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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A fantastic introduction
The "A Very Short Introduction" series doesn't always come up with good books, but this one is a gem. It really is. It introduces the basics first: deduction, induction, etc. and goes on to talk about the problem of induction, Hume's criticism of it, whether thinking about probability and causation can help. The discussion moves then onto realists vs...
Published on 10 April 2006 by filthmonkey

versus
3.0 out of 5 stars Appetizer
I know the title reads as "A Very Short Introduction.." but neverthless this book should in my opinion be less ..short.However what is presented almost on an "Abstracts" form is very interesting and makes you long for further reading.

Francisco Amaral
Published 18 months ago by Francisco Amaral


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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A fantastic introduction, 10 April 2006
This review is from: Philosophy of Science: A Very Short Introduction (Very Short Introductions) (Paperback)
The "A Very Short Introduction" series doesn't always come up with good books, but this one is a gem. It really is. It introduces the basics first: deduction, induction, etc. and goes on to talk about the problem of induction, Hume's criticism of it, whether thinking about probability and causation can help. The discussion moves then onto realists vs. anti-realists. The highly influential philosopher Thomas Kuhn is also well covered. Finally, the book covers some problems in biology and physics and generally that result from science. The book is brief and you can read it in a long evening or maybe two short ones, if you're not already familiar with the subject. Most importantly, the author manages to realise that newcomers to the subject deserve a gentle ride, and he does this by writing very accessibly and using plenty of easy-to-understand examples. I would recommend this to anybody trying to find a way into the philosophy of science. Of course, being a "very short introduction" this book doesn't tend to go into very much detail or cover everything that philosophy of science entails. But a very short introduction can't have everything. For beginners I think it is ideal, and that is what it aims to be. Highly recommended.
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24 of 25 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great little book, 31 Aug 2006
By 
M. J. Robinson (England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Philosophy of Science: A Very Short Introduction (Very Short Introductions) (Paperback)
I found this book very clear, comprehensible and enjoyable.

It starts off with a brief history of modern physics and some biology. It then discusses deduction and induction and goes on look at explanation in science and outlines problems associated with these ideas. It then outlines the realist v anti-realist debate.

The philosophy of Popper and Kuhn are critically outlined and there is a chapter on the critics of science. There is also a chapter on specific problems in physics, biology and psychology.

Because there is obviously limited space in a book of this size, it is unable to cover some of the important philosophies of science that have been developed since Kuhn.

However, I thought this book was well written and ideal for the layman wanting an intoduction to this field, and certainly whets the appetite to find out more. Thoroughly recommended.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent introduction to a fascinating area of study., 12 Oct 2010
By 
T. West (England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Philosophy of Science: A Very Short Introduction (Very Short Introductions) (Paperback)
This is the first book i've read dedicated to the philosophy of science and it won't be the last, because it has introduced some deeply important questions about fundamental reasoning and what makes science work. It will challenge a lot of preconceptions using well-structured arguments and real world examples, and gives a good account of how science progresses, the thinking behind Popper's ideas of falsification (it turns out not as cut and dry as many think), and introduces Kuhn's groundbreaking theories on scientific progress and Paradigm shifts, offering sustained criticism from logic of both empiricist views and those from Kuhn. There is a quick disclaimer for those who would cite Kuhn's work as giving impetus to cultural relativism, and there are some good examples of philosophical problems in science, such as the notion of absolute space and biological classification. there are also some great arguments for the realist-anti-realist debate, a debate I had not really thought existed.

Personally, I would've liked a little more about Karl Popper's theories, but that is trivial. The book is a short one and does give a good account of how science progressed to this point in the first chapter, which sets the scene nicely.

