Wondrous Truths: The Improbable Triumph of Modern Science by J.D. TroutWondrous Truths: The Improbable Triumph of Modern Science by J.D. Trout

Wondrous Truths: The Improbable Triumph of Modern Science

byJ.D. Trout

Hardcover | May 15, 2016

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A fresh, daring, and genuine alternative to the traditional story of scientific progress Explaining the world around us, and the life within it, is one of the most uniquely human drives, and the most celebrated activity of science. Good explanations are what provide accurate causal accounts of the things we wonder at, but explanation's earthly origins haven't grounded it: we have usedit to account for the grandest and most wondrous mysteries in the natural world. Explanations give us a sense of understanding, but an explanation that feels right doesn't mean it is true. For every true explanation, there is a false one that feels just as good. A good theory's explanations, though,have a much easier path to truth. This push for good explanations elevated science from medieval alchemy to electro-chemistry, or a pre-inertial physics to the forces underlying nanoparticles. And though the attempt to explain has existed as long as we have been able to wonder, a science timelinefrom pre-history to the present will reveal a steep curve of theoretical discovery that explodes around 1600, primarily in the West. Ranging over neuroscience, psychology, history, and policy, Wondrous Truths answers two fundamental questions-Why did science progress in the West? And why so quickly? J.D. Trout's answers are surprising. His central idea is that Western science rose above all others because it hit upon successivetheories that were approximately true through an awkward assortment of accident and luck, geography and personal idiosyncrasy. Of course, intellectual ingenuity partially accounts for this persistent drive forward. But so too does the persistence of the objects of wonder. Wondrous Truths recoversthe majesty of science, and provides a startling new look at the grand sweep of its biggest ideas.
J.D. Trout is Professor of Philosophy and Psychology at Loyola University in Chicago. His previous books include Measuring the Intentional World, Epistemology and the Psychology of Human Judgment (with Michael A Bishop), and The Empathy Gap. He has been interviewed in The New York Times, on Latino USA, and Martha Stewart Radio, and has...
Title:Wondrous Truths: The Improbable Triumph of Modern ScienceFormat:HardcoverDimensions:240 pages, 8.25 × 5.5 × 0.98 inPublished:May 15, 2016Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0199385076

ISBN - 13:9780199385072

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Table of Contents

1. Wonder and the Feeling of Understanding2. Explanatory Fluency and the False Climb3. The Biology Behind the Feeling4. Believing the Best Explanation5. Good Theories, Lucky Hunches6. Newton's Hunch7. ConclusionReferencesEndnotes

Editorial Reviews

"J.D. Trout proposes a fascinating, controversial, brilliant explanation for why modern science took off in the seventeenth century and never looked back. The Scientific Revolution was due, in his telling, not to the discovery of an amazing new methodological rule or form of socialorganization but rather to simple good luck: it was a matter of the right people probing the right ideas in the right way. Essential reading for historians and philosophers of science and highly recommended to anyone interested in the rise of modern science." --Michael Strevens, New York University