In this deeply thoughtful exploration, Alfred Tauber, a practicing scientist and highly regarded philosopher, eloquently traces the history of the philosophy of science, seeking in the end to place science within the humanistic context from which it originated. Avoiding the dogmatism that has defined both extremes in the recent "Science Wars" and presenting a conception of reason that lifts the discussion out of the interminable debates about objectivity and neutrality, Tauber offers a way of understanding science as an evolving relationship between facts and the values that govern their discovery and applications. This timely philosophy of science presents a centrist but highly consequently view, wherein "truth" and "objectivity" can function as working ideals and serve as pragmatic tools within the sociological context in which they reside. For if the humanization of science is to reach completion, it must reveal not only the meaning it receives from its social and cultural settings but also that which it lends to them. Packed with well-chosen case studies, Science and the Quest for Meaning is a trust-worthy and engaging introduction to the history of, and the current debate surrounding, the philosophy of science.
Alfred I. Tauber is Professor of Philosophy and Zoltan Kohn Professor of Medicine and Director of the Center for Philosophy and History of Science, Boston University. The recipient of the 2008 Medal for Science awarded by the University of Bologna for his work on the theoretical development of immunology, Tauber has also published extensively in science studies and bioethics. He is the author or editor of 13 books, including Patient Autonomy and the Ethics of Responsibility, Henry David Thoreau and the Moral Agency of Knowing, and Confessions of a Medicine Man. He lives in Boscawen, New Hampshire.
Introduction: Concerning Scientific Reason 1. What is Science? 2. Nineteenth-century Positivism 3. The Fall of Positivism 4. The Science Wars 5. Science in its Socio-Political Contexts Conclusion: The Challenge of Coherence