Theories of Scientific Method
An Introduction
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Series: Philosophy and Science
Author(s): Robert Nola Howard Sankey  
ISBN: 1844650855
ISBN-13: 9781844650859
Publication Date: 30/08/2007
Pages: 384 (234 x 156mm)
Format: Paperback
Published Price: £19.99
Discount Price: £15.99
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What is it to be scientific? Is there such a thing as scientific method? And if so, how might such methods be justified?

Robert Nola and Howard Sankey seek to provide answers to these fundamental questions in their exploration of the major recent theories of scientific method. Although for many scientists their understanding of method is something they just “pick up” in the course of being trained, Nola and Sankey argue that it is possible to be explicit about what this tacit understanding of method is, rather than leave it as some unfathomable mystery. They robustly defend the idea that there is such a thing as scientific method and show how this might be legitimated.

The book begins with the question of what methodology might mean and explores the notions of values, rules and principles, before investigating how methodologists have sought to show that our scientific methods are rational. Part 2 of the book sets out some principles of inductive method and examines its alternatives including abduction, IBE, and hypothetico-deductivism. Part 3 introduces probabilistic modes of reasoning, particularly Bayesianism in its various guises, and shows how it is able to give an account of many of the values and rules of method. Part 4 considers the ideas of philosophers who have proposed distinctive theories of method such as Popper, Lakatos, Kuhn and Feyerabend and Part 5 continues this theme by considering philosophers who have proposed “naturalised” theories of method such as Quine, Laudan and Rescher.

The book offers readers a comprehensive introduction to the idea of scientific method and a wide-ranging discussion of how historians of science, philosophers of science and scientists have grappled with the question over the last fifty years.


"Nola and Sankey's Theories of Scientific Method provides a comprehensive and thoroughly excellent introductory textbook to the philosophy of science. The discussion is fresh and lively; and the focus upon the distinction between methods and meta-methods not only helps to situate some otherwise rather abstract issues and debates, it also adds a valuable extra dimension to some familiar themes." – Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews

"This book fills a distinct gap. No other book adopts its comprehensive approach. The expositions of the topics covered are clear and accessible and the emphasis on ‘meta’ methodological issues is distinctive and useful." – Barry Gower, University of Durham

Robert Nola is Professor of Philosophy at the University of Auckland. Howard Sankey is Associate Professor of Philosophy at the University of Melbourne.

Part I: The idea of methodology
1. What is this thing called scientific method?
2. Theoretical values in science
3. Rules and principles of method
4. Metamethodology
Part II: Inductive and hypothetico-deductive methods
5. Induction in science
6. Some justifications of induction
7. The hypothetico-deductive method
Part III: Probability and scientific method
8. Probability, bayesianism and methodology
9. Bayesianism: applications and problems
Part IV: Popper and his rivals
10. Popper, Lakatos and scientific method
11. Kuhn and Feyerabend
Part V: Naturalism, pragmatism, realism and methodology
12. Naturalism, pragmatism and method
13. Scientific realism and methodology

Also available in Hardback (1844650847), priced 60.00

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