The Meaning of Science

An Introduction to the Philosophy of Science

Author: Tim Lewens

Publisher: Basic Books

ISBN: 0465097499

Category: Science

Page: 272

View: 3750

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Science has produced explanations for everything from the mechanisms of insect navigation to the formation of black holes and the workings of black markets. But how much can we trust science, and can we actually know the world through it? How does science work and how does it fail? And how can the work of scientists helpÑor hurtÑeveryday people? These are not questions that science can answer on its own. This is where philosophy of science comes in. Studying science without philosophy is, to quote Einstein, to be Òlike somebody who has seen thousands of trees but has never seen a forest.Ó Cambridge philosopher Tim Lewens shows us the forest. He walks us through the theories of seminal philosophers of science Karl Popper and Thomas Kuhn and considers what science is, how far it can and should reach, and how we can determine the nature of its truths and myths. These philosophical issues have consequences that stretch far beyond the laboratory. For instance: What role should scientists have in policy discussions on environmental issues such as fracking? What are the biases at play in the search for a biological function of the female orgasm? If brain scans can be used to demonstrate that a decision was made several seconds before a person actually makes a conscious choice, what does that tell us about the possibility of free will? By examining science through this philosophical lens, Lewens reveals what physics can teach us about reality, what biology teaches us about human nature, and what cognitive science teaches us about human freedom. A masterful analysis of the biggest scientific and ethical issues of our age, The Meaning of Science forces us to confront the practical, personal, and political purposes of scienceÑand why it matters to all of us.

The Meaning of Science

Author: Tim Lewens

Publisher: Penguin UK

ISBN: 0141977434

Category: Science

Page: 320

View: 9368

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What is science? Is it uniquely equipped to deliver universal truths? Or is it one of many disciplines - art, literature, religion - that offer different forms of understanding? In The Meaning of Science, Tim Lewens offers a provocative introduction to the philosophy of science, showing us for example what physics teaches us about reality, what biology teaches us about human nature, and what cognitive science teaches us about human freedom. Drawing on the insights of towering figures like Karl Popper and Thomas Kuhn, Lewens shows how key questions in science matter, often in personal, practical and political ways.

Labyrinth

A Search for the Hidden Meaning of Science

Author: Peter Pesic

Publisher: MIT Press

ISBN: 9780262661263

Category: Science

Page: 186

View: 6548

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Reading scientific works as works of literature to uncover the roots of science.

The Meaning of It All

Thoughts of a Citizen-Scientist

Author: Richard P. Feynman

Publisher: Basic Books

ISBN: 0786739142

Category: Science

Page: 192

View: 1921

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Many appreciate Richard P. Feynman's contributions to twentieth-century physics, but few realize how engaged he was with the world around him—how deeply and thoughtfully he considered the religious, political, and social issues of his day. Now, a wonderful book—based on a previously unpublished, three-part public lecture he gave at the University of Washington in 1963—shows us this other side of Feynman, as he expounds on the inherent conflict between science and religion, people's distrust of politicians, and our universal fascination with flying saucers, faith healing, and mental telepathy. Here we see Feynman in top form: nearly bursting into a Navajo war chant, then pressing for an overhaul of the English language (if you want to know why Johnny can't read, just look at the spelling of “friend”); and, finally, ruminating on the death of his first wife from tuberculosis. This is quintessential Feynman—reflective, amusing, and ever enlightening.

The Way of Science

Finding Truth and Meaning in a Scientific Worldview

Author: Dennis R. Trumble

Publisher: Prometheus Books

ISBN: 1616147563

Category: Science

Page: 375

View: 5568

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How science can convey a profound sense of wonder, connectedness, and optimism about the human condition. This book makes a compelling case that now more than ever the public at large needs to appreciate the critical-thinking tools that science has to offer and be educated in basic science literacy. The author emphasizes that the methods and facts of science are accessible to everyone, and that, contrary to popular belief, understanding science does not require extraordinary intelligence. He also notes that scientific rationality and critical thinking are not only good for our physical well-being but also are fully in sync with our highest moral codes. He illustrates the many ways in which the scientific worldview offers a profound sense of wonder, connectedness, and optimism about the human condition, an inspiring perspective that satisfies age-old spiritual aspirations. At a time of daunting environmental challenges and rampant misinformation, this book provides a welcome corrective and reason to hope for the future. From the Trade Paperback edition.

