Philosophers of Science


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Richard Feynman (1918 - 1988), American physicist: disregarded philosophy of science saying that is about as useful to scientists as ornithology is to birds.

Karl Popper (1902 - 1994), Austro-British philosopher: maintains that no scientific theory can be conclusively established and that the central question in the philosophy of science is distinguishing science from non-science.

Carl G. Hempel (1905 - 1997), German-American philosopher of science and Paul Oppenheim (1885 - 1977 ), German chemist, and philosopher: Their Deductive-Nomological (D-N) model of explanation says that a scientific explanation succeeds by subsuming a phenomenon under a general law.

Daniel Dennett (1942 - ), American philosopher and cognitive scientist: suggest that the lowest-level of explanation of a phenomenon (reductionism), even if it exists, is not always the best way to understand or explain it.

W. V. Quine (1908-2000), American logician and philosopher and E. O. Wilson (1929 - ), American biologist: support coherentism in science because in their view, statements can be justified by their being a part of a coherent system. In the case of science, the system is usually taken to be the complete set of beliefs of an individual scientist or, more broadly, of the community of scientists.

William of Ockham (12871347), English logician, theologian and Franciscan friar: Ockham's razor, sometimes expressed in Latin as lex parsimoniae (the law of parsimony, economy or succinctness), is a principle that generally recommends that, from among competing hypotheses, selecting the one that makes the fewest new assumptions usually provides the correct one, and that the simplest explanation will be the most plausible until evidence is presented to prove it false.

Pierre Duhem (18611916), French physicist, historian and philosopher of science and W. V. Quine (1908-2000), American logician and philosopher: According to the Duhem-Quine thesis it is impossible to test a theory in isolation. One must always add auxiliary hypotheses in order to make testable predictions. For example, to test Newton's Law of Gravitation in our solar system, one needs information about the masses and positions of the Sun and all the planets.

Pierre-Simon Laplace (1749 - 1827), French mathematician and astronomer: Advocated positivism which is a scientific method, philosophical approach, theory, or system based on the view that, in the social as well as natural sciences, sensory experiences and their logical and mathematical treatment are together the exclusive source of all worthwhile information.

Philip Kitcher (1947 - ), British philosopher of science: in his Science, Truth, and Democracy he argues that scientific studies that attempt to show one segment of the population as being less intelligent, successful or emotionally backward compared to others have a political feedback effect which further excludes such groups from access to science.

Paul Feyerabend (1924 - 1994), Austrian-American philosopher of science: argued that no description of a scientific method could possibly be broad enough to encompass all the approaches and methods used by scientists. Feyerabend objected prescriptive scientific methods on the grounds that any such method would stifle and cramp scientific progress.

Pierre Duhem (1861- 1916), French physicist, historian and philosopher of science: advocated continental philosophy which generally reject scientism - the view that the natural sciences are the only or most accurate way of understanding phenomena.

Thomas Bayes (1701- 1761), English mathematician: the guiding thought of Bayesianism (called after Thomas Bayes) is that acquiring evidence modifies the probability rationally assigned to a hypothesis.


Philosophers and Philosophy of Science Resources
Philosophers of Science - Berkeley
Evolution of Western Thinking About Nature

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