This book offers a comprehensive and accessible introduction to the epistemology of science. It not only introduces readers to the general epistemological discussion of the nature of knowledge, but also provides key insights into the particular nuances of scientific knowledge. No prior knowledge of philosophy or science is assumed by The Nature of Scientific Knowledge. Nevertheless, the reader is taken on a journey through several core concepts of epistemology and philosophy of science that not only explores the characteristics of the scientific knowledge of individuals but also the way that the development of scientific knowledge is a particularly social endeavor. The topics covered in this book are of keen interest to students of epistemology and philosophy of science as well as science educators interested in the nature of scientific knowledge. In fact, as a result of its clear and engaging approach to understanding scientific knowledge The Nature of Scientific Knowledge is a book that anyone interested in scientific knowledge, knowledge in general, and any of a myriad of related concepts would be well advised to study closely.
Kevin McCain is Assistant Professor of Philosophy at the University of Alabama at Birmingham. His research focuses on issues in epistemology and philosophy of science-particularly where these areas intersect. In addition to numerous journal articles, he has published a research monograph on the nature of epistemic justification, Evidentialism and Epistemic Justification. He is also currently co-editing (with Ted Poston) a volume on inference to the best explanation and a volume on philosophical skepticism.
Preface.- The Importance of Understanding the Nature of Scientific Knowledge.- Part I: General Features of Knowledge.- The Traditional Account of Knowledge.- Belief.- Truth.- Justification.- Evidence.- Basing a Belief on the Evidence.- A Problem for the Traditional Account of Knowledge.- Part II: Knowledge of Scientific Claims.- Explanation and Understanding.- From Explanation to Knowledge.- Part III: Challenges to Scientific Knowledge.- Skepticism about the External World.- Skepticism about Induction.- Empirical Evidence of Irrationality.- Anti-Realism about Science.- Part IV: Social Dimensions of Scientific Knowledge.- Gaining Scientific Knowledge from Others.- Knowledge in a Scientific Community.- Looking Back and Looking Forward.- Notes.- References.- Index.