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What science is and how it works

by Gregory Neil Derry

  Print book

Nice current overview of the nature of science   (2012-01-08)


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by vleighton

This book is written for the general reader. It reviews the current philosophy of science. While it gives a passing nod to "science studies," it is in a more traditional school of understanding of science. The book gives good examples of where a change in the assumptions upon which observation is based changed the scientific knowledge considered correct. It gives more emphasis on instruments and practice than other general surveys of science, such as Chalmers "What is this thing called science," which deals with science in the abstract. Derry spends time defining science in terms of how it is practiced, such as by using models, quantifying in order to predict, etc. It discusses the ethics of scientific research.


"Science Studies" are roughly a school of post-modern sociology that rejects that scientific knowledge is any closer to Truth than any other form of belief. Scientific knowledge is socially constructed by agreement among scientists. This book is more in the tradition of viewing scientific research as moving our understanding of the observable world closer to an objective Truth, though we can never fully arrive at that omniscient point of view.


Derry stays at a popular writing level, but he carefully argues his way through the philosophical landscape underlying science.

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