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Publisher's Summary

What makes science science? Why is science so successful? How do we distinguish science from pseudoscience? This exciting inquiry into the vigorous debate over the nature of science covers important philosophers such as Karl Popper, W. V. Quine, Thomas Kuhn, Paul Feyerabend, Imre Lakatos, Carl Hempel, Nelson Goodman, and Bas van Fraassen.
These thinkers responded in one way or another to logical positivism, the dominant movement influencing the philosophy of science during the first half of the 20th century - a movement whose eventual demise is an object lesson in how truly difficult it is to secure the logical foundations of a subject that seems so unassailably logical: science.
The philosophy of science can be abstract and theoretical, but it is also surprisingly practical. Science plays a pivotal role in our society, and a rigorous study of its philosophical foundations sheds light on the ideas, methods, institutions, and habits of mind that have so astonishingly and successfully transformed our world.
In the course of these 36 stimulating lectures, you will investigate a wide range of philosophical approaches to science, including empiricism, constructivism, scientific realism, and Bayesianism. You'll also examine such concepts as natural kinds, bridge laws, Hume's fork, the covering-law model, the hypothetico-deductive model, and inference to the best explanation (mistakenly called "deduction" in the Sherlock Holmes stories).
Professor Kasser shows how these and other tools allow us to take apart scientific arguments and examine their inner workings - all the while remaining an impartial guide as you navigate the arguments among different philosophers during the past 100 years.

PLEASE NOTE: When you purchase this title, the accompanying reference material will be available in your Library section along with the audio.

©2006 The Teaching Company, LLC (P)2006 The Great Courses
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
5 out of 5 stars
By Claire C McLauchin on 06-24-15

Wonderful series

I'm a physics grad student and never had the time to formally take any philosophy classes, let alone specifically on the philosophy of science, but getting into my work made me want to have a philosophical framework through which I could see everything I was doing. I wanted to understand what made science, science, so I could put my research in a broader context. This class, which was brilliantly written and spoken, helped me get glimpses of many different bodies of thought and gave me enough of a framework to develop a personal philosophy. Everything is very well explained with an well thought out historical narrative throughout.

All in all, I cannot recommend this series enough. I loved it and I'm sure you will too if you're anywhere near my shoes.

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7 of 7 people found this review helpful

5 out of 5 stars
By neilium on 01-26-15

Dense, difficult subject presented well

Any additional comments?

This was the most difficult Great Courses lecture series I've encountered yet. I gave the entire course a second listen and listened for a third or fourth time to several of the later lectures. After all that, I'd at best get a C if I had to take a test.

This is not to say that Professor Kasser does a poor job. He actually does a pretty stunning job of shining a light for the uninitiated on a very deep and fascinating subject. Seriously, it's quite an undertaking. I thoroughly enjoyed it and was surprised and entertained by the breadth of scope.

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3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
2 out of 5 stars
By Omar on 12-16-17

More darn philosophy

This is a book for philosophers by philosophers about why they don't understand science. If you're a scientist, an Engineer or a Doctor, don't buy this book, it'll drive you crazy, as these philosophers grip on reality is fleeting. Buy "Your Deceptive Mind. A scientific guide to critical thinking skills" instead.
Seriously something is wrong with philosophers.

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2 of 4 people found this review helpful

5 out of 5 stars
By Andrew Sanford on 10-25-16

Outstanding presenter.

This was the best series I have listened to of the Great Courses. I usually do not write a comment but felt that Professor Kasser deserved a special mention. He was excellent. The material is very demanding but I learnt so much. I will be revisiting these recordings again and again. Thank you Professor Kasser for a fascinating course.

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1 of 2 people found this review helpful

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