An introduction to the philosophy of social science from a well-known author.
This is an introductory survey to the philosophy of science suitable for beginners and nonspecialists. Its point of departure is the question: why should we believe what science tells us about the world? In this attempt to justify the claims of science the book treats such topics as observation data, confirmation of theories, and the explanation of phenomena. The writing is clear and concrete with detailed examples drawn from contemporary science: solar neutrinos, the gravitational bending of light, and the creation/evolution debate, for example. What emerges is a view of science in which observation relies on theory to give it meaning and credibility, while theory relies on observation for its motivation and validation. It is shown that this reciprocal support is not circular since the theory used to support a particular observation is independent of the theory for which the observation serves as evidence.
This book explores central philosophical concepts, issues, and debates in the philosophy of science, both historical and contemporary.
This 1989 book is intended as an introductory survey of the philosophy of the social sciences. It is essentially a work of exposition which offers a toolbox of mechanisms - nuts and bolts, cogs and wheels - that can be used to explain complex social phenomena. Within a brief compass, Jon Elster covers a vast range of topics. His point of departure is the conflict we all face between our desires and our opportunities. How can rational choice theory help us understand our motivation and behaviour? More significantly, what happens when the theory breaks down but we still cleave to a belief in the power of the rational? Elster describes the fascinating range of forms of irrationality - wishful thinking, the phenomenon of sour grapes, discounting the future in noncooperative behaviour. This is a remarkably lucid and comprehensive introduction to the social sciences for students of political science, philosophy, sociology and economics.
This introduction to the philosophy of mathematics focuses on contemporary debates in an important and central area of philosophy. The reader is taken on a fascinating and entertaining journey through some intriguing mathematical and philosophical territory, including such topics as the realism/anti-realism debate in mathematics, mathematical explanation, the limits of mathematics, the significance of mathematical notation, inconsistent mathematics and the applications of mathematics. Each chapter has a number of discussion questions and recommended further reading from both the contemporary literature and older sources. Very little mathematical background is assumed and all of the mathematics encountered is clearly introduced and explained using a wide variety of examples. The book is suitable for an undergraduate course in philosophy of mathematics and, more widely, for anyone interested in philosophy and mathematics.
Now revised and updated, this introduction to decision theory is both accessible and comprehensive, covering topics including decision making under ignorance and risk, the foundations of utility theory, the debate over subjective and objective probability, Bayesianism, causal decision theory, game theory, and social choice theory. No mathematical skills are assumed, with all concepts and results explained in non-technical and intuitive as well as more formal ways. There are now over 140 exercises with solutions, along with a glossary of key terms and concepts. This second edition includes a new chapter on risk aversion as well as updated discussions of numerous central ideas, including Newcomb's problem, prisoner's dilemmas, and Arrow's impossibility theorem. The book will appeal particularly to philosophy students but also to readers in a range of disciplines, from computer science and psychology to economics and political science.
Providing a comprehensive introduction to political philosophy, this 2006 book combines discussion of historical and contemporary figures, together with numerous real-life examples. It ranges over an unusually broad range of topics in the field, including the just distribution of wealth, both within countries and globally; the nature and justification of political authority; the meaning and significance of freedom; arguments for and against democratic rule; the problem of war; and the grounds for toleration in public life. It also offers an accessible, non-technical discussion of perfectionism, utilitarianism, theories of the social contract, and of recently popular forms of critical theory. Throughout, the book challenges readers to think critically about political arguments and institutions that they might otherwise take for granted. It will be a provocative text for any student of philosophy or political science.
"Our topic here is psychology, the self-styled science of the mind. Psychology's aim is to explain mental phenomena by describing the underlying processes, systems, and mechanisms that give rise to them. These hidden causal levers underlie all of our mental feats, including our richest conscious perceptions, our most subtle chains of reasoning, and our widest-ranging plans and actions. While the phenomena of mind are intimately related to events occurring in the brain, these psychological explanations are, we will argue, distinct and autonomous from explanations in terms of neural processes and mechanisms. According to the view we present here, psychology and neuroscience are different enterprises. We certainly wouldn't claim that our ever-increasing understanding of how the brain works has nothing to say to psychology: on the contrary, they are complimentary, since neuroscience can provide invaluable input to psychological theorizing (and vice versa, a point that we think is not stressed often enough). But our task will be to give a thorough account of the scope, methods, content, and prospects for a distinctive science of our mental lives"--
Was heißt es, daß wir heute in einem säkularen Zeitalter leben? Was ist geschehen zwischen 1500 – als Gott noch seinen festen Platz im naturwissenschaftlichen Kosmos, im gesellschaftlichen Gefüge und im Alltag der Menschen hatte – und heute, da der Glaube an Gott, jedenfalls in der westlichen Welt, nur noch eine Option unter vielen ist? Um diesen Wandel zu bestimmen und in seinen Folgen für die gegenwärtige Gesellschaft auszuloten, muß die große Geschichte der Säkularisierung in der nordatlantischen Welt von der frühen Neuzeit bis in die Gegenwart erzählt werden – ein herkulisches Unterfangen, dem sich der kanadische Philosoph Charles Taylor in seinem mit Spannung erwarteten neuen Buch stellt. Mit einem Fokus auf dem »lateinischen Christentum«, dem vorherrschenden Glauben in Europa, rekonstruiert er in geradezu verschwenderischem Detail die entscheidenden Entwicklungslinien in den Naturwissenschaften, der Philosophie, der Staats- und Rechtstheorie und in den Künsten. Dem berühmten Diktum von der wissenschaftlich-technischen »Entzauberung der Welt« und anderen eingeschliffenen Säkularisierungstheorien setzt er die These entgegen, daß es die Religion selbst war, die das Säkulare hervorgebracht hat, und entfaltet eine komplexe Mentalitätsgeschichte des modernen Subjekts, das heute im Niemandsland zwischen Glauben und Atheismus gefangen ist.
