The History And Philosophy Of Astrobiology

Author: David Dunér
Publisher: Cambridge Scholars Publishing
ISBN: 144385302X
Size: 60.13 MB
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Human beings have wondered about the stars since the dawn of the species. Does life exist out there – intelligent life, even – or are we alone? The quest for life in the universe touches on fundamental hopes and fears. It touches on the essence of what it means to formulate a theory, grasp a concept, and have an imagination. This book traces the history of the science of this area and the development of new schools in philosophy. Its essays seek to establish the history and philosophy of astrobiology as research fields in their own right by addressing cognitive, linguistic, epistemological, ethical, cultural, societal, and historical perspectives on astrobiology. The book is divided into three sections. The first (Cognition) focuses on the human mind and what it contributes to the search for life. It explores the emergence and evolution of terrestrial life and cognition and the challenges humans face as they reach to the stars. The essays raise philosophical questions, pose ethical dilemmas, and offer a variety of approaches, including one from cognitive zoology, in formulating a theory of the universal principles of intelligence, the limits of human conceptual abilities, and the human mind’s encounter with the unknown. The second section (Communication) examines the linguistic and semiotic requirements for interstellar communication. What is needed for successful communication? Are there universal rules for success? What are the possible features – and limitations – of exolanguages? What is required for recognizing a message as a message? The third section (Culture) considers cultural and societal issues. It explores astrobiology’s organization as a scientific discipline, its responsibilities to the public sphere, and its theological implications. It reviews the historically important panspermia hypothesis, along with the popularization of astrobiology and its ongoing institutionalisation. Through addressing these questions, we take our first steps in exploring the immense terra incognita of extraterrestrial life and the human mind.

The Structure Of Scientific Revolutions

Author: Thomas S. Kuhn
Publisher: University of Chicago Press
ISBN: 0226458148
Size: 30.25 MB
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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 Elusive Synthesis Aesthetics And Science

Author: A.I. Tauber
Publisher: Springer Science & Business Media
ISBN: 9400917864
Size: 29.88 MB
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The tension between art and science may be traced back to the Greeks. What became "natural philosophy" and later "science" has traditionally been posed as a fundamental alternative to poetry and art. It is a theme that has commanded central attention in Western thought, as it captures the ancient conflict of Apollo and Dionysus over what deserves to order our thought and serve as the aspiration of our cultural efforts. The modern schi sm between art and science was again clearly articulated in the Romantic period and seemingly grew to a crescendo fifty years aga as a result of the debate concerning atomic power. The discussion has not abated in the physical sciences, and in fact has dramatically expanded most prominently into the domains of ecology and medicine. Issues concerning the role of science in modern society, although heavily political, must be regarded at heart as deeply embedded in our cultural values. Although each generation addresses them anew, the philosophical problems which lay at the foundation of these fundamental concerns always appear fresh and difficult. This anthology of original essays considers how science might have a greater commonality with art than was perhaps realized in a more positivist era. The contributors are concerned with how the aesthetic participates in science, both as a factor in constructing theory and influencing practice. The collec tion is thus no less than a spectrum of how Beauty and Science might be regarded through the same prism.

Approaches And Methodologies In The Social Sciences

Author: Donatella Della Porta
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
ISBN: 1139474596
Size: 55.40 MB
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A revolutionary textbook introducing masters and doctoral students to the major research approaches and methodologies in the social sciences. Written by an outstanding set of scholars, and derived from successful course teaching, this volume will empower students to choose their own approach to research, to justify this approach, and to situate it within the discipline. It addresses questions of ontology, epistemology and philosophy of social science, and proceeds to issues of methodology and research design essential for producing a good research proposal. It also introduces researchers to the main issues of debate and contention in the methodology of social sciences, identifying commonalities, historic continuities and genuine differences.

