Olour as showing that the way we look at things truly does alter reality Well no it doesn t A flower is giving off exactly the same photons however ou look at it it s the interpretation that changes not the universe itself But I don t mind this argument is the whole point of philosophy and why it s far fun than the grumps like Stephen Hawking who claim we don t need it any seem to realiseSo an excellent start first half to a book that I think all scientists and those with a true interest in science should read But I just wish that second half had filled in those missing bits rather than trying to be a mini popular science book with a touch of philosophical justification in its own right This is an enjoyably old fashioned kind of book that wanders with agreeable authority over eclectic topics in both the sciences and in philosophy these topics being linked by their considerable importance and continued interest Much of the first half deals with Popper and Kuhn and dispenses with both although not very convincingly In rejecting Popper Lewens sees inconsistency or even irrationality in expecting Einstein s Relativity to hold
Up In The Face in the face the recent but later rejected San Grasso experiments with neutrinos If Relativity is a better explanation than the alternative proposals there is nothing illogical about expecting there to have been an experimental error Lewens also criticises Popper for rejecting inductivism but provides nothing than psychological support for itThe second half explores some fascinating uestions about altruism and free will dealing fiercely with those who reject the latter on grounds of deterministic neuroscience but in doing so Lewens states If the concept of free will is literally without meaning then it makes no sense to deny we have it that to assert we have it I wonder if he reflected than once on this claim How can we "have something that is without meaningDespite these flaws and perhaps they re not maybe someone can "something that is without meaningDespite these flaws and perhaps they re not maybe someone can me I recommend this is a lively intelligent and provocative read Very good introduction to the Philosophy of Science one I particularly like because Lewens seems to share my distate for metaphysical work that s too far upstream from actual scientific work This means there s thankfully little about say the nature of laws or causation Instead he sticks to a critical exposition of some key debates in general philosophy of science pseudoscience demarcation Popper Kuhn realism the role of values and well as some important debates in the philosophy of biology his own speciality altruism human nature free willHe isn t producing a neutral account his expositions are highly opinionated and it doesn t hurt that he seems to share my basic view of most things With many apt examples from science and its history useful conceptual distinctions and an impressive overview of issues actually useful for someone who wants to understand how philosophers understand the working of science this is certainly one of the better ways to introduce the field In the introduction to his book Tim Lewens provides a warming assurance to the reader that a knowledge of neither Science nor Philosophy is a pre reuisite for grasping the nuances contained within The Meaning of Science However such an assurance is reneged upon in the very first Chapter when the author proceeds to provide a complicated overview of concepts such as Inference Induction corroboration and falsificationism as elegantly elucidated by one of the greatest philosophers of all time Karl Popper There is no denying or disputing the fact that The Meaning of Science is a provocative book that elicits a healthy amount of debate deliberation and even skepticism It challenges the very notion of Science as the fount of universal truth and attempts to pry open the lacunae and loophole A pretty good introductory work on the philosophy of science and how it has
Been Through About In through about in times the limits of science and the possibilities of it Tim Lewens covers the classic definers of what science is starting with Karl Popper moving to Thomas Kuhn and so on with an overview of contemporary thought on the meaning of scienceTim Lewens has a bit of a narrow conception of science here this isn t really covering social sciences for exampl. Aches us about human freedom Drawing on the insights of towering figures like Karl Popper and Thomas Kuhn Lewens shows how key uestions in science matter often in personal practical and political ways. .
Ued simply the scientists in uestion were guilty of insufficient rigour The fault was with the scientists not the science That does nod towards another issue what is science is it what scientists doThe fact that I found myself uestioning and disagreeing with the author is not a criticism rather it is an illustration of the beauty of an intellectually stimulating workOne rather strange omission from the book is the lack of any mention of mathematics In a work which discusses the ability of science to prove anything about reality the absence of the most powerful tool in the scientist s kitbag is odd to say the least Further in the final chapter Lewens addresses the uestion of what is and isn t provable by science but to do so with no mention of Kurt Godel feels incompleteOverall however this is a genuinely excellent book A friendly introduction to the philosophy of science dealing with Popper and Kuhn human nature free will and the realismanti realism "Debate Lewens Himself Defends A Version Of Scientific Realism The "Lewens himself defends a version of scientific realism The is lucid and accessible and serves as an excellent introduction I would have liked space for thinkers like Feyerabend and Lakatos but otherwise a fair overview of the subject Purchase The Meaning of Science here for just 12 What is science What does it mean for us Scientific knowledge or familiarity with philosophy is not a prereuisite for the curious reader who is interested in exploring these uestions This is an engaging and easy to read introduction to the philosophy of science including concepts and ideas such as induction realism science vs pseudo science free will human kindness and other social constructs Chapters end with suggested further reading A stimulating read Paul The Book Grocer It s traditional for scientists to get the hump about philosophy of science As Tim Lewens Professor of the Philosophy of Science at the University of Cambridge points out the great Richard Feynman was highly dismissive of the topic But most of us involved in science writing do recognise its importance and I was very much looking forward to this book I ll get the reason it doesn t get five stars out of the way first This is because the book misses out a whole chunk of philosophy of science in favour of dedicating the second half to what science