The Advancement of Science: Science Without Legend, Objectivity Without Illusions / Edition 1

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Setting a new agenda for the philosophy of science and for other "science studies" disciplines, in this book the well-known philosopher Philip Kitcher offers an innovative and detailed picture of the advancement of science. During the last three decades, reflections on the growth of scientific knowledge have inspired historians, sociologists, and some philosophers to contend that scientific objectivity is a myth. In this book, Kitcher attempts to resurrect the notions of objectivity and progress in science by identifying both the limitations of idealized treatments of growth of knowledge and the overreactions to philosophical idealizations. Recognizing that science is done not by logically omniscient subjects working in isolation, but by people with a variety of personal and social interests who cooperate and compete with one another, he argues that, nonetheless, we may conceive the growth of science as a process in which both our vision of nature and our ways of learning more about nature improve. Undertaking a novel synthesis that preserves the very conceptions of objectivity and progress in epistemology and philosophy of science, this book accommodates and examines the insights of historians and sociologists of science who have criticized traditional philosophy of science. Pointing to a new way of discussing science, The Advancement of Science is of key interest to philosophers of science, historians of science, sociologists of science, and reflective scientists.
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Philip Kitcher, in his excellent new book, provides something that has not been available before: a careful, detailed and systematic attempt to show that what's wrong with traditional accounts of science can be conceded...without thereby sacrificing at any rate the core claims of scientific rationalists....Few philosophers will fail to agree that this book constitutes a significant step forward in the discipline"—Times Higher Education Supplement

"[Kitcher] makes an important contribution that will enable philosophers once more to give credit to those parts of science where credit is due....A book that is destined to be discussed by all those interested in science for some years to come."—New York Times Book Review

"A must for philosophers, historians, and sociologists of sciences as well as for reflective scientists."—Choice

"This will be a book of major significance in philosophy of science. It develops an approach that incorporates historical, social, economic, and psychological aspects of science without giving up the kind of logical rigor that has always characterized Kitcher's work (as well as that of such philosophers as Hempel and Carnap). As I see it, this work should provide a substantial synthesis of the great traditions associated respectively with Kuhn and Hempel. Impressively innovative, it constitutes a large step forward in the discipline."—Wesley C. Salmon, University of Pittsburgh

"An essential text for anyone concerned with the fundamental issues it addresses....The book is full of insightful and important ideas and analysis, and is written with the clarity and force of argument that readers of Kitcher's earlier works will expect. There can be no doubt that it constitutes a significant contribution to fundamental issues in the philosophy of science."—The Philosophical Review

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780195096538
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press
  • Publication date: 4/20/1995
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 432
  • Lexile: 1560L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 6.19 (w) x 9.19 (h) x 1.11 (d)

Meet the Author

Columbia University
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Table of Contents

1 Legend's Legacy 3
2 Darwin's Achievement 11
3 The Microstructure of Scientific Change 58
4 Varieties of Progress 90
5 Realism and Scientific Progress 127
6 Dissolving Rationality 178
7 The Experimental Philosophy 219
8 The Organization of Cognitive Labor 303
Envoi 390
Bibliography 392
Index 407
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