The Island of Knowledge

The Limits of Science and the Search for Meaning

Author: Marcelo Gleiser

Publisher: Basic Civitas Books

ISBN: 0465031714

Category: Philosophy

Page: 335

View: 2692

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A natural philosophy expert who is also a physics and astronomy professor discusses the limits of scientific explanations and how our knowledge of the universe and its nature will always remain necessarily incomplete. 15,000 first printing.

Kabbalah, Science and the Meaning of Life

Because Your Life Has Meaning

Author: Michael Laitman

Publisher: Laitman Kabbalah Publishers

ISBN: 0973826894

Category: Self-Help

Page: 221

View: 7489

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Science explains the mechanisms that sustain life; Kabbalah explains why life exists. In Kabbalah, Science and the Meaning of Life, Rav Michael Laitman, PhD, a kabbalist and a scientist, combines science and spirituality in a captivating dialogue that reveals lifes meaning. For thousands of years kabbalists have been writing that the world is made of a single entity divided into separate beings. Today the cutting edge science of quantum physics states a very similar idea: that at the most fundamental level of matter, we are all literally one. Science proves that reality is affected by the observer who examines it. And so does Kabbalah. But Kabbalah says more: even the Creator of reality is found within the observer. In other words, God is inside of us, he doesnt exist anywhere else. When we pass away so does he. These earthshaking concepts and more are eloquently introduced so that even readers uneducated in Kabbalah or science will easily understand them. Therefore, if youre just a little curious about why you are here, what life means, and what you can do to enjoy it more, this is your book.

The Structure of Scientific Revolutions

50th Anniversary Edition

Author: Thomas S. Kuhn

Publisher: University of Chicago Press

ISBN: 0226458148

Category: Science

Page: 264

View: 6248

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A good book may have the power to change the way we see the world, but a great book actually becomes part of our daily consciousness, pervading our thinking to the point that we take it for granted, and we forget how provocative and challenging its ideas once were—and still are. The Structure of Scientific Revolutions is that kind of book. When it was first published in 1962, it was a landmark event in the history and philosophy of science. Fifty years later, it still has many lessons to teach. With The Structure of Scientific Revolutions, Kuhn challenged long-standing linear notions of scientific progress, arguing that transformative ideas don’t arise from the day-to-day, gradual process of experimentation and data accumulation but that the revolutions in science, those breakthrough moments that disrupt accepted thinking and offer unanticipated ideas, occur outside of “normal science,” as he called it. Though Kuhn was writing when physics ruled the sciences, his ideas on how scientific revolutions bring order to the anomalies that amass over time in research experiments are still instructive in our biotech age. This new edition of Kuhn’s essential work in the history of science includes an insightful introduction by Ian Hacking, which clarifies terms popularized by Kuhn, including paradigm and incommensurability, and applies Kuhn’s ideas to the science of today. Usefully keyed to the separate sections of the book, Hacking’s introduction provides important background information as well as a contemporary context. Newly designed, with an expanded index, this edition will be eagerly welcomed by the next generation of readers seeking to understand the history of our perspectives on science.

