Smoke and Mirrors: How Science Reflects Reality

Hardcover (Print)
Buy New
Buy New from BN.com
$145.00
Used and New from Other Sellers
Used and New from Other Sellers
from $86.89
Usually ships in 1-2 business days
(Save 40%)
Other sellers (Hardcover)
  • All (6) from $86.89   
  • New (1) from $143.23   
  • Used (5) from $86.89   

Overview

Realism is an enlightening story, a tale which enriches our experience and makes it more intelligible. Yet this wonderful picture of humanity's best efforts at knowledge has been badly bruised by numerous critics. James Robert Brown in Smoke and Mirrors fights back against figures such as Richard Rorty, Bruno Latour, Michael Ruse and Hilary Putnam who have attacked realist accounts of science.
But this volume is not wholly devoted to combating Rorty and others who blow smoke in our eyes; the second half is concerned with arguing that there are some amazing ways in which science mirrors the world. The role of abstraction, abstract objects and a priori ways of getting at reality are all explored in showing how science reflects reality.
Smoke and Mirrors is a defence of science and knowledge in general as well as a defence of a particular way of understanding science. It is of interest to all those who wish or need to know how science works.

Read More Show Less

Product Details

Table of Contents

Preface
Acknowledgements
1 Explaining the success of science 3
Miracles, Darwin and 'the truth' 5
The Darwinian answer 6
Realism and reference 8
Realism and verisimilitude 10
Is hypothetico-deductivism the problem? 13
Fine's ontological attitude 15
Why truth matters (a little) 18
Narrative explanations 21
2 Rorty's Solidarity 29
Unforced agreement 29
Russell's promiscuity 31
Kuhn 33
From God to Gauss 34
Arguments and pictures 39
3 Latour's prosaic science 41
4 The naturalism of Ruse 60
Naturalism and evolution 60
Epistemology 61
Ethics 67
Evidence 70
5 Putnam's verification 78
Putnam's pilgrimage 78
Truth and rational acceptability 79
Defining realism 81
Internal realism 83
Natural kinds 84
Relativism 85
A final note 88
6 Knowledge - in the abstract 91
Laws of nature 91
Knowledge of laws 98
Causal empiricism 100
EPR and the Bell results 102
The upshot 110
The argument so far 112
Thought experiments 113
7 Phenomena 117
Phenomena and data 117
Phenomena and natural kinds 125
Diagrams 128
Phenomena and values 130
Thought experiments 131
Phenomena and inference 133
The structure of data 136
Feynman diagrams 138
Concluding remarks 140
8 What is the vector potential? 142
9 Proof and truth in the abstract realm 160
Proofs 163
The later methodology 172
Definition and ontology 173
Afterword 184
Notes 185
Bibliography 189
Index 196
Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Be the first to write a review
( 0 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(0)

4 Star

(0)

3 Star

(0)

2 Star

(0)

1 Star

(0)

Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Noble.com Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & Noble.com that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & Noble.com does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at BN.com or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation

Reminder:

  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & Noble.com and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Noble.com Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & Noble.com reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & Noble.com also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on BN.com. It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

 
Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously

    If you find inappropriate content, please report it to Barnes & Noble
    Why is this product inappropriate?
    Comments (optional)