An Introduction to the Philosophy of Science, Rudolf Carnap
Rudolf Carnap

An Introduction to the Philosophy of Science

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One of the most creative philosophers of the 20th century, Rudolf Carnap presented a series of science lectures at the University of California in 1958. The present volume is an outgrowth of that seminar, which dealt with the philosophical foundations of physics. Edited by Martin Gardner from transcripts of Carnap's classroom lectures and discussions, the book remains one of the clearest and soundest introductions to the philosophy of science.Specially designed to appeal to a wide range of readers, An Introduction to thePhilosophy of Science offers accessible coverage of such topics as laws and probability, measurement and quantitative language, the structure of space, causality and determinism, theoretical laws and concepts and much more. Stimulating and thought-provoking, the text will be of interest to philosophers, scientists and anyone interested in logical analysis of the concepts, statements and theories of science. Its clear and readable style help make it "the best book available for the intelligent reader who wants to gain some insight into the nature of contemporary philosophy of science" ― Choice. Foreword to the Basic Books Paperback Edition, 1974 (Gardner); Preface (Carnap); Foreword to the Dover Edition (Gardner). 35 black-and-white illustrations. Bibliography.
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Interestingly enough, although there is no way in which a law can be verified (in the strict sense), there is a simple way it can be falsified. One need find only a single counterinstance. The knowledge of a counterinstance may, in itself, be uncertain. You may have made an error of observation or have been deceived in some way. But, if we assume that the counterinstance is a fact, then the negation of the law follows immediately. If a law says that every object that is P is also Q and we find an object that is P and not Q, the law is refuted. A million positive instances are insufficient to verify the law; one counterinstance is sufficient to falsify it. The situation is strongly asymmetric. It is easy to refute a law; it is exceedingly difficult to find strong confirmation.

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