The Disorder of Things: Metaphysical Foundations of the Disunity of Science
Dupre (John)
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Back Cover Blurb

  1. The great dream of philosophers and scientists for millennia has been to give us a complete account of the order of things. A powerful articulation of such a dream in this century has been found in the idea of a unity of science.
  2. With this manifesto, John Dupre systematically attacks the ideal of scientific unity by showing how its underlying assumptions are at odds with the central conclusions of science itself. In its stead, the author gives us a metaphysics much more in keeping with what science tells us about the world.
  3. Elegantly written and compellingly argued, this provocative book will be important reading for all philosophers and scholars of science.
  4. Reviews
    • Dupre's book is original, lucid and confident, without being eccentric, polemical or arrogant. It deserves close attention ... Dupre insists that there is no general scientific method, process, or attitude ... He pins down the notion of the unity of science as a form of scientism appropriate only to a Utopia or to totalitarianism. He notes that 'paradoxically, with the disunity of science comes a kind of unity of knowledge.' That is why, to my mind, this is just the kind of philosophical teaching that is needed to close the gap between the two cultures.
      → John Ziman, Nature
    • The thesis of 'disorder' has revolutionary implications for the practice of science ... [This book] should be read by every student of the subject as an antidote to current philosophical correctness, and it should indeed suggest to professionals that many of the fashionable empires of analytic philosophy as well as philosophy of science are not well-clothed.
      → Mary Hesse, International Studies in the History and Philosophy of Science
  5. John Dupre: is Associate Professor of Philosophy at Stanford University and the editor of The Latest on the Best: Essays on Evolution and Optimality.

  1. Natural Kinds1 and Essentialism – 15
    1. Natural Kinds2 – 1
    2. Species – 37
    3. Essences – 60
  2. Reductionism – 85
    1. Reductionism and Materialism – 87
    2. Reductionism in Biology 1: Ecology – 107
    3. Reductionism in Biology 2: Genetics – 121
    4. Reductionism and the Mental – 146
  3. The Limits of Causality3 – 169
    1. Determinism – 171
    2. Probabilistic Causality4 – I94
  4. Some Consequences of Disorder – 219
    1. The Disunity of Science – 221
    2. Science and Values – 244

    Notes – 267
    Bibliography – 291
    Sources – 303
    Index – 305


Harvard University Press; New edition edition (5 April 1995)

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  1. Blue: Text by me; © Theo Todman, 2019
  2. Mauve: Text by correspondent(s) or other author(s); © the author(s)

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