Introduction to the Philosophy of Science: Cutting Nature at Its Seams

Introduction to the Philosophy of Science: Cutting Nature at Its Seams

Introduction to the Philosophy of Science: Cutting Nature at Its Seams

Introduction to the Philosophy of Science: Cutting Nature at Its Seams

Synopsis

A survey of the philosophy of science from positivism to social constructivism, this book focuses on the ontological implications of science. An innovative feature is the author's use of immunology as a source of descriptive examples, thus providing lively illustrations from a life science with universal appeal and allowing continuity throughout this volume. The coverage of Quinean holism and supervenience clarify concepts which have been often misunderstood, while the discussion of the Kuhnian model of science rectifies the distortions it underwent due to misuse in the past. Feminist and nonfeminist concepts of science, as well as social constructivist models are thoroughly investigated by Klee. The text includes a glossary defining over eighty key terms.

Excerpt

In 1956 in a Massachusetts hospital a man 51 years old was released and sent home to die. A large cancerous tumor had been removed from him, but a number of other malignant tumors had been found--all inoperable. The surgeons had sewed him up in dejected resignation and his case had been filed away. Twelve years later, incredibly, the same man, now 63 years old, showed up in the emergency room of the same hospital with an inflamed gallbladder. Some doctors might have concluded that the original diagnosis 12 years earlier had been in error and think no more of it, but a young surgical resident at the hospital named Steven Rosenberg was not like some other doctors. Rosenberg made a determined search of hospital records, even going so far as to get a current hospital pathologist to pull the original tissue slides of the patient's removed tumor out of storage and reexamine them. The slides showed that an aggressively malignant tumor had been removed from the man twelve years earlier (so it was a sure bet that the inoperable ones had been of the same aggressively malignant type). During the subsequent operation to remove the patient's gallbladder Rosenberg did a bit of exploring in the man's abdomen to see if the inoperable tumors from twelve years earlier had stopped growing. The man had no tumors at all in the places his record from twelve years earlier located them.

To Rosenberg, the man whose gallbladder he had removed presented an absorbing mystery. How had a patient with multiple inoperable cancerous tumors . . .

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