Massimi, Michela, and Duncan Pritchard. What is this thing called science?

2014, in M. Massimi (ed.), Philosophy and the Sciences for Everyone. Routledge

Summary: This chapter offers a general introduction to philosophy of science. The first part of the chapter takes the reader through the famous relativist debate about Galileo and Cardinal Bellarmine. Several important questions on the topic are explored, such as what makes scientific knowledge special compared with other kinds of knowledge or the importance of demarcating science from non-science. Finally, the chapters gives an overview on how philosophers such as Popper, Duhem, Quine and Kuhn came to answer these questions.

Comment: This chapter could be used as in introductory reading to review the nature of scientific knowledge and the most important debates about the scientific method. It is recommendable for undergraduate courses in philosophy of science. No previous knowledge of the field is needed in order to understand the content. The chapter is an introduction to the rest of the book Philosophy and the Sciences for Everyone. Some discussions explored here, such as the problem of underdetermination or Tomas Kuhn's view of scientific knowledge are central to the following chapters in philosophy of cosmology.