An excellent read for both scientists and philosophers.
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16 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars great for beginners, 18 Feb 2003
By A Customer
This review is from: Philosophy of Science: A Very Short Introduction (Very Short Introductions) (Paperback)
As a relative newcomer to the subject, I found the book fascinating. It is full of illustrations which explain and break up the text, and it is small, so I didn't feel oppressed by a huge weight of knowledge that I might feel obliged to wade through. Very approachable and very readable - Five stars!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A little book of big ideas, 30 Sep 2008
By 
Mark Hurst (Bedfordshire) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Philosophy of Science: A Very Short Introduction (Very Short Introductions) (Paperback)
A great little book that introduces the major debates with enough detail to whet the appetite but not enough to intimidate. As befits a book of this nature, the author sensibly avoids polemic and other rhetorical baggage in favour of clear writing, leaving the reader free to concentrate on the ideas. The result is straightforward, unpretentious and concise.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The ideas of science, 29 Aug 2009
By 
Dr. H. A. Jones "Howard Jones" (Wales, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Philosophy of Science: A Very Short Introduction (Very Short Introductions) (Paperback)
Philosophy of Science: A very short introduction by Samir Okasha, Oxford, 2002, 160 ff.

The ideas of science
By Howard A. Jones

There are several books available on the philosophy of science and they all have different ideas about what this topic should involve. This book by a lecturer in philosophy at the University of York approaches the subject from a truly philosophical viewpoint, exploring the concepts involved in science. It is however a book aimed at a general readership and I think the only serious competitor at this level is the treatment by O'Hear.

After a short exploration of what the word `science' should mean, Okasha gives a resume of some revolutionary scientific ideas of the past five centuries - those of Copernicus, Galileo, Descartes, Newton, Darwin and Einstein. Logical positivism and Karl Popper's ideology feature prominently in the discussion of science and pseudo-science.

The difference between the certainty of mathematical deduction and the probability generated by scientific induction is well explained in the next chapters: Hume's views on the subject and the application of Occam's razor and Carl Hempel's covering law model of explanation are discussed. This is followed by two excellent chapters on the distinction between realism and idealism (or anti-realism) in science and the significance of the seminal work on philosophy of science by Kuhn.

The penultimate chapter deals with the world-views of Newton and Leibniz, and the philosophy of some of the applied sciences. The final chapter is on science and its limitations: here, scientism, science and morality and the science vs. religion debate is explored.

There is an extensive Further Reading list in just a few pages and a useful index.

Dr Howard A. Jones is the author of The Thoughtful Guide to God (2006) and The Tao of Holism (2008), both published by O Books of Winchester, UK.

The Structure of Scientific Revolutions
An Introduction to the Philosophy of Science
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5.0 out of 5 stars Great introduction., 19 Jun 2014
By 
Florian Weber "Leseratte" (Garbsen) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Philosophy of Science: A Very Short Introduction (Very Short Introductions) (Paperback)
Great introduction into the philosophy of science. Easy to understand and surprisingly comprehensive, though not too deep. Good for students in philosophy or computing science about to conduct their first research.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Ideal Introduction, 27 April 2014
This review is from: Philosophy of Science: A Very Short Introduction (Very Short Introductions) (Paperback)
If you're interested in the philosophy of science, this is a great place to start: it's cheap, it's lucid, it provides a broad overview and a comprehensive set of suggestions for further reading. The main areas covered are the definition of science, the problem of induction (Hume), realism vs. anti-realism, the nature of scientific revolutions (Kuhn), criticisms of science, and some specific problems (the nature of space, classification in biology and the modularity of the mind).

Others have mentioned the brevity of this book. Personally, I was happy with the breadth and depth of the material presented, with a couple of caveats: I’d have liked an explanation, or at least an enumeration, of the problems with the logical interpretation of probability, and I’d have liked a little more on causality (or causation). However, I see this latter subject has a Very Short Introduction of its own.

The descriptions and explanations provided by the author, Okasha, are clear and concise. (His punctuation is slightly odd. With some sentences chopped into fragments. But this doesn't obscure his meaning.) Okasha is also careful to be impartial, presenting all sides to an argument and rarely drawing a conclusion. This does mean you get far more questions than answers, but that's philosophy for you.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Good for new PhD students, 4 April 2014
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This review is from: Philosophy of Science: A Very Short Introduction (Very Short Introductions) (Paperback)
Well written. Clear and simple.
It covers all necessary topics in philosophy of science.
Good for new researchers regardless of their area of interest.
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5.0 out of 5 stars This is an excellent read., 27 Dec 2013
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This review is from: Philosophy of Science: A Very Short Introduction (Very Short Introductions) (Paperback)
The book gives a very good and cogent overview of the topic explaining complex ideas in a clear and understandable way.
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