FREE Delivery in the UK.
In stock.
Dispatched from and sold by Amazon. Gift-wrap available.
The Comprehensibility of ... has been added to your Basket
Have one to sell?
Flip to back Flip to front
Listen Playing... Paused   You're listening to a sample of the Audible audio edition.
Learn more
See this image

The Comprehensibility of the Universe: A New Conception of Science Paperback – 17 Apr 2003

See all formats and editions Hide other formats and editions
Amazon Price
New from Used from
"Please retry"
£31.48 £10.66
Note: This item is eligible for click and collect. Details
Pick up your parcel at a time and place that suits you.
  • Choose from over 13,000 locations across the UK
  • Prime members get unlimited deliveries at no additional cost
How to order to an Amazon Pickup Location?
  1. Find your preferred location and add it to your address book
  2. Dispatch to this address when you check out
Learn more
£35.49 FREE Delivery in the UK. In stock. Dispatched from and sold by Amazon. Gift-wrap available.
click to open popover

Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.

  • Apple
  • Android
  • Windows Phone

To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.

Product details

Product Description


Nicholas Maxwell's ambitious aim is to reform not only our philosophical understanding of science but the methodology of scientists themselves . . . Maxwell's aim oriented empiricism [is] intelligible and persuasive . . . the main ideas are important and appealing . . . an important contribution to the philosophy of physics. (J. J. C. Smart, The British Journal for the Philosophy of Science)

Maxwell . . . has shown that it is absurd to believe that science can proceed without some basic assumptions about the comprehensibility of the universe . . . Throughout his book, Maxwell has meticulously argued for the superiority of his view by providing detailed examples from the history of physics and mathematics . . . The Comprehensibility of the Universe attempts to resurrect an ideal of modern philosophy: to make rational sense of science by offering a philosophical program for improving our knowledge and understanding of the universe. It is a consistent plea for articulating the metaphysical presuppositions of modern science and offers a cure for the theoretical schizophrenia resulting from acceptance of incoherent principles at the base of scientific theory. (Leemon McHenry, Mind)

Maxwell has clearly spent a lifetime thinking about these matters and passionately seeks a philosophical conception of science that will aid in the development of an intelligible physical worldview. He has much of interest to say about the development of physical thought since Newton. His comprehensive coverage and sophisticated treatment of basic problems within the philosophy of science make the book well worth studying for philosophers of science as well as for scientists interested in philosophical and methodological matters pertaining to science. (Cory F. Juhl, International Philosophical Quarterly)

Maxwell does not downplay the ambition of his project. His arguments are intended to do no less than change the nature of science by explicitly integrating metaphysics into scientific practice. Maxwell performs a heroic feat in making the physics accessible to the non-physicist . . . Philosophically, there is much here to stimulate and provoke. In particular, there are rewarding comparisons to be made between the functional roles assigned to Maxwell's metaphysical "blueprints" and Thomas Kuhn's paradigms, as well as between Maxwell's description of theoretical development and Imre Lakatos's methodology of scientific research programmes . . . those who share Maxwell's intuitions about progress, even those uncommitted to "theories of everything", will find encouragement here for thinking about how one does justice to such a possibility. (Anjan Chakravartty, The Times Higher Education Supplement)

This admirably ambitious book contains more thought-provoking material than can even be mentioned here. Maxwell's treatment of the descriptive problem of simplicity, and his novel proposals about quantum mechanics deserve special note. . . . Maxwell's highly informed discussions of the changing ontologies of various modern physical theories are enjoyable, and the physical and mathematical appendix of the book should be a great help to the beginner. (Sherrilyn Roush, The Philosophical Review)

The detailed discussions of theoretical unification in physics - from Newton, Maxwell and Einstein to Feynman, Weinberg and Salam - form some of the best material in the book . . . a beautiful balance between concrete science and abstract philosophy. (Friedel Weinert, Philosophy)

some of [Maxwell's] insights are of everlasting importance to the philosophy of science . . . My overall conclusion is that Universe is an ideal book for a reading group in philosophy of science or in philosophy of physics. Many of the pressing problems of the philosophy of science are discussed in a lively manner, controversial solutions are passionately defended and some new insights are provided; in particular the chapter on simplicity in physics deserves to be read by all philosophers of physics. (F. A. Muller, Studies in History and Philosophy of Modern Physics)

About the Author

Nicholas Maxwell is Emeritus Reader in Philosophy of Science at University College London. Previously, he taught philosophy of science in the Department of History and Philosophy of Science at UCL for nearly thirty years. Much of his teaching and research has been devoted to arguing that we need to bring about a revolution in academia so that it comes to seek and promote wisdom and does not just acquire knowledge. He has published six books on this theme.

Customer Reviews

There are no customer reviews yet.
5 star
4 star
3 star
2 star
1 star