The Origins of Modern Philosophy of Science 1830-1914

Published by Routledge/Thoemmes Press

Set copyright 1996
ISBN/ISSN: 0-415-13267-3
Price: Pounds Sterling 1,125.00

The philosophy of science as it is known today emerged out of a combination of three traditional concerns: the classification of the sciences, methodology, and the philosophy of Nature. This collection contains contributions in all three of these interrelated areas. The collection will be of interest to both the philosopher of science and to the historian of ideas. The former will be able to trace present day concerns back to their origins; the latter will find it an invaluable source for the study of Victorian conceptions of science.

Table of Contents

Preliminary Discourse on the Study of Natural Philosophy [1830] John Herschel 379pp An immensely popular and influential work, that on first publication went into 12 editions by 1873 and was translated into several languages. Praised as "an admirable comment on the Novum Organum", it helped to stimulate the controversy between Mill and Whewell about scientific method, and influenced scientists of the calibre of Lyell and Darwin. Philosophy of the Inductive Sciences [1840] William Whewell 2 Volumes 643pp, 590pp In this volume Whewell draws extensively upon his earlier History of the Inductive Sciences (1837) to support his claim that the crucial "consilience of inductions" that is the hall-mark of good science is always guided by a new idea. This "Kantian" or "intuitionist" philosophy of science provoked John Stuart Mill to develop the opposite viewpoint in his famous Logic. Comte's Philosophy of the Sciences [1853] George Henry Lewes 359pp Best known as the common-law husband of George Eliot, Lewes was a popularizer of science, as demonstrated in this, one of his earlier works. It provides a lucid exposition of Comte's views about the classificaiton of the sciences and the supposedly inevitable tendency of metaphysics to give way to "positive" science. Popular Lectures on Scientific Subjects [1873/1881] Hermann Helmholtz (2 Volumes) 362pp, 286pp This work, by one of the greatest scientists of his age, was first translated into English in 1873. It includes a non-technical account of energy conservation, an anti-Kantian view of space and geometry, a discussion of the scientific work of Goethe, and reflections on the scientific basis of our enjoyment of music and painting. Matter and Motion [1876] James Clerk Maxwell 136pp This treatise on motion, force, mass, and energy, is written in a more accessible style than some of Maxwell's more technical works, and is, as the preface states, "to be regarded as an introduction to the study of Physical Science in general". Principles of Science (2 volumes) [1874] William Stanley Jevons 487pp,480pp In his Principles, Jevons sought to establish the importance and value of the logical methods of George Boole, and the applicability of such statistical methods in all branches of scientific enquiry. Common Sense of the Exact Sciences [1886] William Kingdom Clifford 279pp This work, left unfinished at the death of the exceptionally gifted mathematician, and completed by his friend Karl Pearson, is concerned mainly with the foundations of mathematics. Analysis of Sensations [1914] Ernst Mach 395pp Another brilliant polymath, Mach's Analysis was translated into English in 1914, and presents his extreme empiricism in lucid and persuasive form. The object of science, he writes, is just "the connection of phenomena"; theories are likened to "dry leaves which fall away" when they have ceased to be useful. Science and Method [1914] Henri Poincare 288pp One of the great mathematicians of his age, Poincare here deals with a variety of issues of methodology: the selection of facts for study, the calculation of errors, and the use of statistical methods to compensate for errors. It also contains an attack on logicism in the foundations of mathematics, and an early account of the significance for methodology of the "new mechanics" of radioactive decay. This edition features a Preface by Bertrand Russell.

2715 pages
Dimensions: 5 1/2 x 8 1/2 inches; 216 x 138 mm
Status: Available