Science, Truth, and Democracy (Oxford Studies in the Philosophy of Science)

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9780195165524: Science, Truth, and Democracy (Oxford Studies in the Philosophy of Science)
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Striving to boldly redirect the philosophy of science, this book by renowned philosopher Philip Kitcher examines the heated debate surrounding the role of science in shaping our lives. Kitcher explores the sharp divide between those who believe that the pursuit of scientific knowledge is always valuable and necessary--the purists--and those who believe that it invariably serves the interests of people in positions of power. In a daring turn, he rejects both perspectives, working out a more realistic image of the sciences--one that allows for the possibility of scientific truth, but nonetheless permits social consensus to determine which avenues to investigate. He then proposes a democratic and deliberative framework for responsible scientists to follow.

Controversial, powerful, yet engaging, this volume will appeal to a wide range of readers. Kitcher's nuanced analysis and authoritative conclusion will interest countless scientists as well as all readers of science--scholars and laypersons alike.

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About the Author:


Philip Kitcher is Professor of Philosophy at Columbia University and author of The Nature of Mathematical Knowledge (OUP, 1983); The Advancement of Science (OUP, 1993); and In Mendel's Mirror (OUP, 2003).

Review:


"In Science, Truth, and Democracy, this philosopher of science at Columbia University revises and builds on his earlier account to debunk what he refers to as the theology of science-the idea that science is a high calling dedicated to ends that transcend all others-and to oppose the demonization of science...thought-provoking." -- Lewis Wolpert, Science


"Science, Truth, and Democracy is an outstandingly good book; it flashes with the steel of reason."--New York Times Book Review


"Kitcher navigates very skillfully between the extremes of positivistic science-worship and Foucauldian distrust of 'regimes of truth'. His novel and plausible answer to the question 'Why seek scientific truth?' will help bring the increasingly tedious Science Wars to a close. His argument that we need what he calls 'well-ordered science' is an important contribution to political thought."--Richard Rorty, Stanford University


"Mr Kitcher holds that the democratic way of doing this is better than any alternative.... But could it, he asks, serve us better? Does it ignore opportunities for the advancement of knowledge and the betterment of humankind? Yes, he suggests, on both counts. Thanks to [Kitcher, et. al], such questions are being asked again in a serious and responsible way. Science can only be richer and healthier for it."--The Economist


"Kitcher is one of the leading figures in contemporary philosophy of science, and [this book] expounds some significant developments in his general view of the sciences, as well as original treatments of some fundamentally important and increasingly topical issues...it will certainly be widely read and discussed by philosophers of science and a good number of scientists and other students of scientists."--John Dupré, University of Exeter


"Philip Kitcher's Science, Truth and Democracy joins generosity to argument. Throughout, Kitcher remains engaged with reason as he tries to understand, critically, the positions of realists, creationists, empiricists, and constructivists. It is a lucid book that should appeal to a wide public interested in current debates about science--from its philosophical status to its policy implications in the age of genomics."--Peter Galison, Mallinckrodt Professor of the History of Science and of Physics, Harvard University


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