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Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars

on December 12, 2014
As do all authors, Klee has points of view that not all ascribe to. He readily notes this in his introductory chapter.

That acknowledged, this is likely, in my opinion, the best, most readable and most thoughtful intro to the philosophy of science on the market. It could be assigned to an undergraduate class with no concerns.

Indeed, it would do many "scientists" a world of good to be conversant in the issues they deal in daily but which are, for too many, sadly summarized by the belief that "method = science". This book will disabuse you of that simplistic formula.
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on November 1, 1998
For newcomers and old hands engaged in the philosophy of science, Klee's book serves to frame the subject in a clear and coherent way. Klee uses immunology as his jumping-off point, rather than physics, in order to frame the general areas of inquiry and disputes within the subject. This works quite well, even for those uninitiated in any serious way into esoteric immunological studies and its attendant lexicon. Klee touches on all the basics and revists elementary concepts in logic and philosophy that will be useful for the non-philosopher and general reader. There is a lucid discussion of the debates and disputes within the subject, such as between Kuhn and Popper, and Klee pays ample attention to other of the major figures, particularly those weighing in the realism/antirealism debate. Further,Introduction to Philosophy of Science will serve as one of those rare texts that can be called upon to fill-in knowledge gaps and memory lapses in other areas in philosophy, generally. While the subject matter can be arid and difficult to wade through, Klee's book is brilliantly written and fun to read. He makes no bones about his own realism, but he is reasonably fair to anti-realist critics. Yet at times his loss of patience with those who take an anti-realist position bleeds through his prose, often in quite humorous ways. This book will be read and re-read by serious students of the subject and may become a standard text in the philosophy of science, used in undergraduate and graduate pedagogy. As well it should be.
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on February 3, 1999
I highly recommend this book to anyone wishing to get up to speed on what has happened in the philosophy of science during the past three centuries. The author speaks in his own voice, which keeps the book interesting and engaging from start to finish. This is not a dry textbook. At the same time, the author clearly identifies where his own sympathies lie, and is very objective in his treatment of opposing views.
A couple of areas for improvement: The author mentions Kant's idea of noumena and phenomena on a few occasions in the book, but does not really discuss the Kantian idea of the "external world" any further. I wish he did. Also, the author seems to imply that we shouldn't be too hasty to let our philosophies be influenced by the results we find in quantum physics (presumably because they tend to be so bizarre and atypical). I would have liked the author to elaborate a bit more on this view. I think many people interested in the philosophy of science would argue the opposite: A good philosophy of science must necessarily accommodate the most perplexing and paradoxical scientific findings.
In summary, the book is definitely worthwhile, and I hope many scientists and non-scientists read it.
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VINE VOICEon March 9, 2016
This was a challenging but enlightening and even entertaining read. Prof. Klee is a tremendous writer, especially when it comes to the use of metaphor and analogy. His characterizations of the various controversies and disagreements in the philosophy of science helps the reader visualize the issues in a way that makes the conflicts memorable. Klee also has a sense of humor, which help accents many of his points. He has the best explanation that I have read of what is means for something to be a theory in science. Unbeknown to most, something being a theory does not mean that it is a highly educated guess with few if any facts backing it up, which is the charge that is often made against the theory of evolution, for example. No, a theory is backed up by facts and is coherent in many ways, even if at some future date it may come to be supplanted by a better theory. And this is where philosophy of science starts to kick in with questions like, how does a theory express what it means? How closely are theories reflective of reality (the realism/anti-realism debate)? Klee tackles these questions with thorough discourse on all sides of an issue, giving fair hearing to the many different viewpoints that exist. He discusses the sociology of knowledge, for example, which claims that scientist create rather than discover facts. He also covers feminist philosophy of science movements, which claim that as a mostly male European endeavor, science has a distorted viewpoint and creates facts that reflect patriarchy. These two challenges to traditional science viewpoints, to my mind, border on the silly, but Klee treats them with a decent amount of regard and respect. Klee also covers Thomas Kuhn's work that delivered the idea of the paradigm to science initially but eventually was adopted by other disciplines. This is one of the most interesting and fascinating sections as Klee notes how Kuhn's message has been distorted or misused in different ways. One final comment; unlike other philosophy of science introductions (at least according to Klee) he use immunology to illustrate his points, rather than physics as is usually the case. I did find the concepts illustrated by the various examples of immunology relatively easy to grasp. Highly recommended for novices in this field.
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on December 13, 1998
Robert Klee's introductory text to the Philosophy of Science is a concise and well-written introduction to the Philosophy of Science. It gives a great framework (and suggested further readings) for the person interested in this topic. The contributions of Hempel, Popper, Quine, Kuhn, et al are presented in a thought provoking manner.
If you enjoy philosophy and have not ventured into the philosophy of science, this is a great place to begin.
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on June 29, 1999
Klee is a prof. of philosophy at Ithaca College. He states somewhere near the end of the book that his perspective is that of holist realism.
Throughout this book he deals with the debate between realism and anti-realism, giving answers (a real apologetics) against anti-realist arguments (in particular against philosophers of nature such as Kuhn, Van Fraassen, Laudan.., and against postmoderns and feminists) In the conclusion of the book the author ends by stating his optistism for natural science which he by far sees as the highest achievement and hope.
I find this book valuable when taken as a book about the debate between realism/antirealism, or as a defense of realism. But I do not find it valuable as a introduction to the philosophy of "science". The author does not define what he means by "science" (this word used to mean something like "organized knowledge" and used to include theology, history, philosophy - it is only since about a century or more that the influence of positivism/kantianism in the anglo-Saxon world has reduced it to the modeling of natural or social patterns). Besides, he starts right away with positivism, , skipping thousands of years of science and philosophical debate (although he sometimes mentions some less recent authors), and continues with the 20th century debate about realism, letting many current issues aside.
I have nothing against the fact that the author defends realism so much, but then I expect him to be honest and clear. I think this book should have been called something like "An Introduction to the Philosophical Debate about the Objectivity of the Natural and Social Sciences: a Realist Perspective."
BTW, I sometimes had the impression the author is committed to materialism or even to scientism, but I may be wrong about this.
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on October 5, 2009
The book was in great condition, better than I had expected and the price was excellent.
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