The second edition of this anthology contains twenty-two classic and more recent pivotal investigations in the philosophy of economics. Recommended readings now follow the selections. Daniel M. Hausman has expanded and updated coverage of such key areas as positivism and economic methodology, and special methodological problems and perspectives. His revised introduction and section introductions not only situate each contribution in its historical and analytical context but also explore current directions in the definition and refinement of economic methodology. The collection will demonstrate to students and professionals in the discipline and other social sciences and the humanities, as well as to a more general audience, what kind of science economics is.
"An Introduction to Rights is the only accessible and readable introduction to the history, logic, moral implications, and political tendencies of the idea of rights. It is organized chronologically and discusses important historical events such as the French Revolution. It deals with historical figures, including Grotius, Paley, Hobbes, Locke, Bentham, Burke, Godwin, Mill, and Hohfeld, and covers contemporary debates, including consequentialism versus contractualism"--Provided by publisher.
This revised and considerably expanded 2nd edition brings together a wide range of topics, including modal, tense, conditional, intuitionist, many-valued, paraconsistent, relevant, and fuzzy logics. Part 1, on propositional logic, is the old Introduction, but contains much new material. Part 2 is entirely new, and covers quantification and identity for all the logics in Part 1. The material is unified by the underlying theme of world semantics. All of the topics are explained clearly using devices such as tableau proofs, and their relation to current philosophical issues and debates are discussed. Students with a basic understanding of classical logic will find this book an invaluable introduction to an area that has become of central importance in both logic and philosophy. It will also interest people working in mathematics and computer science who wish to know about the area.
Royal Society, betrachtet die Hexentheorie als das Musterbeispiel empirischen Denkens. Wir müssen das empirische Denken definieren, ehe wir mit Hume anfangen, Bücher zu verbren nen. Das wissenschaftliche Denken konfrontiert die Theorien mit den Tatsachen; und eine der Hauptbedingungen dabei ist, daß die Theorien von den Tatsachen gestützt sein müs sen. Wie ist das nun des genaueren möglich? Darauf sind mehrere verschiedene Antworten vorgeschlagen worden. Newton selbst glaubte, seine Gesetze aufgrundder Tatsachen bewiesen zu haben. Er war stolz darauf, keine bloßen Hypothesen anzubieten; er veröffentlichte nur Theorien, die aufgrundder Tatsa chen bewiesen waren. Und zwar behauptete er, seine Gesetze aus den Keplerschen 'Erschei nungen' abgeleitet zu haben. Doch das war Unsinn, denn nach Kepler bewegten sich die Plane ten in Ellipsen, nach Newton aber wäre das nur richtig, wenn die Planeten nicht gegenseitig ihre Bewegung stören würden, und eben dies tun sie. Daher mußte Newton eine Störungstheo rie entwickeln, nach der sich kein Planet auf einer Ellipse bewegt. Heute kann man leicht zeigen, daß sich kein Naturgesetz aus endlich vielen Tatsa chen schlüssig ableiten läßt; doch man liest immer noch, wissenschaftliche Theorien würden aufgrundder Tatsachen bewiesen. Woher kommt diese hartnäckige Sperre gegen die elemen tare Logik? Das läßt sich sehr einleuchtend erklären. Die Wissenschaftler möchten ihren Theorien Achtung verschaffen, sie sollen die Bezeichnung 'Wissenschaft' verdienen, also echte Erkenntnis sein. Nun bezog sich im 17. Jahrhundert, als die Wissenschaft entstand, die wichtigste Erkenntnis auf Gott und den Teufel, auf Himmel und Hölle.
Philosophy of Economics: A Contemporary Introduction is the first systematic textbook in the philosophy of economics. It introduces the epistemological, metaphysical and ethical problems that arise in economics, and presents detailed discussions of the solutions that have been offered. Throughout, philosophical issues are illustrated by and analysed in the context of concrete cases drawn from contemporary economics, the history of economic ideas, and actual economic events. This demonstrates the relevance of philosophy of economics both for the science of economics and for the economy. This text will provide an excellent introduction to the philosophy of economics for students and interested general readers alike.
What has gone wrong with economics? Economists now routinely devise highly sophisticated abstract models that score top marks for theoretical rigour but are clearly divorced from observable activities in the current economy. This creates an 'uneconomic economics', where models explain relationships in blackboard rather than real-life markets.
Integrates the work of philosophers of science seeking to make sense of genetics with an accessible introduction to the science.
An introductory 2001 textbook on probability and induction written by a foremost philosopher of science.

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