Explorando o método científico

quarta-feira, abril 06, 2011

Exploring the Scientific Method
Cases and Questions

Edited by Steven Gimbel
512 pages | 6 x 9 | © 2011

From their grade school classrooms forward, students of science are encouraged to memorize and adhere to the “scientific method”—a model of inquiry consisting of five to seven neatly laid-out steps, often in the form of a flowchart. But walk into the office of a theoretical physicist or the laboratory of a biochemist and ask “Which step are you on?” and you will likely receive a blank stare. This is not how science works. But science does work, and here award-winning teacher and scholar Steven Gimbel provides students the tools to answer for themselves this question: What actually is the scientific method?

Exploring the Scientific Method pairs classic and contemporary readings in the philosophy of science with milestones in scientific discovery to illustrate the foundational issues underlying scientific methodology. Students are asked to select one of nine possible fields—astronomy, physics, chemistry, genetics, evolutionary biology, psychology, sociology, economics, or geology—and through carefully crafted case studies trace its historical progression, all while evaluating whether scientific practice in each case reflects the methodological claims of the philosophers. This approach allows students to see the philosophy of science in action and to determine for themselves what scientists do and how they ought to do it.

Exploring the Scientific Method will be a welcome resource to introductory science courses and all courses in the history and philosophy of science. 

Review Quotes

“This is a truly unique approach for a textbook. The philosophical positions that Gimbel chooses to focus on are important and the choices of primary source articles are excellent. Exploring the Scientific Method will be attractive to anyone teaching courses on the history and philosophy of science.”—Mara Harrell, Carnegie Mellon University

“The way Gimbel integrates core readings in the philosophy of science with case studies works extremely well. As far as I know, Exploring the Scientific Methodis the first book that does this, and I think this is exactly the approach that is needed to orient new students in the field.”—Mathias Frisch, University of Maryland 



How to Use This Book

Syntactic View of Theories


Aristotle from Posterior Analytics and Physics

René Descartes from Discourse on Method

Case Studies


Francis Bacon from Novum Organum

Isaac Newton from Principia

John Stuart Mill from System of Logic

Case Studies


William Whewell from Novum Organum Renovatum

Rudolf Carnap “Theoretical Procedures in Science”

R. B. Braithwaite from Scientific Explanation

Paradoxes of Evidence

David Hume from Enquiry

Nelson Goodman from Fact, Fiction, and Forecast

Carl Hempel from “Studies in the Logic of Confirmation”

Responses to the Paradoxes of Evidence


Karl Popper from The Logic of Scientific Discovery

Case Studies

Holistic View of Theories

Pierre Duhem from Aim and Structure of Physical Theory

Thomas Kuhn from The Structure of Scientific Revolutions

Imre Lakatos The Methodology of Research Programmes

Case Studies

Semantic View of Theories

Marshall Spector “Models and Theories”

Max Black “Models and Archetypes”

Ronald Giere from Explaining Science

Case Studies

Critical Views of Scientific Theories

Paul Feyerabend from Against Method

Ruth Hubbard “Science, Facts, and Feminism”

Bruno Latour “The Science Wars: A Dialogue”

Case Studies

Closing Remarks

Deductivism Case Study Readings

Astronomy Aristotle from On the Heavens 

Physics Epicurus from Letter to Herodotus 

Chemistry Paracelsus from Hermetic and Alchemical Writings

Genetics Aristotle from On the Generation of Animals

Evolutionary Biology Aristotle from On the Generation of Animals

Geology John Woodward from An Essay towards a Natural History of the Earth

Psychology Hippocrates from The Nature of Man, The Sacred Disease

Sociology Thomas Hobbes from Leviathan 

Economics Aristotle from Politics 

Inductivism Case Study Readings

Astronomy Ptolemy from Almagest

Physics James Clerk Maxwell from “Molecules”

Chemistry Robert Boyle from The Skeptical Chymist

Genetics Gregor Mendel from Experiments in Plant Hybridization

Evolutionary Biology Carolus Linnaeus from Systema Naturae

Geology James Hutton from “System of the Earth”

Psychology Heinrich Weber from “The Sense of Touch and the Common Feeling”

Sociology Émile Durkheim from Suicide

Economics François Quesnay from “Farmers”