A Historical Introduction to Scientific Methods
Edited by Peter Achinstein
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Science Rules by Peter Achinstein
Book DescriptionIs there a universal set of rules for discovering and testing scientific hypotheses? Since the birth of modern science, philosophers, scientists, and other thinkers have wrestled with this fundamental question of scientific practice. Efforts to devise rigorous methods for obtaining scientific knowledge include the twenty-one rules Descartes proposed in his Rules for the Direction of the Mind and the four rules of reasoning that begin the third book of Newton's Principia, and continue today in debates over the very possibility of such rules. Bringing together key primary sources spanning almost four centuries, Science Rules introduces readers to scientific methods that have played a prominent role in the history of scientific practice. Editor Peter Achinstein includes works by scientists and philosophers of science to offer a new perspective on the nature of scientific reasoning. For each of the methods discussed, he presents the original formulation of the method; selections written by a proponent of the method together with an application to a particular scientific example; and a critical analysis of the method that draws on historical and contemporary sources. The methods included in this volume are Cartesian rationalism with an application to Descartes' laws of motion; Newton's inductivism and the law of gravity; two versions of hypothetico-deductivism-those of William Whewell and Karl Popper-and the nineteenth-century wave theory of light; Paul Feyerabend's principle of proliferation and Thomas Kuhn's views on scientific values, both of which deny that there are universal rules of method, with an application to Galileo's tower argument. Included also is a famous nineteenth-century debate about scientific reasoning between the hypothetico-deductivist William Whewell and the inductivist John Stuart Mill; and an account of the realism-antirealism dispute about unobservables in science, with a consideration of Perrin's argument for the existence of molecules in the early twentieth century.
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Book DetailsISBN: 9780801879449
(235mm x 155mm x 28mm)
Imprint: Johns Hopkins University Press
Publisher: Johns Hopkins University Press
Publish Date: 29-Sep-2004
Country of Publication: United States
Books By Author Peter Achinstein
Scientific Evidence, Hardback (June 2005)
Book of Evidence, Paperback (November 2003)
Achinstein explores the question of how something comes to be considered as evidence for a theory, claims that most current theories are too weak to give scientists a good reason to believe in the value of evidence, and ultimately develops his own theory of evidence.
Nature of Explanation, Paperback (June 1986)» View all books by Peter Achinstein
A new approach to the definition of scientific explanation. Unlike standard theories, it focuses initially on the explaining act itself, to which reference must be made in order to understand what an explanation is and how it can be evaluated in the sciences.
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Author Biography - Peter Achinstein
Peter Achinstein is a professor of philosophy at the Johns Hopkins University. His previous books include Concepts of Science, Law and Explanation, The Nature of Explanation, Particles and Waves, and The Book of Evidence.
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