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Creative Understanding

"A pleasure to read. Gracefully written by a scholar well grounded in the relevant philosophical, historical, and technical background. . . . a helpfully clarifying review and analysis of some issues of importance to recent philosophy of science and a source of some illuminating insights."—Burke Townsend, Philosophy of Science

385 pages | 6.00 x 9.00 | © 1990

History of Science

Philosophy of Science

Table of Contents


1 Observation

1.1 Two main forms of observation
1.2 Conceptual grasp of the objects of observation
1.3 On the manifest qualities of things
1.4 Our understanding of the process of observation
1.5 Personal versus impersonal observation
1.6 On the relation between observed objects and receiver states

2 Concepts

2.1 Explaining and conceiving
2.2 Examples from Newton
2.3 Questions raised by conceptual innovation
2.4 Are there limits to conceptual innovation in science?
2.4.1 Self-classifying sense impressions
2.4.2 Kant's forms and categories
2.4.3 Carnap's observable predicates
2.5 Conceptual criticism as a catalyzer of scientific change
2.6 Reference without sense
2.6.1 Denoting and connoting
2.6.2 Putnam's attack on intensions
2.6.3 The meaning of natural kind terms
2.6.4 Speaking of quantities
2.6.5 'Mass' in classical and relativistic dynamics
2.6.6 Putnam's progress
2.7 Conceptual schemes
2.8 Appendix: Mathematical structures
2.8.1 Sets
2.8.2 Mappings
2.8.3 Echelon sets over a collection of sets
2.8.4 Structures
2.8.5 Isomorphism
2.8.6 Alternative typifications
2.8.7 Axiomatic set theory
2.8.8 Categories

3 Theories

3.1 The theory of free fall in Galileo's Discorsi
3.2 Mathematical constructs for natural philosophy
3.3 A structuralist view of physical theories
3.4 T-theoretical terms
3.5 To spell the phenomena
3.6 Approximation and idealization
3.7 On relations between theories
3.8 Intertheoretic reduction
3.9 Recapitulation and preview

4 Probability

4.1 Probability and the probable
4.2 Probability spaces
4.3 Chance setups
4.4 Probability as a limiting frequency
4.5 Probability as prevision
4.6 Probability as a physical propensity
4.7 Ideal chances

5 Necessity

5.1 Forms of necessity
5.2 Geometry
5.3 Mathematical physics
5.4 Cause and law


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