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3.6 out of 5 stars
9
Philosophy Of Science (Fundamentals of Philosophy)
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on 12 March 2000
This book is good. I would like to take issue with Dr Goddard-Smith and say this book is not misleading. It is clear, well laid out and has some good use of examples from science to illustrate some usually complex topics. It *is* limited, and there is too little attention to morals, but this doesn't detract from it being a good little book which any student of philosophy will definitely benefit from reading.
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on 4 January 2000
This is an ideal textbook for any student of the philosophy of science who finds the traditionally dry and boring articles a little hard to tie together. While not really offering anything exciting (despite the rave review it received by Peter Lipton, Cambridge University) it is mostly reliable, if a little simplistic in parts. There are a few typographical errors which ought not to have crept into the final print, but this does not really detract from its user friendliness. Ideal if you wish to survey a complex subject, or revise for an exam.
However, it is let down by its conventional approach. Biology is not really dealt with in depth, and the ethics of scientific inquiry, surely one of the most pressing issues in the philosophy of science today, is sadly cast aside for the sake of traditional and less relevant discussions about the Kuhn/Popper debate on scientific revolutions.
A note of warning. Bird is very biased against the Sociology of Science programme proposed by a colleague at Edinburgh University, David Bloor. The section on him ought to be read with several shakes of salt.
In short, Bird has produced a worthy primer for the student of analytic philosophy of science who has a penchant for the epistemological problems thereby provoked.
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on 23 February 2013
This is a very solid introduction to some aspects of the philosophy of science. This book is particularly strong when it comes to explaining and critiquing induction and scientific method. (It is less strong, in fact largely misses out other aspects of the philosophy of science). I think this book will primarily interest a philosophy student at undergraduate level who is focussing on topics like methodology and induction - and if that is what you want then this book will be a very good choices. It is sufficiently deep, not very technical and pretty easy to read. However, there are other introductions (e.g. Alex Rosenberg's) which cover a wider range, although not so good on methodology, with a more stimulating writing style. Bird is a bit dry at times. If you want a general read on philosophy of science or other things than methodology then perhaps try elsewhere.
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on 7 May 2011
If you agree that 'science' is essentially to do with rational evidence-based reasoning, then this book, which deals with the creation of theories, justification, 'laws', aspects of epistemology and so on is an excellent work. It doesn't seriously try to deal with the socio-political aspects of scientific 'programmes', nor that much with the psychological failings that sometimes prevent us from doing proper science - which is a good thing - these are separate topics (see Curd's book for example).
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on 20 May 2004
This is book is neither scary, nor amazing, nor disappointing or misleading. Rather, it is a concise, solid and thorough introduction to philosophy of science. As such, it covers all the major topics in a typical (Anglo-American) university course on philosophy of science -- explanation, theory change, scientific realism, laws of nature, causation. Neighbouring fields are also discussed in some detail, plus some (at times original) new examples. The author makes clear that he has no intention of covering non-standard (or non-philosophical) approaches to science -- hence, there is little history of science, no detailed case studies and no SSK or science studies. The author is open about these limits, and this is why the self-imposed restrictions can hardly be seen as "misleading".
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on 24 February 2000
This book explores all the current issues facing the philosophy of science. It tackles them in a clear manner, introducing new concepts in a lively way.
Whilst designed primarily for undergraduates, it also is excellent for those who wish to broaden their scientific knowledge or find out more about this field of science.
A great read.
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on 3 March 2000
A book which reports to be about the "philosophy" of science ought really to cover more than merely the methodological problems of science. This is basically a book on a selective area of epistemology and is thus only useful in that it carves out its own little niche in an already saturated market. Science is a lot more than merely method, something Alexander Bird ought to consider. No thought is given to questioning the mechanisms of knowledge, or indeed the products of this knowledge. Epistemology, and Science, are not merely about frameworks. They are also about results and their evaluation. Too little time is devoted to these important themes.
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on 4 August 2000
I found the book to be most helpful in most cases. As an UG, I did not do any of the logic that was being used in the text, however many of the well known problems in the Philosophy of Science were covered clearly and effectively. (Strangely enough it is a recommended text in the Edinburgh University course!)
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on 8 May 2003
this man works wonders seriously! Am at a top uni studying philosophy and missed every single lecture and seminar for my Philosophy of science unit being the idiot I am! Anyway, this was the only book I brought ,it managed to teach me the whole course and I got 65% in the final exam! Simply written so easy enough to grasp after carefull reading but covers the major and also difficult points in enough detail using good examples so it looks like your depth of research is very sound. I owe this man allot!
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