Scientific Representation: Paradoxes of Perspective

Paperback | August 1, 2010

byBas C. van Fraassen

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Bas C. van Fraassen presents an original exploration of how we represent the world. Science represents natural phenomena by means of theories, as well as in many concrete ways by such means as pictures, graphs, table-top models, and computer simulations. Scientific Representation begins withan inquiry into the nature of representation in general, drawing on such diverse sources as Plato's dialogues, the development of perspectival drawing in the Renaissance, and the geometric styles of modelling in modern physics. Starting with Mach's and Poincare's analyses of measurement and the'problem of coordination', van Fraassen then presents a view of measurement outcomes as representations. With respect to the theories of contemporary science he defends an empiricist structuralist version of the 'picture theory' of science, through an inquiry into the paradoxes that came to light intwentieth-century philosophies of science. Van Fraassen concludes with an analysis of the complex relationship between appearance and reality in the scientific world-picture.

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Bas C. van Fraassen presents an original exploration of how we represent the world. Science represents natural phenomena by means of theories, as well as in many concrete ways by such means as pictures, graphs, table-top models, and computer simulations. Scientific Representation begins withan inquiry into the nature of representation ...

Bas van Fraassen is McCosh Emeritus Professor of Philosophy at Princeton University and Distinguished Professor of Philosophy at San Francisco State University. His research interests straddle philosophical logic and philosophy of science, with special interests in empiricism, (anti-)realism, probability, foundations of relativity and...

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Format:PaperbackDimensions:424 pages, 9.21 × 6.14 × 0.07 inPublished:August 1, 2010Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0199278237

ISBN - 13:9780199278237

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Table of Contents

PrefaceIntroduction: the 'picture theory of science'1. Representation1.1 Representation of, Representation as1.2 Imaging, Picturing, and Scaling1.3 Pictorial Perspective and the Indexical2. Windows, Engines, and Measurement2.1 A Window on the Invisible World (?)2.2 The Problem of Coordination2.3 Measurement as Representation (1) The Physical Correlate2.4 Measurement as Representation (2) Information3. Structure and Perspective3.1 From the Bildtheorie of science to paradox3.2 The Longest Journey: Bertrand Russell3.3 Carnap's Lost World and Putnam's Paradox3.4 An Empiricist Structuralism4. Appearance and Reality4.1 Appearance vs. Reality in the Sciences4.2 Rejecting the Appearance from Reality CriterionAppendicesBibliographyNotes