Angela Potochnik, Idealization and the aims of science, Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2017, 252 pp., $45.00, ISBN 9780226507057

  • Federico BoemEmail author
Book Review

The specialization of knowledge necessarily also involves a sectorization of knowledge. Scientific research is divided into many fields, characterized by their specific peculiarities, and analyzing the scientific enterprise in its entirety often involves a homogenization of practices and approaches that may be incomplete or not representative of the variety of its approaches and methods. This may explain why general philosophy of science has sometimes been accused of not taking into account the differences of individual sciences and therefore of offering an overly simplified vision of scientific research as a whole. It could be even argued that the unity of science is an idealization. As Angela Potochnik puts it: “[i]dealizations are assumptions made without regard for whether they are true and often with full knowledge that they are false.” (p. IX).

However, this term must not be read in a pejorative sense. On the contrary, Potochnik claims that idealization is an aspect that...


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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of OncologyUniversity of MilanMilanItaly

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