The Invention Of Physical Science

Author: M.J. Nye
Publisher: Springer Science & Business Media
ISBN: 9401124884
Size: 62.79 MB
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Modern physical science is constituted by specialized scientific fields rooted in experimental laboratory work and in rational and mathematical representations. Contemporary scientific explanation is rigorously differentiated from religious interpretation, although, to be sure, scientists sometimes do the philosophical work of interpreting the metaphysics of space, time, and matter. However, it is rare that either theologians or philosophers convincingly claim that they are doing the scientific work of physical scientists and mathematicians. The rigidity of these divisions and differentiations is relatively new. Modern physical science was invented slowly and gradually through interactions of the aims and contents of mathematics, theology, and natural philosophy since the seventeenth century. In essays ranging in focus from seventeenth-century interpretations of heavenly comets to twentieth-century explanations of tracks in bubble chambers, ten historians of science demonstrate metaphysical and theological threads continuing to underpin the epistemology and practice of the physical sciences and mathematics, even while they became disciplinary specialties during the last three centuries. The volume is prefaced by tributes to Erwin N. Hiebert, whose teaching and scholarship have addressed and inspired attention to these issues.

Heinrich Hertz Classical Physicist Modern Philosopher

Author: D. Baird
Publisher: Springer Science & Business Media
ISBN: 9401588554
Size: 75.88 MB
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The sub-title of this symposium is accurate and, in a curious way, promises more than it states: Classical Physicist, Modem Philosopher. Heinrich Hertz, as the con summate experimentalist of 19th century technique and as brilliant clarifying critic of physical theory of his time, achieved one of the fulfilments but at the same time opened one of the transition points of classical physics. Thus, in his 'popular' lecture 'On the Relations Between Light and Electricity' at Heidelberg in the Fall of 1889, Hertz identified the ether as henceforth the most fundamental problem of physics, as the conceptual mystery but also the key to understanding mass, electric ity, and gravity. Of Hertz's demonstration of electric waves, Helmholtz told the Physical Society of Berlin: "Gentlemen! I have to communicate to you today the most important physical discovery of the century. " Hertz, philosophizing in his direct, lucid, pithy style, once wrote "We have to imagine". Perhaps this is metaphysics on the horizon? In the early pages of his Principles of Mechanics, we read A doubt which makes an impression on our mind cannot be removed by calling it metaphysical: every thoughtful mind as such has needs which scientific men are accustomed to denote as metaphysical. (PM23) And at another place, concerning the terms 'force' and 'electricity' and the alleged mystery of their natures, Hertz wrote: We have an obscure feeling of this and want to have things cleared up.

Verbal Behavior

Author: B. F. Skinner
Publisher: B. F. Skinner Foundation
ISBN: 0989983900
Size: 20.35 MB
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In 1934, at the age of 30, B. F. Skinner found himself at a dinner sitting next to Professor Alfred North Whitehead. Never one to lose an opportunity to promote behaviorism, Skinner expounded its main tenets to the distinguished philosopher. Whitehead acknowledged that science might account for most of human behavior but he would not include verbal behavior. He ended the discussion with a challenge: "Let me see you," he said, "account for my behavior as I sit here saying, 'No black scorpion is falling upon this table.'" The next morning Skinner began this book. It took him over twenty years to complete. This book extends the laboratory-based principles of selection by consequences to account for what people say, write, gesture, and think. Skinner argues that verbal behavior requires a separate analysis because it does not operate on the environment directly, but rather through the behavior of other people in a verbal community. He illustrates his thesis with examples from literature, the arts, and sciences, as well as from his own verbal behavior and that of his colleagues and children. Perhaps it is because this theoretical work provides a way to approach that most human of human behavior that Skinner ofter called Verbal Behavior his most important work.

New Challenges To Philosophy Of Science

Author: Hanne Andersen
Publisher: Springer Science & Business Media
ISBN: 9400758456
Size: 34.43 MB
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This volume is a serious attempt to open up the subject of European philosophy of science to real thought, and provide the structural basis for the interdisciplinary development of its specialist fields, but also to provoke reflection on the idea of ‘European philosophy of science’. This efforts should foster a contemporaneous reflection on what might be meant by philosophy of science in Europe and European philosophy of science, and how in fact awareness of it could assist philosophers interpret and motivate their research through a stronger collective identity. The overarching aim is to set the background for a collaborative project organising, systematising, and ultimately forging an identity for, European philosophy of science by creating research structures and developing research networks across Europe to promote its development.