Critical Approaches to Science and Philosophy

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Overview

This collection of essays, written on four continents by scientists, philosophers and humanists, was initially presented to Karl R. Popper on his sixtieth birthday as a token of critical admiration and in recognition of his work. But the volume also stands on its own as a remarkable series of statements utilizing Popper's critical vision in the study of philosophy proper, logic, mathematics, science as method and theory, and finally to the study of society and history. What is remarkable is that Popper worked in all of these areas, not in a cursory or discursive way, but with the utmost clarity and rigor.

. The core position of this volume and its contributors is that the progress of knowledge is not a linear accumulation of definitive acquisitions but a zigzagging process in which counterexamples and unfavorable evidence ruin generalizations and prompt the invention of more comprehensive and sometimes deeper generalizations, to be criticized in their turn. A critical approach to problems, procedures, and results in every field of inquiry is therefore a necessary condition for the continuance of progress.

The title of this volume then is, in a sense, an homage to Popper's critical rationalism and critical empiricism. The essays are a tribute to his unceasing and uncompromising quest, not for final certainty, but for closer truth and increased clarity. Among the contributors are outstanding figures in philosophy and the exact sciences in their own right, including Herbert Feigl, R. M. Hare, J.O. Wisdom, Nicholas Rescher, David Bohm, Paul K. Feyerabend, F. A. Hayek, and Adolf Grunbaum. Social science contributions include Hans Albert on social science and moral philosophy, W. B. Gallie, on the critical philosophy of history, Pieter Geyl on The Open Society and its Enemies, and George H. Nadel on the philosophy of History.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780765804273
  • Publisher: Transaction Publishers
  • Publication date: 3/1/1998
  • Series: Science and Technology Series
  • Pages: 481
  • Product dimensions: 5.90 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 1.30 (d)

Meet the Author

Mario Bunge is professor in the philosophy department at McGill University in Montreal and holds sixteen honorary doctorates and four honorary professorships. His works include Treatise on Basic Philosophy in eight volumes, Philosophy of Psychology, Scientific Materialism, Social Science under Debate, and Philosophy of Science (revised edition, Transaction).

Mario Bunge is professor in the philosophy department at McGill University in Montreal and holds sixteen honorary doctorates and four honorary professorships. His works include Treatise on Basic Philosophy in eight volumes, Philosophy of Psychology, Scientific Materialism, Social Science under Debate, and Philosophy of Science (revised edition, Transaction).

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Table of Contents

Introduction to the Transaction Edition
Preface
Biographical Notes on the Contributors
Pt. I The Critical Approach to Philosophy
1 Rationality versus the Theory of Rationality 3
2 Reflections on Karl Popper's Epistemology 32
3 What Hume Might Have Said to Kant 45
4 Strength, Confirmation, Compatibility 52
5 A Question about Plato's Theory of Ideas 61
6 Popper and Wittgenstein 82
7 Confirmation, the Paradoxes, and Positivism 92
8 Some Overlooked Aspects of Popper's Contributions to Philosophy, Logic, and Scientific Method 116
Pt. II The Critical Approach to Logic and Mathematics
9 The Elimination of Variables by Regular Combinators 127
10 On Popper's Use of the Notion of Absolute Logical Probability 144
11 Aristotle's Theory of Modal Syllogisms and Its Interpretation 152
12 Logical Terminology and Theory of Meaning 178
Pt. III The Critical Approach to Science
13 The Nature of Scientific Problems and Their Roots in Metaphysics 189
14 On the Problem of Truth and Understanding in Science 212
15 The Mach Principle 224
16 Phenomenological Theories 234
17 The Simple Laws of Science and History 255
18 The Neurophysiological Basis of Experience 266
19 Realism and Instrumentalism: Comments on the Logic of Factual Support 280
20 Observation and the Quantum 309
21 Popper on Irreversibility 316
22 The Theory of Complex Phenomena 332
23 The Agreement between Mathematics and Physical Phenomena 350
24 On the Reality of Elementary Particles 360
Pt. IV The Critical Approach to Society and History
25 Social Science and Moral Philosophy 385
26 Popper and the Critical Philosophy of History 410
27 The Open Society and Its Enemies 423
28 The Tradition of General Knowledge 431
29 Philosophy of History before Historicism 445
Writings of Karl R. Popper 473
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