Inspired by and expanding on a series of lectures by Leonard Peikoff, David Harriman presents a fascinating answer to the problem of induction—that is, the epistemological question of how we know the truth of inductive generalizations.
Ayn Rand presented her revolutionary theory of concepts in her book Introduction to Objectivist Epistemology. As Dr. Peikoff subsequently explored inductive reasoning, he sought out David Harriman, a physicist who has taught philosophy, for his expert knowledge of the scientific discovery process.
Here, Harriman presents the result of collaboration between scientist and philosopher. Beginning with a detailed discussion of the role of mathematics and experiment in validating generalizations in physics—looking closely at the reasoning of scientists such as Galileo, Kepler, Newton, Lavoisier, and Maxwell—Harriman skillfully identifies the method by which we discover laws of nature. Refuting the skepticism that is epidemic in contemporary philosophy of science, Harriman offers demonstrable evidence of the power of reason. He then argues that philosophy itself is an inductive science—the science that teaches the scientist how to be scientific.
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