on 26 June 2009
Think about it! In order to measure temperature accurately, you need to establish that substances like mercury extend linearly with temperature and that points like the boiling point of water are sufficiently fixed. How do you do that without having reliable measurement of temperature already? In its best moments, science, like the strongest magic, creates apparently something out of nothing.
This book is my favorite book on Philosophy of Science, not only because it treats such an intriguing topic. Professor Chang is inventive and rigid as (amateur) scientist, accurate, attentive and surprisingly entertaining as historian, and as clear, convincing and sharp as a professional philosopher should be (but often they are not).
His philosophy is well-informed by all kinds of abnormalities and paradoxes and his thinking is certainly complex and subversive enough to make him much more interesting and adventurous than any more or even less naive realists and objectivists, but on the other hand his understanding, respect and enthusiasm for the achievements of the great scientists sets him apart from many relativists and postmodernists and makes his work truly constructive.