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Investigating the Life Sciences - 1st Edition - ISBN: 9780080320311, 9781483297224

Investigating the Life Sciences

1st Edition

An Introduction to the Philosophy of Science

Author: G. M. N. Verschuuren
eBook ISBN: 9781483297224
Imprint: Pergamon
Published Date: 28th August 1986
Page Count: 156
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A unique introduction to the philosophy of science with special emphasis on the life sciences. Part I presents elementary but fundamental concepts and problems in epistemology and their relation to questions of scientific methodology. Part II deals with case studies from the history of biology which illustrate particular philosophical points while Part III progresses to more complex ideas as on the nature and methodology of science. Part IV discusses the limitations of scientific enquiry and its relations to other systems of knowledge and interpretation.


For students of philosophy, philosophy of science and history of science. Also for life sciences students wishing to learn about the philosophical basis of their disciplines.

Table of Contents

Foreword. Introduction to science: some agreements. What is philosophy of science? Words, words...concepts. The origin of concepts. A matter of fact. The truth about facts. The genesis of science: some case studies. Harvey's 'discovery'. Bernard's 'organicism'. Mendel's 'Mendelism'. Darwin's 'revolution'. Simpson's 'gradualism'. The pattern(s) of science: some viewpoints. The level of science. The context of discovery. The context of justification. Explanation in the life sciences. The limits of science: some border areas. An all-round outlook. Reductionism in its simplicity. Determinism as a boomerang. The dualism of facts and values. A parable. Bibliography. Index.


No. of pages:
© Pergamon 1986
28th August 1986
eBook ISBN:

About the Author

G. M. N. Verschuuren

Affiliations and Expertise

Eysden, The Netherlands


@qu:...the author has the happy knack of laying out positions quickly and clearly...he has a real gift for setting down an idea diagramatically, separating out concepts with a few strokes of the pen.
@source:Nature, Volume 326
@qu:...a masterpiece of clarity. The text is crisp and logical; the author is a born teacher. Anyone given the unlikely assignment of teaching the epistemology of life sciences to medical students must be delighted to have it all neatly packed, ready to be unwrapped and served to the class...excellent notes...Buy it and read it.
@source:The Lancet
@qu:Vershuuren presents interesting and original comments on rather difficult and controversial issues...[the book] is well-written, with short summaries at the end of each chapter, a detailed list of references and an index. It is a welcome addition to the books on the philosophy of the life sciences available at present.
@source:Acta Biotheoretica

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