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Philosophy of Science: The Central Issues 1st Edition

4.4 out of 5 stars 11 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0393971750
ISBN-10: 0393971759
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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

J. A. Cover is professor of philosophy at Purdue University. Leaving a research post after completing a B.S. in biochemistry and biophysics at the University of California, Davis, he took a B.A. in philosophy at Syracuse University, where he later received his M.A. and Ph.D. Published widely in journals and books on issues in early modern philosophy, metaphysics, and philosophy of science, he is coeditor of Central Themes in Early Modern Philosophy (Hackett, 1990), coauthor of Theories of Knowledge and Reality, Second Edition (McGraw-Hill, 1994), coauthor of Leibniz on Substance and Individuation (Cambridge, 1999), and coeditor of Leibniz: Nature and Freedom (Oxford, 2005).

Martin Curd is associate professor of philosophy at Purdue University. He has a B.A. in natural sciences from Cambridge University and a Ph.D. in history and philosophy of science from the University of Pittsburgh. Working mainly in philosophy of science and epistemology, he is coeditor of The Routledge Companion to Philosophy of Science (2008).
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 1408 pages
  • Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company; 1st edition (March 17, 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0393971759
  • ISBN-13: 978-0393971750
  • Product Dimensions: 5.6 x 1.7 x 9.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.6 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #106,834 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
I hope I won't be suspected of overstating the virtues of this book when I say that this is the single finest philosophy anthology that I've ever encountered--and, believe me, I've seen my fair share of them. Curd and Cover deserve to be commended--and I hereby commend them--for their work in editing this volume. Not only have they made compiled a very useful anthology of approximately fifty selections in contemporary philosophy of science, but they've included a very significant amount of original editorial material. Indeed, I've never seen a philosophy anthology with editorial material anywhere near this extensive or helpful. Curd and Cover provide the reader with introductions to each section; detailed and thoughtful commentaries, many of which are forty to fifty pages long, on the readings at the end of each section; a twenty-page glossary of terms; and extensive bibliographies on each of the subjects covered. Roughly a third of this book, which is 1300+ pages long, has been written by the editors.
Because of the comprehensiveness of the commentaries that Curd and Cover have included on each section of readings, this volume, unlike many such anthologies, works very well as a stand-alone introduction to the field. For these commentaries provide the necessary background that the reader needs to fully appreciate the problems with which the authors of particular selections are struggling, the arguments they present in the selections, and the importance of the various selections in contemporary thinking about how best to solve the problems of the philosophy of science.
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By TiZ on February 19, 2007
Format: Paperback
Curd and Cover's "Philosophy of Science: The Central Issues" is both an anthology and an introduction to philosophy of science. It concentrates on the most central problems of philosophy of natural science, and does not cover philosophy of social science, or particular problems in philosophy of physics or philosophy of biology.
Among the topics covered are the nature of science, scientific explanation, induction, prediction, confirmation, reduction, objectivity, underdetermination, laws of nature and scientific realism and anti-realism. Most of the selections are excellent, including classical and contemporary readings. The majority of the book consists in the readings; however, the commentary by Curd and Cover is very extensive.
The book is organized clearly. Each section begins with a brief introduction by Curd and Cover; the readings follow this; and, finally, these are explained and summarized by Curd and Cover's commentary. A thorough and helpful glossary follows towards the end of the book.
This book is excellent, and I strongly recommend it, especially for upper-level undergraduates and graduate students in philosophy. However, I think that readers unfamiliar with analytic philosophy may find some of the readings and the commentary difficult; Chalmer's "What Is This Thing Called Science?" is a less daunting introduction.
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Format: Paperback
Anyone who ever wondered about science in general, or what answers sciences can give us to questions we pose, and which not, if we should believe what science tells us or rather not, what it is that sets apart physics and astrologie, or if the picture that science gives us in its laws and theories reflects reality or is just an instrument for science, all those (and all those who would like to start pondering right now)can get a very profound introduction into those (and other) aspects of philosophical contemplation by reading this very well written and edited book. It consists of 9 chapters, each treating one subject by first giving a short introduction by the editors, then several papers by leading philosophers in the field, and then a very well written commentary on each of those papers, that retrace and explain the papers for easier digestion. My fullest recommendations for this book.
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Format: Paperback
I can only echo the prior reviews of this book. This is an outstanding anthology. Curd and Cover identified several key issues in philosophy of science and provide an excellent selection of influential pieces by important philosophers addressing these issues. Themes covered include demarcation, objectivity in science, underdetermination, induction, Bayesian approaches, the nature of explanation, laws, and scientific realism. The pieces selected include a nice mix of older and more recent work. What really distinguishes this book is the care that Curd and Cover took to set these pieces in appropriate context. Each thematic section is preceded by a nice introduction and followed by a series of commentaries. The latter cumulatively amount to a nice textbook of philosophy of science. As far as I can tell, Curd and Cover are quite fair to all the writers whose works are anthologized. Additional nice features are a glossary of technical terms, a fine index, and an excellent bibliography. As other reviewers remark, this book is probably intended as a resource for advanced undergrads and/or grad students. It can certainly be read profitably by anyone with some interest in philosophy of science. Like one of the prior reviewers, I recommend reading an introductory philosophy of science book first. My personal favorite is Peter Godfrey-Smith's Theory and Reality.
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