means for us which primarily seems to be a summary of some areas of soft science rather than true philosophy We have some great material in the first half on what science is and on the work of the terrible twins Popper and Kuhn of whom in the moment but I was left wanting so much What came after Kuhn whose work is 50 ears old We only get a few passing comments There is nothing about peer review Nothing about fraud in science Nothing about the relationship of maths and science in fact there was so much philosophising I would have loved to have read aboutWhat there was proved excellent I was vaguely familiar with the two big names in the philosophy of science but only at a headline level I knew for instance that Karl Popper s ideas while still widely supported by scientists are frowned on by many in philosophy of science but I didn t know why In a nutshell it s because Popper took things too far not just talking about scientific theories being falsifiable which most find acceptable but going on to the say the process of inductive reasoning so important to science isn t valid which no scientist can honestly find acceptableSimilarly while I had got a vague idea of Thomas Kuhn and his paradigm shifts like everyone else except philosophers I wasn t really sure what a paradigm was apparently Kuhn used the term as
a kind of definitive exemplar driven change rather than a traditional revolution I also wasn t aware of Kuhn skind of definitive exemplar driven change rather than a traditional revolution I also wasn t aware of Kuhn s nutty ideas that taking a new scientific view didn t just change the view but changed the actual universe ReallyThere were still points I d disagree with Lewens dismisses Popper entirely because of his anti induction views but doesn t say what s wrong with the apparently very sensible Popper Lite approach with appropriate recognition that one experiment doesn t make a falsification isn t acceptable Similarly but in the opposite vein he gives in far too easily to Kuhn s idea on changing the universe taking the example of the subjective nature of Ens offers a provocative introduction to the philosophy of science showing us for example what physics teaches us about reality what biology teaches us about human nature and what cognitive science te. This is a book about philosophy of science But why do we need to study philosophy of science Many important uestion about a discipline such as nature of
ITS CONCEPTS AND ITS RELATION TOconcepts and its relation to disciplines are philosophical in nature Philosophy of science for example is needed to supplement the understanding of the natural and social sciences that derives from scientific work itself Philosophy studies every subject matter that the sciences also study but it does this with different aims and methods Philosophy can also turn us into good critical thinkers The Meaning of Science an introductory text on the philosophy of science and part of a wider Pelican series is an admirable effort to distill and simplify the main topics and their history within the philosophy of scienceLewens begins with elucidating some of the epistemological uncertainties which are inherent in the sacred scientific method Here we meet Popper and Kuhn Popper uestioned whether science could prove anything it could only postulate and disprove theories and Kuhn who cast doubt on whether science advances at all advocating it was best understood only as a series of revolutions or paradigm shifts each of which eradicates what came before Discussing Popper and Kuhn and their attempts at delineating how science works is no easy task if ou
do not wish to bore Lewens does so clearly and succinctly and thankfully this is his modus operandi throughout thenot wish to bore Lewens does so clearly and succinctly and thankfully this is his modus operandi throughout the the rest of thisreview herehttpwwwbloomfieldreviewcomthe m Pelican books have a wonderful if now not terribly well known place in this country s cultural history They hark back to a time when popular culture didn t seem to be constantly chasing the lowest common denominator but where there was a place for intellectual optimism for a Reithian spirit of self improvementThe Meaning of Science follows the relaunch of Pelican books in 2014 and its retro light blue cover brings strong memories of parental bookcasesThe content of the book is a cut above much of what is now published as popular science This is a book which rewards a uiet environment and full concentrationIt falls into two parts the first rigorously examining what science is the second looking at the overlap between science and philosophyThe first two chapters introduce two great scientific philosophers Popper who uestioned whether science could prove anything it could only postulate and disprove theories and Kuhn who cast doubt on whether science advances at all or is simply a series of revolutions or paradigm shifts each of which eradicates what came before These chapters illustrate the beauty and power of the scientific method Not only does good science inherently involve challenge but here we have the same thing happening at a meta level challenging the scientific method itself Science is something which can be trusted because it doesn t trust itself Along the way author Lewens also examines Poppers attempts to distinguish between science and pseudo science and also shines the light on some of the keys flaws in intelligent designFrom here the book goes on to discuss whether science can make a claim to truth and also the relationship between science and society The latter examines the balance the dilemma science faces where massively socially beneficial results have been generated but not et completely rigorously verified When to publishI found the second half slightly less satisfying than the first simply because it seems less in tune with the title The first part is a philosophical analysis of the soundness of science The second is about whether scientific experimentation can help to resolve such philosophical uestions as is there such a thing as human nature do "We Genuinely Have Free Will "genuinely have free will what place for altruism in a world driven by natural selection These are all interesting topics in their own right but I perhaps would ve preferred to see the first section expanded furtherI didn t always find Lewens arguments convincing He concludes that the case for free will is not proven but clearly favours its existence He does not however make a persuasive case for his preference Also in discussing the response to fallout from Chernobyl in Cumbria he suggests that science is inadeuate without local knowledge when to me it could be arg. What is science Is it uniuely euipped to deliver universal truths Or is it one of many disciplines art literature religion that offer different forms of understanding In The Meaning of Science Tim Lew. ,