Thursday, April 24, 2008

Review of Ladyman's Understanding Philosophy of Science

James Ladyman's Understanding Philosophy of Science is a pretty good beginning text in the philosophy of science. It is very well organized, and as straight forward as can be. There are two main sections. The first deals with the scientific method, the second deals with the question of realism.

The first section goes through the various stages in the philosophy, especially the question of induction, from the rather naive position of Francis Bacon through falsificationism and the theory of scientific revolutions.

The second section is about the question of realism, especially the problems created by underdetermination, explanation, and inference to the best explanation. There is a very good focus on van Fraassen and the nature of constructive empiricism.

This book is an excellent choice for a first introduction to the main questions in contemporary philosophy of science.

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