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N.R. Hanson: Observation, Discovery, and Scientific Change

Prometheus Books
January 2010
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N.R. Hanson: Observation, Discovery, and Scientific Change Overview

Norwood Russell Hanson was a seminal figure in post-war philosophy and history of science. His major works, Patterns of Discovery and The Concept of the Positron, are landmarks in conceptual analysis and the historical case-study approach in the philosophy of science. This book provides the first comprehensive and exclusive treatment of Hanson’s philosophy. While his thought has often been discussed in connection with Thomas Kuhn’s picture of science, the rationality of discovery, and concept formation in science, Hanson’s philosophy as a whole has not received adequate attention. In addition to providing an extended biographical treatment of this larger-than-life thinker, author Matthew D. Lund presents a nuanced and historical approach to Hanson’s central philosophical concerns. These include the relation of theory and observation, normative and descriptive analysis, scientific objectivity, the logic of discovery, and the conceptual development of quantum theory. Lund also examines Hanson’s work in the history of science and his attempts to integrate history and philosophy of science. By clarifying Hanson’s intellectual influences and the intentions behind his philosophical activity, Lund argues that Hanson’s philosophical approach is much more unified and distinctive than is generally recognized. In particular, it is shown that Hanson’s theory of observation, his logic of discovery program, and his work in the history and historiography of science, are closely interrelated and interdependent projects. Finally, this book demonstrates that Hanson’s epistemic framework couples nicely with contemporary cognitive scientific accounts of analogy, conceptual structure, and problem solving to provide an accurate and fruitful account of the epistemology of science.


N.R. Hanson: Observation, Discovery, and Scientific Change Synopsis

Norwood Russell Hanson was a seminal figure in post-war philosophy and history of science. His major works, Patterns of Discovery and The Concept of the Positron, are landmarks in conceptual analysis and the historical case-study approach in the philosophy of science. This book provides the first comprehensive and exclusive treatment of Hanson's philosophy. While his thought has often been discussed in connection with Thomas Kuhn's picture of science, the rationality of discovery, and concept formation in science, Hanson's philosophy as a whole has not received adequate attention.In addition to providing an extended biographical treatment of this larger-than-life thinker, author Matthew D. Lund presents a nuanced and historical approach to Hanson's central philosophical concerns. These include the relation of theory and observation, normative and descriptive analysis, scientific objectivity, the logic of discovery, and the conceptual development of quantum theory. Lund also examines Hanson's work in the history of science and his attempts to integrate history and philosophy of science.By clarifying Hanson's intellectual influences and the intentions behind his philosophical activity, Lund argues that Hanson's philosophical approach is much more unified and distinctive than is generally recognized. In particular, it is shown that Hanson's theory of observation, his logic of discovery program, and his work in the history and historiography of science, are closely interrelated and interdependent projects.Finally, this book demonstrates that Hanson's epistemic framework couples nicely with contemporary cognitive scientific accounts of analogy, conceptual structure, andproblem solving to provide an accurate and fruitful account of the epistemology of science.WHAT PEOPLE ARE SAYING: "It is more than pleasing to me that Matthew Lund has brought back to life the work of this original thinker and placed it in the context of his life and his times. Even more gratifying is the extent to which Lund demonstrates the relevance of Hanson's ideas to current issues in the philosophy of science, particularly its continuing involvement with the history and sociology of science as well as with Pragmatism and the recently developing cognitive sciences." —Ronald N. Giere, Professor of Philosophy Emeritus, member and former Director of the Center for Philosophy of Science at the University of Minnesota"Lund's book offers the first integrated account of N. R. Hanson's short but intense personal life and philosophical projects. It roots the projects in little-known history, clearly presents their challenges and places them in the context of current debates on the relation between science, philosophy of science and history of science, discovery and justification, or descriptive and prescriptive cognitive theory. Lund's account secures Hanson's own unique place in the history of philosophy of science, firmly and distinctively next to his more notorious contemporaries Paul Feyerabend and Thomas Kuhn, and will change how we should understand all three. Lund's is the first attempt to showcase the historical value and the current relevance of Hanson's projects and it brings out effectively the challenges historical scholarship and the current versions of Hanson's projects face today, inviting new efforts. It will be up to the reader to decide whether the rehabilitation of Hanson's philosophy amounts to an indictment of current projects and problems." —Jordi Cat, associate professor of History and Philosophy of Science, Indiana University"Professor Lund has written an indispensable introduction to the life and thought of the philosopher N.R Hanson ('the flying professor'). Lund's book is part lively intellectual biography and part critical extension of Hanson's philosophy." —Eric Schliesser, Ghent University, co-editor of Interpreting Newton


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N.R. Hanson: Observation, Discovery, and Scientific Change

Book Info

  • Book Format: Paperback
  • ISBN-13: 9781591027720
  • ISBN-10: 1591027721
  • Number of Pages: 290
  • Dimensions: 5.30 (w) x 8.30 (h) x 0.70 (d)
  • Approx Price: $20.84
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