy still nurtured by admirers of the late David Stove. Anything Goes by David Stove is supposed to be a weapon in the battle against the barbarians of deconstructionism but if Chalmers and Popper are on the right track, then turning to Stove and the inductivists for help is like fighting fire with petrol. It can be argued that the long domination of the logical positivists in the philosophy of science created such a mess (and a boring mess to boot) that many students were driven into the sociology of science or to the more radical camp of the deconstructionists.
Chalmers notes the common belief that the authority of science depends on the way that it "is derived from the facts". However, as many research students discover when they turn from the bench to start writing up their results, it is very misleading to hope that accumulated observations will turn into general principles or theories (or a thesis). Still, scientific theories are supposed to be based on facts and confirmed by facts, and for a long time the official scientific method was an alleged process of induction, whereby scientific knowledge starts with the unbiased observation of the regularities which exist in the world around us and is finally warranted or verified by inductive proof. Chalmers explains with meticulous care how and why inductive verification and warranting does not work. Moreover he explains that it is not necessary to account for the growth or rationality of scientific knowledge.
Read more ›
1 Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
17 of 18 people found the following review helpful By Murat Abus on May 9, 2002
Format: Paperback
Chalmers's book is the widely read and well-received classical and basic introduction to the epistemology of science. Though this book has important insights that can be applied to the quantitative studies in social science, it is essentially an introduction to the philosophy of natural sciences.
Basic concepts and important thinkers are dealt with in order in separate chapters and at the end of each chapter a critique is provided and entries for further reading are provided. The latest edition of the book includes an extensive chapter on Feyerabend and his radical agenda.
Besides this the themes covered in the book include observation, experiment, induction, falsification, Kuhn, Popper, Bayes, realism and anti-realism.
It is a handy reference work for graduate students and scholars alike who would like to know more about the selection process of hypotheses, how and why hypotheses can be rejected, how important a framework is for any "scientific" research, what it means to have a paradigm shift et cetera. All in all, it is a seminal introduction to the scientific method.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
16 of 17 people found the following review helpful By Birger Hjørland on April 26, 2000
Format: Paperback
I recommend this textbook on the philosophy of science (and I thus disagree with the anonymous review by "A reader from Baltimore, Maryland", and I do not find anonymous reviews helpful).It is translated to many languages and fulfils a great need for a textbook. In shorter courses it is not possible to read all the original works and it is better to have a short presentation of Thomas Kuhn along with a presentation of the discussion of and further development of his work. Chapter 3 on the theory dependence of observation is especially important. I have used this text in courses and found it useful, although some of the final chapters are somewhat unclear. I can think of no other book, which can replace this one for a shorter course in the philosophy of science for undergraduates in fields outside philosophy itself. (Compare my review of Routledge Encyclopedia of Philosophy).
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on July 31, 2001
Format: Paperback
This small book by Alan Chalmers is a very good introduction to the Philosophy of Science. It offers not only a well-written and concise overview of the main methodological trends and schools of thought, but it also contains a good discussion of peripheral issues, like relativism and rationality, objectivism, individualism, etc.
The fact that this is the easiest book on methodology ever written does not mean it's accessible to all readers. Some background of college type is necessary, for the reasoning is deductive and implies at least basic knowledge of Logic and the fundamentals of hard sciences. Still, if you want to read Feyerabend, Kuhn, Lakatos or Popper, you should start right here.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Vladimir pintro on August 27, 2000
Format: Paperback
the philosophy of science is arguably the most promising field of philosophy today. It is also the most technical and perhaps the most abstruse. A.F. Chalmers has done a great job in trying to give a fair account of each of the most popular currents of the field. His criticisms of these are clever and well-founded. If you are interested in the philo of science but find the original works too technical then buy this book. Though you surely will not be able of giving a detailed account of each currents of thought, you will, nonetheless, have enough knowledge to help you tackle the thinkers'original works. vladimir pintro, student of philo at s.u.n.y.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again

Most Recent Customer Reviews