This textbook provides a collection of case studies in paleoanthropology demonstrating the method and limitations of science. These cases introduce the reader to various problems and illustrate how they have been addressed historically. The various topics selected represent important corrections in the field, some critical breakthroughs, models of good reasoning and experimental design, and important ideas emerging from normal science.
The increasingly lively controversy over scientific realism has become one of the principal themes of recent philosophy. 1 In watching this controversy unfold in the rather technical way currently in vogue, it has seemed to me that it would be useful to view these contemporary disputes against the background of such older epistemological issues as fallibilism, scepticism, relativism, and the traditional realism/idealism debate. This, then, is the object of the present book, which will recon sider the newer concerns about scientific realism in the context of these older philosophical themes. Historically, realism concerns itself with the real existence of things that do not "meet the eye" - with suprasensible entities that lie beyond the reach of human perception. In medieval times, discussions about realism focused upon universals. Recognizing that there are physical objects such as cats and triangular objects and red tomatoes, the medievels debated whether such "abstract objects" as cathood and triangularity and redness also exist by way of having a reality indepen dent of the concretely real things that exhibit them. Three fundamen tally different positions were defended: (1) Nominalism. Abstracta have no independent existence as such: they only "exist" in and through the objects that exhibit them. Only particulars (individual substances) exist. Abstract "objects" are existents in name only, mere thought fictions by whose means we address concrete particular things. (2) Realism. Abstracta have an independent existence as such.
Representative Americans: Populists and Progressives brings together brief biographies to explore the political, social, and cultural dimensions of the period from 1890-1920. Through the lives and accomplishments of these reformers, crusaders, and thinkers, readers gain a fascinating glimpse into the tumultuous turn of the 20th Century.
The Way the World Works, as partially figured out by John R Carpenter establishes the compatibilities to settle long-standing disagreements between atheists and religious devotees. In his desire to demonstrate that science and religion can co-exist, the author pens an illuminating book that attempts to reconcile these two purportedly opposing concepts in The Way the World Works. A valuable volume, this book deals with the areas in which science and religion are too often seen to be in conflict with each other and will provide readers with examples of how existing controversies between science and religion do not have to end in either-or, but can often end in both-and. An established man of science and a Christian, Carpenter provides evidence that religion and science are two sources of inspiration and elucidation that are neither antithetical nor hostile to each other. Rather, they are synergistic and mutually advantageous, that when joined together, produces an effect greater than the sum than what they emit independently.
The Pentagon's New Map was one of the most talked-about books of the year - a fundamental reexamination of war and peace in the post-9/11 world that provided a compelling vision of the future. Now, senior advisor and military analyst Thomas P.M. Barnett explores our possible long- and short-term relations with such nations and regions as Iran, Iraq, and the Middle East, China and North Korea, Latin America and Africa, while outlining the strategies to pursue, the entities to create, and the pitfalls to overcome. If his first book was "a compelling framework for confronting twenty-first century problems" (Business Week), Barnett's new book is something more - a powerful road map through a chaotic and uncertain world to "a future worth creating."
Charles Darwin's On the Origin of Species, in which he writes of his theories of evolution by natural selection, is one of the most important works of scientific study ever published. This unabridged edition also includes a rich selection of primary source material: substantial selections from Darwin's other works (Autobiography, notebooks, letters, Voyage of the Beagle, and The Descent of Man) and selections from Darwin's sources and contemporaries (excerpts from Genesis, Paley, Lamarck, Spencer, Lyell, Malthus, Huxley, and Wallace).
Science and religious faith are two of the most important and influential forces in human life, yet there is widespread confusion about how, or indeed whether, they link together. This book describes this combination from the perspective of one who finds that they link together productively and creatively. The situation is not one of conflict or uneasy tension, or even a respectful dialogue. Rather, a lively and well-founded faith in God embraces and includes science, and scientific ways of thinking, in their proper role. Science is an activity right in the bloodstream of a reasonable faith. The book interprets theism broadly, and engages carefully with atheism, while coming from a Christian perspective. The aim is to show what science is, and what it is not, and at the same time give some pointers to what theism is or can be. Philosophy, evolution and the nature of science and human life are discussed in the first part of the book, questions of origins in the second. It is the very mind-set of scientific thinking that is widely supposed to be antagonistic to religious faith. But such suspicions are too sweeping. They misunderstand both faith and science. Faith can be creative and intellectually courageous; science is not the all-embracing story that it is sometimes made out to be. It is not that science fails to explain some things, but rather, it does not explain anything at all, on its own. It is part of a larger explanation. And even explanation has to take a humble place; it is not the purpose of life.
“It’s like talking to a brick wall” and “We’ll have to agree to disagree” are popular sayings referring to the frustrating experience of discussing issues with people who seem to be beyond the reach of argument. It’s often claimed that some people—fundamentalists or fanatics—are indeed sealed off from rational criticism. And every month new pop psychology books appear, describing the dumb ways ordinary people make decisions, as revealed by psychological experiments. The conclusion is that all or most people are fundamentally irrational. Ray Scott Percival sets out to demolish the whole notion of the closed mind and of human irrationality. There is a difference between making mistakes and being irrational. Though humans are prone to mistakes, they remain rational. In fact, making mistakes is a sign of rationality: a totally non-rational entity could not make a mistake. Rationality does not mean absence of error; it means the possibility of correcting error in the light of criticism. In this sense, all human beliefs are rational: they are all vulnerable to being abandoned when shown to be faulty. Percival agrees that people cling stubbornly to their beliefs, but he maintains that not being too ready to abandon one’s beliefs is rational.