This is an accessible introduction to the philosophy of social research which relates philosophical ideas to actual research practice. The book makes effective use of illustrations from the UK, US and Europe to examine specific problems and broader issues. The book is intended for undergraduate and postgraduate courses in social research methods within sociology, social policy, politics, social psychology, human geography; philosophy of social science and social theory courses; and as a personal reference for professional researchers.
An Introduction to the Philosophy of Science provides a lively and accessible introduction to current key issues and debates in this area. The classic philosophical questions about methodology, progress, rationality and reality are addressed by reference to examples from the full range of natural and social sciences. Lisa Bortolotti uses a historically-informed perspective on the evolution of science and includes a thorough discussion of the ethical implications of scientific research. Special attention is paid to the complex relationship between the advancement of science, policy making and public interest and to the continuity between scientific research and other human activities. The book is designed to help students think for themselves about the issues identified above, and includes information tables and questions for further reflection to support all stages of the teaching and learning experience, from the comprehension of primary and other secondary texts to debate and essay writing. It also includes a thematic bibliography and a glossary of technical terms. An Introduction to the Philosophy of Science is an excellent introduction to philosophy for students and provides researchers of scientific disciplines with an opportunity to reflect upon the value and impact of their work. It is also a stimulating read for anybody who is interested in the philosophical issues raised by the status of scientific knowledge, the practice of science and the role of experts in contemporary society.
How does science work? Does it tell us what the world is "really" like? What makes it different from other ways of understanding the universe? In Theory and Reality, Peter Godfrey-Smith addresses these questions by taking the reader on a grand tour of one hundred years of debate about science. The result is a completely accessible introduction to the main themes of the philosophy of science. Intended for undergraduates and general readers with no prior background in philosophy, Theory and Reality covers logical positivism; the problems of induction and confirmation; Karl Popper's theory of science; Thomas Kuhn and "scientific revolutions"; the views of Imre Lakatos, Larry Laudan, and Paul Feyerabend; and challenges to the field from sociology of science, feminism, and science studies. The book then looks in more detail at some specific problems and theories, including scientific realism, the theory-ladeness of observation, scientific explanation, and Bayesianism. Finally, Godfrey-Smith defends a form of philosophical naturalism as the best way to solve the main problems in the field. Throughout the text he points out connections between philosophical debates and wider discussions about science in recent decades, such as the infamous "science wars." Examples and asides engage the beginning student; a glossary of terms explains key concepts; and suggestions for further reading are included at the end of each chapter. However, this is a textbook that doesn't feel like a textbook because it captures the historical drama of changes in how science has been conceived over the last one hundred years. Like no other text in this field, Theory and Reality combines a survey of recent history of the philosophy of science with current key debates in language that any beginning scholar or critical reader can follow.
An Introduction to the History and Philosophy of Science
Author: Richard DeWitt
Publisher: John Wiley & Sons
Updated throughout and with three entirely new chapters, Worldviews: An Introduction to the History and Philosophy of Science, Second Edition furthers its reputation as the definitive introductory text on the historical developments and philosophical issues that inform our scientific view of the world around us. Represents an innovative introduction to the history and philosophy of science, designed especially for those coming to the subject for the first time Updated new edition features the addition of chapters focusing on scientific laws, evolutionary theory, and implications of evolution Covers the key historical developments and philosophical themes that have impacted our scientific view of the world around us Analyzes the transitions from the Aristotelian worldview to the Newtonian worldview to a new and currently developing worldview Explores challenges to the Western scientific worldview brought on by recent discoveries
Philosophy of Social Science provides a tightly argued yet accessible introduction to the philosophical foundations of the human sciences, including economics, anthropology, sociology, political science, psychology, history, and the disciplines emerging at the intersections of these subjects with biology. Philosophy is unavoidable for social scientists because the choices they make in answering questions in their disciplines force them to take sides on philosophical matters. Conversely, the philosophy of social science is equally necessary for philosophers since the social and behavior sciences must inform their understanding of human action, norms, and social institutions. The fifth edition retains from previous editions an illuminating interpretation of the enduring relations between the social sciences and philosophy, and reflects on developments in social research over the past two decades that have informed and renewed debate in the philosophy of social science. An expanded discussion of philosophical anthropology and modern and postmodern critical theory is new for this edition.
The Philosophical and Social Aspects of Science and Technology
Author: John M. Ziman
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
The purpose of this book is to give a coherent account of the different perspectives on science and technology that are normally studied under various disciplinary heads such as philosophy of science, sociology of science and science policy. It is intended for students embarking on courses in these subjects and assumes no special knowledge of any science. It is written in a direct and simple style, and technical language is introduced very sparingly. As various perspectives are sketched out in this book, the reader moves towards a consistent conception of contemporary science as a rapidly changing social institution that has already grown out of its traditional forms and plays a central role in society at large. It will appeal to students in a wide range of scientific disciplines and complement well Professor Ziman's earlier books. -- from back cover.
This is a much-needed new introduction to a field that has been transformed in recent years by exciting new subjects, ideas, and methods. It is designed both for students with central interests in philosophy and those planning to concentrate on the social sciences, and it presupposes no particular background in either domain. From the wide range of topics at the forefront of debate in philosophy of social science, the editors have chosen those which are representative of the most important and interesting contemporary work. A team of distinguished experts explore key aspects of the field such as social ontology (what are the things that social science studies?), objectivity, formal methods, measurement, and causal inference. Also included are chapters focused on notable subjects of social science research, such as well-being and climate change. Philosophy of Social Science provides a clear, accessible, and up-to-date guide to this fascinating field.