A Disappointed Philosopher of Nature
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The recent book by Nicholas Maxwell, emeritus reader in history and philosophy of science at the University College London, unfolds its argument in eight chapters: on classical natural philosophy, a brief history of the emergence of science, critical views on philosophy and its failures as perceived by Maxwell, stimulating arguments on why science needs philosophy and vice versa (dealing with values, social uses of science, the problem of how experiential qualities can exist in a physical world, evolution, consciousness, free will, and education). The book concludes with a discussion of the implications of the views presented, plus two appendices, one on degrees of “theory unity” and one on the problem of induction. The back cover claims the book to be ambitious, wide-ranging, and visionary.
The book is indeed ambitious in the sense that Maxwell thinks that an intellectual revolution is needed to re-connect science and philosophy in the pursuit of rational knowledge, and that most...
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Conflict of Interest
The author declares no conflict of interest.