OXFORD UNIVERSITY PRESS

Scientific Representation: Paradoxes of Perspective

ISBN : 9780199278237

Price(incl.tax): 
¥5,016
Author: 
Bas C. van Fraassen
Pages
424 Pages
Format
Paperback
Size
156 x 231 mm
Pub date
Jul 2010
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Bas C. van Fraassen presents an original exploration of how we represent the world. Science represents natural phenomena by means of theories, as well as in many concrete ways by such means as pictures, graphs, table-top models, and computer simulations. Scientific Representation begins with an inquiry into the nature of representation in general, drawing on such diverse sources as Plato's dialogues, the development of perspectival drawing in the Renaissance, and the geometric styles of modelling in modern physics. Starting with Mach's and Poincare's analyses of measurement and the 'problem of coordination', van Fraassen then presents a view of measurement outcomes as representations. With respect to the theories of contemporary science he defends an empiricist structuralist version of the 'picture theory' of science, through an inquiry into the paradoxes that came to light in twentieth-century philosophies of science. Van Fraassen concludes with an analysis of the complex relationship between appearance and reality in the scientific world-picture.

Index: 

Preface
Introduction: the 'picture theory of science'
PART ONE: REPRESENTATION
1.1 Representation of, Representation as
1.2 Imaging, Picturing, and Scaling
1.3 Pictorial Perspective and the Indexical
PART TWO. WINDOWS, ENGINES, AND MEASUREMENT
2.1 A Window on the Invisible World (?)
2.2 The Problem of Coordination
2.3 Measurement as Representation (1) The Physical Correlate
2.4 Measurement as Representation (2) Information
PART THREE. STRUCTURE AND PERSPECTIVE
3.1 From the Bildtheorie of science to paradox
3.2 The Longest Journey: Bertrand Russell
3.3 Carnap's Lost World and Putnam's Paradox
3.4 An Empiricist Structuralism
PART FOUR. APPEARANCE AND REALITY
4.1 Appearance vs. Reality in the Sciences
4.2 Rejecting the Appearance from Reality Criterion
APPENDICES
BIBLIOGRAPHY
NOTES

About the author: 

Bas van Fraassen is McCosh Emeritus Professor of Philosophy at Princeton University and Distinguished Professor of Philosophy at San Francisco State University. His research interests straddle philosophical logic and philosophy of science, with special interests in empiricism, (anti-)realism, probability, foundations of relativity and quantum physics, and philosophy of literature. Born in the Netherlands, he studied and taught in Canada and thereafter in the USA; he is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Science and of the Netherlands Royal Academy of Sciences. Though concentrating on philosophy of science he makes occasional forays into philosophy of literature and the connections between art, literature, and science.

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