Theory and Truth: Philosophical Critique within Foundational Science

Paperback | February 1, 2002

byLawrence Sklar

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Skeptics have cast doubt on the idea that scientific theories give us a true picture of an objective world. Lawrence Sklar examines three kinds of skeptical arguments about scientific truth, and explores the important role that these play within foundational science itself, especially physics.First, doubts have been expressed about the legitimacy of claiming truth for assertions about the realm of the unobservable. Second, scientific theories have been characterized as relying heavily on idealization of the physical systems they seek to describe. Third, it is noted that scientifictheories tend to be transient, and even the best currently available are expected to be replaced in the future. Sklar demonstrates that these kinds of philosophical critique are employed within science itself, and reveals the clear difference between how they operate in a scientific and in a moreabstract philosophical context. The underlying theme of Theory and Truth is that science and philosophy are essential to, and inextricable from, each other. One cannot understand the methods of science except by understanding philosophy, and one cannot fruitfully pursue philosophy of science without understanding foundationalscience as well.

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Skeptics have cast doubt on the idea that scientific theories give us a true picture of an objective world. Lawrence Sklar examines three kinds of skeptical arguments about scientific truth, and explores the important role that these play within foundational science itself, especially physics.First, doubts have been expressed about the...

Lawrence Sklar is William K. Frankena Collegiate Professor and Professor of Philosophy, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, USA. He is a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

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Format:PaperbackDimensions:156 pages, 7.99 × 5.31 × 0.43 inPublished:February 1, 2002Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0199251576

ISBN - 13:9780199251575

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Table of Contents

1. Introduction2. Ontological Elimination3. Idealization4. Transience5. ConclusionsBibliography, Index

Editorial Reviews

`Theory and Truth is, amongst other things, a call for a reconceptualization of the respective tasks of general philosophy of science and philosophy of physics, and for a closer relationship between the two specialties. If Sklar is right, then there is a vast store of interesting philosophicalproblems lying between the fine-grained topics of philosophy of physics and the more abstract problems of general philosophy of science - and this largely unexplored set of problems is of fundamental importance to the project of understanding the structure and content of scientific knowledge...Theory and Truth contains a number of provocative ideas in addition to its central programmatic thesis.'Gordon Belot, Brit Journ Phil Science (52/2001)