The Brain and the Meaning of Life

Author: Paul Thagard

Publisher: Princeton University Press

ISBN: 0691142726

Category: Philosophy

Page: 274

View: 5952

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Why is life worth living? What makes actions right or wrong? What is reality and how do we know it? The Brain and the Meaning of Life draws on research in philosophy, psychology, and neuroscience to answer some of the most pressing questions about life's nature and value. Paul Thagard argues that evidence requires the abandonment of many traditional ideas about the soul, free will, and immortality, and shows how brain science matters for fundamental issues about reality, morality, and the meaning of life. The ongoing Brain Revolution reveals how love, work, and play provide good reasons for living. Defending the superiority of evidence-based reasoning over religious faith and philosophical thought experiments, Thagard argues that minds are brains and that reality is what science can discover. Brains come to know reality through a combination of perception and reasoning. Just as important, our brains evaluate aspects of reality through emotions that can produce both good and bad decisions. Our cognitive and emotional abilities allow us to understand reality, decide effectively, act morally, and pursue the vital needs of love, work, and play. Wisdom consists of knowing what matters, why it matters, and how to achieve it. The Brain and the Meaning of Life shows how brain science helps to answer questions about the nature of mind and reality, while alleviating anxiety about the difficulty of life in a vast universe. The book integrates decades of multidisciplinary research, but its clear explanations and humor make it accessible to the general reader.

Collins English Dictionary

Author: John M. Sinclair

Publisher: Collins

ISBN: 9780004725314

Category: Electronic books

Page: 1785

View: 7475

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The successful Millennium Edition is now updated. People and places, which have proved such an asset in the Dictionary, have the latest dates and populations. This enables you to have all the facts and figures at your fingertips, as well as the whole breadth and depth of the language described and explained.

Rationalist Spirituality

An exploration of the meaning of life and existence informed by logic and science

Author: Bernardo Kastrup

Publisher: John Hunt Publishing

ISBN: 1846947359

Category: Philosophy

Page: 125

View: 6673

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Why does the universe exist and what are you supposed to do in it? This question has been addressed by religions since time immemorial, but popular answers often fail to account for obvious aspects of reality. Indeed, if God knows everything, why do we need to learn through pain and suffering? If God is omnipotent, why are we needed to do good? If the universe is fundamentally good, why are wars, crime, and injustice all around us? In modern society, orthodox science takes the rational high-ground and tackles these contradictions by denying the very need for, and the existence of, meaning. Indeed, many of us implicitly accept the notion that rationality somehow contradicts spirituality. That is a modern human tragedy, not only for its insidiousness, but for the fact that it is simply not true. In this book, the author constructs a coherent and logical argument for the meaning of existence, informed by science itself. A framework is laid out wherein all aspects of human existence have a logical, coh

Academic Press Dictionary of Science and Technology

Author: Christopher G. Morris,Academic Press

Publisher: Gulf Professional Publishing

ISBN: 9780122004001

Category: Computers

Page: 2432

View: 3531

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Over 125,000 entries cover 124 scientific and technological fields, including acoustical engineering, cartography graphic arts, microbiology, organic chemistry, radiology, and zoology

Darwin Meets Einstein

On the Meaning of Science

Author: Frans W. Saris

Publisher: Amsterdam University Press

ISBN: 9089640584

Category: Science

Page: 172

View: 7250

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A witty, hard-hitting exploration of the ultimate aims of science in a dramatic form.

An Introduction to the Philosophy of Science

Author: Kent W. Staley

Publisher: Cambridge University Press

ISBN: 0521112494

Category: Science

Page: 300

View: 7146

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This book explores central philosophical concepts, issues, and debates in the philosophy of science, both historical and contemporary.

The Big Picture

Author: Sean Carroll

Publisher: Oneworld Publications

ISBN: 1780746075

Category: Science

Page: 464

View: 456

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Where are we? Who are we? Do our beliefs, hopes and dreams mean anything out there in the void? Can human purpose and meaning ever fit into a scientific worldview? Acclaimed award-winning author Sean Carroll brings his extraordinary intellect to bear on the realms of knowledge, the laws of nature and the most profound questions about life, death and our place in it all. In a dazzlingly unique presentation, Carroll takes us through the scientific revolution’s avalanche of discoveries, from Darwin and Einstein to the origins of life, consciousness and the universe itself. Delving into the way the world works at the quantum, cosmic and human levels, he reveals how human values relate to scientific reality. An extraordinary synthesis of cosmos-sprawling science and profound thought, The Big Picture is Carroll’s quest to explain our world. Destined to sit alongside the works of our greatest thinkers, from Stephen Hawking and Carl Sagan to Daniel Dennett and E. O. Wilson, this book shows that while our lives may be forever dwarfed by the immensity of the universe, they can be redeemed by our capacity to comprehend it and give it meaning.

