Subject: Science / Philosophy & Social Aspects

Subject: Science / Philosophy & Social Aspects

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Theories On The Scrap Heap

|9780822958734|Scientists and Philosophers on the Falsification, Rejection, and Replacement of Theories|In a recent issue of the Atlantic Monthly, Cullen Murphy wrote that “It is always a little disconcerting when audacious scientific theories come a cropper.” In this case, he was speaking of Stephen Hawking’s now self-repudiated idea that information swallowed by cosmic black holes might be escaping into “baby universes.” John Losee looks at the subject of rejected scientific theories through an analysis of case studies from more than two centuries of science. Losee excerpts the work of prominent scientists and philosophers of science accompanied by evaluative comments from the…

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Four Decades of Scientific Explanation

|9780822959267| As Aristotle stated, scientific explanation is based on deductive argument–yet, Wesley C. Salmon points out, not all deductive arguments are qualified explanations. The validity of the explanation must itself be examined. Four Decades of Scientific Explanation provides a comprehensive account of the developments in scientific explanation that transpired in the last four decades of the twentieth century. It continues to stand as the most comprehensive treatment of the writings on the subject during these years.Building on the historic 1948 essay by Carl G. Hempel and Paul Oppenheim, “Studies in the Logic of Explanation,” which introduced the deductive-nomological (D-N) model…

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No Easy Answers

|9780822959687|Science and the Pursuit of Knowledge|In No Easy Answers, Allan Franklin offers an accurate picture of science to both a general reader and to scholars in the humanities and social sciences who may not have any background in physics. Through the examination of nontechnical case studies, he illustrates the various roles that experiment plays in science. He uses examples of unquestioned success, such as the discoveries of the electron and of three types of neutrino, as well as studies that were dead ends, wrong turns, or just plain mistakes, such as the “fifth force,” a proposed modification of Newton's law…

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Thinking about Causes

|9780822943099|From Greek Philosophy to Modern Physics|Emerging as a hot topic in the mid-twentieth century, causality is one of the most frequently discussed issues in contemporary philosophy. Causality has been a central concept in philosophy as well as in the sciences, especially the natural sciences, dating back to its beginning in Greek thought. David Hume famously claimed that causality is the cement of the universe. In general terms, it links eventualities, predicts the consequences of action, and is the cognitive basis for the acquisition and the use of categories and concepts in the child. Indeed, how could one answer why-questions, around…

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Ending the Mendel-Fisher Controversy

|9780822943198| In 1865, Gregor Mendel presented “Experiments in Plant-Hybridization,” the results of his eight-year study of the principles of inheritance through experimentation with pea plants. Overlooked in its day, Mendel’s work would later become the foundation of modern genetics. Did his pioneering research follow the rigors of real scientific inquiry, or was Mendel’s data too good to be true—the product of doctored statistics? In Ending the Mendel-Fisher Controversy, leading experts present their conclusions on the legendary controversy surrounding the challenge to Mendel’s findings by British statistician and biologist R. A. Fisher. In his 1936 paper “Has Mendel’s Work Been Rediscovered?”…

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