philosophy of science


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philosophy of science

philosophy of science, branch of philosophy that emerged as an autonomous discipline in the 19th cent., especially through the work of Auguste Comte, J. S. Mill, and William Whewell. Several of the issues in philosophy of science concern science in general. David Hume raised a problem of induction, namely that of the grounds people have for believing that past generalizations, i.e., scientific laws, will be valid in the future. Sir Karl Popper and Nelson Goodman have made influential contributions to issues concerning induction in science. Another issue centers around the relations of scientific theories to the interpretation of the world. An additional general issue concerns the way science develops. Contemporary philosophers such as Thomas Kuhn have denied the thesis of the logical positivists (see logical positivism) that scientists choose between competing theories in a purely rational fashion, i.e., by appealing to theory-neutral observations. The philosophy of science also focuses on issues raised by the relations between individual sciences and by individual sciences themselves. An example of the former is the issue of whether the laws of one science, e.g., biology, can be reduced to those of a supposedly more fundamental one, e.g., physics. An example of the latter sort of issue is that of the implications of quantum mechanics for our understanding of causality.

Bibliography

See R. Boyd et al., ed., The Philosophy of Science (1991).

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philosophy of science

the branch of PHILOSOPHY concerned with the nature and foundations of scientific knowledge. As such it is, in part, coexistent with ONTOLOGY and EPISTEMOLOGY, but in addition it also involves a more specific concern with the details of SCIENCE. Historically much of the concern of the philosophy of science has been prescriptive (see POSITIVISM, FALSIFICATIONISM), but as these approaches have run into problems (see KUHN, FEYERABEND) there has been a partial retreat from this emphasis, bringing the philosophy of science much closer to historical and SOCIAL STUDIES OF SCIENCE, and to the SOCIOLOGY OF SCIENCE and the SOCIOLOGY OF KNOWLEDGE.
Collins Dictionary of Sociology, 3rd ed. © HarperCollins Publishers 2000
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institutionalist reading of the Structure to the reception of his philosophy of science. In the subsequent three sections, the proposed institutionalist view is unfolded by successively discussing the occurrence, the constitution and the change of socially constructed reality in Kuhn's approach.
Reviewing the development of philosophy of science in the 20th century, we discover surprisingly that the paradigm transformation of philosophy of science experiences the similar process to that of hard-to-soft systems methodology, even though we do!not know whether systems methodology simulates philosophy of science or vice versa.
No book on innovation that I have read makes the connection between innovation and the theory of knowledge and philosophy of science. This is unfortunate, because the theories of innovation may be subject to all the questions, conjectures, and answers that these disciplines have developed with respect to scientific knowledge.
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In Pierre Gassendi's Philosophy and Science, Saul Fisher rejects what he calls "the contextualist" approach, proposing instead to analyze and criticize Gassendi's thought on the basis of logic and modern philosophy of science. He states that "to present the philosophical richness of Gassendi's thought is to depict his philosophical and scientific pursuits as part of one and the same project" (xxi).
Dennett's interests are focused primarily on the philosophy of mind and philosophy of science. He has authored over 200 scholarly papers along with several books that have received both academic and critical acclaim: Content and Consciousness (1969), Brainstorms (1978), Consciousness Explained (1991), Darwin's Dangerous Idea (1995), Kinds of Minds (1996), Brainchildren: A Collection of Essays 1984-1996 (1998), Freedom Evolves (2003), and Sweet Dreams: Philosophical Obstacles to a Science of Consciousness (2005).
Contributions are welcomed from a broad variety of fields, including philosophy, mathematics, physics, musicology, medicine, acoustics, neurology, theology, literary studies, philosophy of science, music pedagogy, computer science, semiotics, sociology, linguistics, religious studies, anthropology, psychology, biology, education studies, music therapy, and culture studies.

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