Tue, Aug 12, 2008, 6:32pm Review Requests in the Philosophy of Science
Nature » Philosophy
(Last updated: Wed, Aug 13, 2008, 9:02pm)
I
've got a never-ending stack of books that I work my way through, and every so often I try to see if I should not bother with some. I had picked up a book by Schlegel for a song that looked interesting a while back and I was just recently thinking of reading. Having just read a book that I was hoping to be more impressed with [1], I glanced over this fairly short work to try to estimate what the payoff might be. I wasn't convinced it was going to be worth my time, and found that I already had a review of it handy.

A negative review, by Mario Bunge [2], seemed to be on-target, based on my skimming, so into the sell-pile it went. But I have another book by Schlegel, written some 19 years later, that does look to be much better. Is it? I have no idea. I haven't been able to find any reviews of it. Perhaps someone out there can help me out. And, as long as I'm asking, I have a few more books I'd be interested in hearing from others about.

So, here are some works that I'm considering reading. Please chime in with your thoughts:

Schlegel, Richard, Superposition and Interaction (1980) — A skimming of this book looks much better than the older work, but I've been unable to find any reviews of it. Because it's a fairly short work, I would simply just read it if I hadn't first read about the problems with the other book.

Čapek, MiliÄ?, Bergson and Modern Physics (1971) — I just finished reading his The Philosophical Impact of Contemporary Physics (1961), which was decent, but an almost entirely a negativy critique of ideas about space and time with few constructive offerings. These are both large books, so I don't want to take the time to read the 2nd one if there isn't going to be something more fecund in it. (Ironically, the one journaled review I could find [3], was by Schlegel. There is also a long Amazon review [4] that makes me think I should perhaps skip this work, as much as I was looking forward to it for a while.)

Plotnitsky, Arkady, In the Shadow of Hegel (1993), Complementarity (1994), The Knowable and the Unknowable (2002) — I share what I presume to be this author's interest in producing a philosophy of science that also is fluent in contemporary Continental philosophy in a no-nonsense, transparent way. I think there is a lot the two areas could contribute to one another, but it is also clear that there is a huge amount of crap out there by people only partially up to the task. I began to wonder where Plotnitsky's books sit, since they are all large enough to require a fair investment of time. He has certainly written a lot, so one hopes he has much to contribute.

Nagel, Ernst, The Structure of Science (1960) — At over 600 pages, I'm curious to hear from others if this book is worth the time. Having read many works on scientific explanation post 1960, I worry this work will be too dated. While I do have a lengthy review here by Feyerabend [5], I would also be interested in hearing anyone's thoughts.


[1] — Čapek, MiliÄ?, The Philosophical Impact of Contemporary Physics, 1962
[2] — Brunge, Mario, British Journal for the Philosophy of Science, Vol 14 (1964), pp. 65-69
[3] — Schlegel, Richard, Isis, Vol 65, No 1, (Mar. 1974), pp. 127-128
[4] — Bezimienny, Robert, Brilliant exposition of Bergson, and a critical analysis of metaphysical presumptions, July 24, 2007
[5] — Feyerabend, Paul, British Journal for the Philosophy of Science, Vol 17 (1966-7), pp. 237-249


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