Philosophy of Science

Curtis Brown

Links to online materials on the philosophy of science

Philosophy of Science - General

Bas van Fraassen's web site Includes a syllabus for his philosophy of science course, which I wish I could take.

Martin Curd, one of the editors of our text, has a web site including course materials for two different philosophy of science courses. One of these uses our text, but there isn't much information about it (perhaps because the material he might have put on his web site is already included in the book!). However, there's lots of information about the other course, which discusses four scientific revolutions (Copernican, Newtonian, Darwinian, Einsteinian) by reading primary texts. Wish I could take this one too.

The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy An internet encyclopedia with essays by well-known figures in their fields. Still a work in progress, but includes excellent essays on scientific explanation, the social dimensions of scientific knowledge, scientific progress, and scientific realism. Also relevant are articles on probabilistic causation, causal processes, laws of nature, and teleological notions in biology. There are also articles on individual philosophers of science, including Paul Feyerabend, Thomas Kuhn, and Karl Popper.

Demarcation, Pseudoscience

CSICOP Online. Web site of the Committee for Scientific Investigation of Claims of the Paranormal, the organization that publishes the magazine Skeptical Inquirer.

Science and Religion

Stephen Weinberg on whether the universe has a designer. "A Designer Universe?" New York Review of Books, October 21, 1999. (Alas, this is no longer freely available online.)
Richard Dawkins on whether religion and science have anything in common. "Snake Oil and Holy Water." Forbes, October 4, 1999.
Richard Dawkins criticizing Stephen Jay Gould on "nonoverlapping magisteria." "When Religion Steps on Science's Turf," Free Inquiry, vol. 18 no. 2 (March 31, 1998). (Sadly no longer freely available online.)
George Johnson on the Templeton Foundation and efforts to link science and religion
Paul Davies on science and religion moving closer together

A Few Science Links

SciTech Daily Review Useful collection of links to online science materials, updated daily
National Academy Press Publications of the National Academy of Sciences.  Many publications on topics relating science and public policy.
Astronomy 161: The Solar System A very well-developed set of on-line materials for an astronomy course at the University of Tennessee.
History of Mathematics A beautifully put together site at the University of St. Andrews. Lots of material, including much of interest for philosophers. Sections on the four-color theorem, Fermat's last theorem, set theory, and lots more.
Donald Simanek's Page All kinds of stuff, including a large collection of links to material on pseudoscience.
Physics Today on the Web. Online site of the magazine Physics Today, a good source for accessable discussions of physics.
The Galileo Project. Attractive web site about Galileo and the science of his time.

The Sokal Affair

Articles on the "Social Text" Affair Alan Sokal, a physicist at New York University, in an attempt to demonstrate what he sees as the bankruptcy of some work in the area known as "social studies of science," wrote a spoof of work in the genre and submitted it to the journal Social Text, which published it as a serious article. At the time of publication, Sokal published a short piece in Lingua Franca, revealing the hoax. It's not clear to me that the acceptance of the article proves much, but the result has been some very interesting discussions of the value and plausibility of work in the sociology of science. Sokal has collected links to a lot of relevant material, including the complete text of his original paper, several of his own follow-up papers, and a fair number of pieces critical of his views.

The Paradox of the Ravens

"Interim Report on the Raven" (humor)
Hempel's Ravens Paradox.  From an online mathematics encyclopedia. Good description of the problem but little discussion of solutions.
Presuppositions and the Paradoxes of Confirmation.  In the journal Disputatio. Interesting discussion of R. M. Sainsbury's treatment of the paradox.
"The Ravens Paradox." A "complete solution" from the Intellectual Loafing site.

Associations and Journals

British Journal for Philosophy of Science
Canadian Society for the History and Philosophy of Mathematics
Centre for Philosophy of Science
Centre for the Philosophy of the Natural and Social Sciences
Minnesota Centre for Philosophy of Science
Philosophy of Science Association
History of Philosophy of Science Working Group
Dept. of History and Philosophy of Science, Cambridge

Last update: January 12, 2016.
Curtis Brown | Philosophy of Science | Philosophy Department | Trinity University