Understanding Philosophy of Science
Routledge – 2001 – 304 pages
Few can imagine a world without telephones or televisions; many depend on computers and the Internet as part of daily life. Without scientific theory, these developments would not have been possible.
In this exceptionally clear and engaging introduction to philosophy of science, James Ladyman explores the philosophical questions that arise when we reflect on the nature of the scientific method and the knowledge it produces. He discusses whether fundamental philosophical questions about knowledge and reality might be answered by science, and considers in detail the debate between realists and antirealists about the extent of scientific knowledge. Along the way, central topics in philosophy of science, such as the demarcation of science from non-science, induction, confirmation and falsification, the relationship between theory and observation and relativism are all addressed. Important and complex current debates over underdetermination, inference to the best explaination and the implications of radical theory change are clarified and clearly explained for those new to the subject.
'An excellent introduction to philosophy of science that can be recommended as a starting point to the general reader… The writing is exceptionally clear and the text is enlivened by periodic snippets of dialogue between enthusiastic science lover Alice and her more sceptical friend Thomas.' - Network, 2002
'I have no reservations in recomnmending [it] as the ideal introductory volume for anyone wishing to learn more about philosophy of science' - Philosophers Magazine
'Amongst the many introductory books on philosophy of science this one stands out in two ways: Ladyman writes very clearly about philosophical issues and problems and he tries more than most philosophers do to explain why they deserve the attention of science students. He does an excellent job of introducing key philosophical problems to students who are unlikely to be taking other philosophy courses.' - Philosophical Books
'His approach is balanced throughout … a success on many levels … Particularly impressive in this book is the effortless way that Ladyman introduces the ideas of active, contemporary philosophers of science … Few books of this kind will contain ideas as up to date.' - Mind
James Ladyman is Senior Lecturer in philosophy at the University of Bristol