Worldviews: An Introduction to the History and Philosophy of Science / Edition 2

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The first edition of Worldviews was widely hailed as one of the most accessible introductions to the history and philosophy of science - with author Richard DeWitt garnering particular critical acclaim for his ability to present complex concepts in a thoroughly engaging manner. This updated Second Edition continues its focus on fundamental conceptual issues, exploring the transition from the Aristotelian to Newtonian worldviews, and further considering the challenges to our Western worldview brought about by recent developments, particularly relativity theory, quantum theory, and evolutionary theory. In addition, three new chapters are included that feature extensive coverage of scientific laws, evolutionary theory, and the philosophical/conceptual implications of evolution. By providing readers at all levels with the critical tools necessary for reflecting on the nature and development of Western scientific thought, Worldviews: An Introduction to the History and Philosophy of Science, Second Edition, enhances its reputation as the ideal introduction to the concepts of the philosophy of science.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"The book has great merits and is very readable, and beginners in history of science and philosophy of science will appreciate the wealth of information that it offers." (Aestimatio: Critical Reviews in the History of Science, 2011)

"Written in clear and comprehensible prose and supplemented by effective diagrams and examples, Worldviews is an ideal text for anyone new to the history and philosophy of science. As the reader will come to find out, DeWitt is a gifted writer with the unique ability to break down complex and technical concepts into digestible parts, making Worldviews a welcoming and not overwhelming book for the introductory reader." (History and Philosophy of the Life Sciences, vol. 28-2)

"The author is to be commended for the rare clarity of his writing, and for the truly impressive, most useful diagrams exemplifying many abstruse concepts and theses of quantum and relativistic theories. Unlike many other introductions to philosophy of science, DeWitt's book is at once historically informative and philosophically thorough and rigorous. Chapter notes, suggested readings, and references enhance its value". (Choice)

"This is a brilliantly clear introduction (and indeed reframing) of the history and philosophy of science in terms of world-views and thier elements.... In addition, the book is incredibly well-informed from both a scientific and philosophical angle. Highly recommended." (Scientific and Medical Network)

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781405195638
  • Publisher: Wiley
  • Publication date: 10/5/2010
  • Edition number: 2
  • Pages: 392
  • Sales rank: 271,868
  • Product dimensions: 6.70 (w) x 9.60 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Meet the Author

Richard DeWitt is Associate Professor and Chair of the Department of Philosophy at Fairfield University. In addition to the history and philosophy of science, Professor DeWitt’s research interests include mathematical and philosophical logic, and the philosophy of mind.

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Table of Contents

List of figures ix

Acknowledgments xi

Introduction 1

Part I Fundamental Issues 5

1 Worldviews 7

2 Truth 17

3 Empirical Facts and Philosophical/Conceptual Facts 32

4 Confirming and Disconfirming Evidence and Reasoning 38

5 The Quine-Duhem Thesis and Implications for Scientific Method 46

6 Philosophical Interlude: Problems and Puzzles of Induction 58

7 Falsifiability 66

8 Instrumentalism and Realism 71

Part II The Transition from the Aristotelian Worldview to the Newtonian Worldview 79

9 The Structure of the Universe on the Aristotelian Worldview 81

10 The Preface to Ptolemy's Almagest: The Earth as Spherical, Stationary, and at the Center of the Universe 87

11 Astronomical Data: The Empirical Facts 99

12 Astronomical Data: The Philosophical/Conceptual Facts 106

13 The Ptolemaic System 113

14 The Copernican System 123

15 The Tychonic System 134

16 Kepler's System 137

17 Galileo and the Evidence from the Telescope 148

18 A Summary of Problems Facing the Aristotelian Worldview 164

19 Philosophical and Conceptual Connections in the Development of the New Science 170

20 Overview of the New Science and the Newtonian Worldview 175

21 Philosophical Interlude: What is a Scientific Law" 183

22 The Development of the Newtonian Worldview, 1700-1900 192

Part III Recent Developments in Science and Worldviews 205

23 The Special Theory of Relativity 207

24 The General Theory of Relativity 227

25 Overview of the Empirical Facts, Mathematics, and Interpretations of Quantum Theory 235

26 Quantum Theory and Locality: EPR, Bell's Theorem, and the Aspect Experiments 272

27 Overview of the Theory of Evolution 287

28 Philosophical and Conceptual Implications of Evolution 310

29 Worldviews: Concluding Thoughts 341

Chapter Notes and Suggested Reading 349

References 366

Index 371

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