Understanding Inconsistent Science

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9780199692026: Understanding Inconsistent Science
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In recent years philosophers of science have urged that many scientific theories are extremely useful and successful despite being internally inconsistent. Via an investigation of eight alleged "inconsistent theories" in the history of science, Peter Vickers urges that this view is at best overly simplistic. Most of these cases can only be described as examples of "inconsistent science" if we employ reconstructions of science which depart from the real (history of) science to an unacceptable degree. And where we do find genuine inconsistency he argues that the nature of--and correct response to--the inconsistency differs dramatically depending on the details of the science in question. Thus we are warned against making overly general claims about 'science': what are all called "theories" in the history of science are actually significantly different entities, which work in different ways and react to inconsistency in different ways. Vickers argues that the traditional goal of philosophy to make substantial, fully general claims about "how science works" is misguided, and can be significantly circumvented if we re-frame our debates such that reference to "theories" is eliminated. In this way one is not tempted to think of the history of science as a history of instances of the same kind--theory--about which one could hope to say something substantial and general. And in addition eliminating theory means that we avoid fruitless debates about the 'real' nature and content of "theories." Vickers' account leads to a particularist philosophy of science, where the reader is urged to appreciate the often dramatic differences between the different "inconsistencies in science" which have been identified.

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About the Author:


Peter Vickers completed his undergraduate BSc in Mathematics and Philosophy at the University of York in 2003. This was followed by an MA in History and Philosophy of Science at the University of Leeds, completed in 2005, and a PhD in the history and philosophy of science, also at the University of Leeds in 2009. Following a year teaching at Leeds, Vickers spent a year as a Postdoctoral Fellow at the Center for Philosophy of Science at the University of Pittsburgh, before returning to the UK in 2011 as a Lecturer in Philosophy at Durham University.

Review:


"[T]he book is a remarkable achievement both in its breadth and in its depth. Vickers offers by some margin the most comprehensive and detailed discussion of inconsistency in physics of which I am aware ... [T]his is an important book." --British Journal for the Philosophy of Science


"Given the historical rigour with which his case studies are examined, as well as the methodological novelty of his approach, Vickers's work is certain to trigger a number of debates in the philosophical community, starting from those on historical details of the presented episodes, to discussions on formal logic and its application to scientific reasoning. For these reasons alone it is safe to say that Vickers's book is from now on a necessary reference for any scholar of these problem fields. Moreover, given the complexity of the topic and its relevance for other philosophical disciplines, the book is a highly welcome contribution not only to the literature on inconsistencies in science, but to logic, epistemology and methodology of science in general"
--International Studies in the Philosophy of Science


"Understanding Inconsistent Science is a necessary inquiry into allegedly inconsistent science, which Vickers has executed with care and caution, and which has earned him the honourable title: Slayer of the iMongers"
--F.A Muller, Studies in History and Philosophy of Modern Physics


"The cases themselves are fascinating, and Vickers's treatment is systematic, detailed, and rigorous ... Understanding Inconsistent Science [is] a book that I warmly recommend" --Thomas Nickles, Mind


"Vickers's book provides a much-needed organization and clarification of the issues at hand-what we mean by claiming a scientific theory to be contradictory, and which sorts of cases and examples best illustrate these issues-and is an important prolegomenon to any future work in this area."
--Paul Dicken, Australasian Journal of Philosophy


"Peter Vickers' monograph stands out as a very serious piece of scholarship in historically- and scientifically-informed philosophy of science. It is to be strongly recommended to both philosophers (of science) and reflectively inclined scientists, especially physicists and mathematicians."
Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews


"I strongly encourage and see great potential for this work and, given the high standards of his current publications, we can all look forward to seeing what Vickers and his colleagues come up with next."
--Metascience


"Vickers' book is a paradigm of philosophical engagement with issues that are, or ought to be, of real concern to working scientists and to scientically engaged laypersons." - Professor Hans Halvorson


"...his case studies provide good material for beginning to evaluate his theory eliminativism, which I find the most interesting theme in the book. It is worth emphasizing that the book is very clearly written and easy to read, without too much unnecessary formalism or jargon. I expect that anyone interested in the philosophy of science would profit from reading it." -- The Philosophical Quarterly


"Vickers' treatment of the examples is detailed and well-referenced, while also being admirably accessible, even for an audience that lacks a full grasp of the science and mathematics involved. [...] the book makes a substantial contribution to the literature: gathering these eight examples together in a well-referenced discussion provides an excellent starting point for anyone interested in thinking about inconsistency in science." -- Journal for General Philosophy of Science


"[T]he book is remarkable in its careful, detailed, and subtle discussions...offers by far the most comprehensive and detailed discussion of inconsistency in physics of which I am aware...required reading for anyone interested in the issue of inconsistency in science." -- British Journal for the Philosophy of Science


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Book Description Oxford University Press, United Kingdom, 2013. Hardback. Condition: New. Language: English. Brand new Book. In recent years philosophers of science have urged that many scientific theories are extremely useful and successful despite being internally inconsistent. Via an investigation of eight alleged 'inconsistent theories' in the history of science, Peter Vickers urges that this view is at best overly simplistic. Most of these cases can only be described as examples of 'inconsistent science' if we employ reconstructions of science which depart from the real (history of)science to an unacceptable degree. And where we do find genuine inconsistency he argues that the nature of-and correct response to-the inconsistency differs dramatically depending on the details of the science in question. Thus we are warned against making overly general claims about 'science': whatare all called 'theories' in the history of science are actually significantly different entities, which work in different ways and react to inconsistency in different ways. Vickers argues that the traditional goal of philosophy to make substantial, fully general claims about 'how science works' is misguided, and can be significantly circumvented if we re-frame our debates such that reference to 'theories' is eliminated. In this way one is not tempted to think of the history of science as ahistory of instances of the same kind-theory-about which one could hope to say something substantial and general. And in addition eliminating theory means that we avoid fruitless debates about the 'real' nature and content of 'theories'. Vickers' account leads to a particularist philosophy of science,where the reader is urged to appreciate the often dramatic differences between the different 'inconsistencies in science' which have been identified. Seller Inventory # AOP9780199692026

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Book Description Oxford University Press, United Kingdom, 2013. Hardback. Condition: New. Language: English . Brand New Book. In recent years philosophers of science have urged that many scientific theories are extremely useful and successful despite being internally inconsistent. Via an investigation of eight alleged inconsistent theories in the history of science, Peter Vickers urges that this view is at best overly simplistic. Most of these cases can only be described as examples of inconsistent science if we employ reconstructions of science which depart from the real (history of) science to an unacceptable degree. And where we do find genuine inconsistency he argues that the nature of-and correct response to-the inconsistency differs dramatically depending on the details of the science in question. Thus we are warned against making overly general claims about science : what are all called theories in the history of science are actually significantly different entities, which work in different ways and react to inconsistency in different ways. Vickers argues that the traditional goal of philosophy to make substantial, fully general claims about how science works is misguided, and can be significantly circumvented if we re-frame our debates such that reference to theories is eliminated. In this way one is not tempted to think of the history of science as a history of instances of the same kind-theory-about which one could hope to say something substantial and general. And in addition eliminating theory means that we avoid fruitless debates about the real nature and content of theories . Vickers account leads to a particularist philosophy of science, where the reader is urged to appreciate the often dramatic differences between the different inconsistencies in science which have been identified. Seller Inventory # AOP9780199692026

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