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A Philosopher Looks at Science

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What is science and what can it do? Nancy Cartwright here takes issue with three common images of science: that it amounts to the combination of theory and experiment; that all science is basically reducible to physics; and that science and the natural world which it pictures are deterministic. The author's innovative and thoughtful book draws on examples from the physical, life, and social sciences alike, and focuses on all the products of science – not just experiments or theories – and how they work together. She reveals just what it is that makes science ultimately reliable, and how this reliability is nevertheless still compatible with a view of nature as more responsive to human change than we might think. Her book is a call for greater intellectual humility by and within scientific institutions. It will have strong appeal to anyone who thinks about science and how it is practised in society.

  • A refreshing, engaging and authoritative new take on science by one of our foremost contemporary philosophers
  • Shows what is wrong with common perceptions of science and argues for a more nuanced approach
  • Highlights why intellectual humility in scientific institutions matters and what can go wrong when this is absent
Author: Cartwright Nancy
Pages: 222
ISBN: 9781009201889
Cover: Paperback
Edition Number: 1
Release Year: 2022

Introduction: What's in this Book?
1. Theory + Experiment do not a Science Make
2. Dethroning the Queen
3. A Nature more Negotiable.

Nancy Cartwright is Professor of Philosophy at Durham University and Distinguished Professor of Philosophy at the University of California, San Diego. Her publications include The Dappled World: A Study of the Boundaries of Science (Cambridge, 1999), Hunting Causes and Using Them: Approaches in Philosophy and Economics (Cambridge, 2007), and Nature, the Artful Modeler (2019).

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