The Meaning of Human Existence

Author: Edward O. Wilson

Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company

ISBN: 087140480X

Category: Science

Page: 192

View: 886

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National Book Award Finalist. How did humanity originate and why does a species like ours exist on this planet? Do we have a special place, even a destiny in the universe? Where are we going, and perhaps, the most difficult question of all, "Why?" In The Meaning of Human Existence, his most philosophical work to date, Pulitzer Prize–winning biologist Edward O. Wilson grapples with these and other existential questions, examining what makes human beings supremely different from all other species. Searching for meaning in what Nietzsche once called "the rainbow colors" around the outer edges of knowledge and imagination, Wilson takes his readers on a journey, in the process bridging science and philosophy to create a twenty-first-century treatise on human existence—from our earliest inception to a provocative look at what the future of mankind portends. Continuing his groundbreaking examination of our "Anthropocene Epoch," which he began with The Social Conquest of Earth, described by the New York Times as "a sweeping account of the human rise to domination of the biosphere," here Wilson posits that we, as a species, now know enough about the universe and ourselves that we can begin to approach questions about our place in the cosmos and the meaning of intelligent life in a systematic, indeed, in a testable way. Once criticized for a purely mechanistic view of human life and an overreliance on genetic predetermination, Wilson presents in The Meaning of Human Existence his most expansive and advanced theories on the sovereignty of human life, recognizing that, even though the human and the spider evolved similarly, the poet's sonnet is wholly different from the spider's web. Whether attempting to explicate "The Riddle of the Human Species," "Free Will," or "Religion"; warning of "The Collapse of Biodiversity"; or even creating a plausible "Portrait of E.T.," Wilson does indeed believe that humanity holds a special position in the known universe. The human epoch that began in biological evolution and passed into pre-, then recorded, history is now more than ever before in our hands. Yet alarmed that we are about to abandon natural selection by redesigning biology and human nature as we wish them, Wilson soberly concludes that advances in science and technology bring us our greatest moral dilemma since God stayed the hand of Abraham.

The Simple Beauty of the Unexpected

A Natural Philosopher's Quest for Trout and the Meaning of Everything

Author: Marcelo Gleiser

Publisher: University Press of New England

ISBN: 1611689406

Category: Science

Page: 192

View: 2376

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Marcelo Gleiser has had a passion for science and fishing since he was a boy growing up on the beaches of Rio de Janeiro. Now a world-famous theoretical physicist with hundreds of scientific articles and several books of popular science to his credit, he felt it was time to connect with nature in less theoretical ways. After seeing a fly-fishing class on the Dartmouth College green, he decided to learn to fly-fish, a hobby, he says, that teaches humility. In The Simple Beauty of the Unexpected, Gleiser travels the world to scientific conferences, fishing wherever he goes. At each stop, he ponders how in the myriad ways physics informs the act of fishing; how, in its turn, fishing serves as a lens into nature's inner workings; and how science engages with questions of meaning and spirituality, inspiring a sense of mystery and awe of the not yet known. Personal and engaging, The Simple Beauty of the Unexpected is a scientist's tribute to nature, an affirmation of humanity's deep connection with and debt to Earth, and an exploration of the meaning of existence, from atom to trout to cosmos.

After Atheism

Science, Religion and the Meaning of Life

Author: Mark Vernon

Publisher: Springer

ISBN: 0230289037

Category: Literary Criticism

Page: 198

View: 5399

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If science has replaced God, is life necessarily meaningless? This book argues that the advances of science and the retreat of religion in secular society does not have to mean a life without spirituality.

The Meaning of Belief

Religion from an Atheist’s Point of View

Author: Tim Crane

Publisher: Harvard University Press

ISBN: 0674088832

Category: History

Page: 207

View: 6238

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Current debate about religion seems to be going nowhere. Atheists persist with their arguments, many plausible and some unanswerable, but they make no impact on believers. Defenders of religion find atheists equally unwilling to cede ground. Noting that religion is not what atheists think it is, Tim Crane offers a way out of this stalemate.