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Science magazine has reviewed Theories on the Scrap Heap: Scientists and Philosophers on the Falsification, Rejection, and Replacement of Theories, a book by John P. Losee Jr., James Renwick Hogg Professor Emeritus of Philosophy.

“It’s probably the most reputable science magazine in the world,” notes Robert Allan, associate professor of psychology, “so having a book reviewed in it is quite an honor.”

Published by Pittsburgh University Press, Losee’s book examines rejected scientific theories through analysis of case studies from more than two centuries of science. The work of prominent scientists and philosophers of science is accompanied by analytical comments from the fields of science and philosophy.

“For John Losee, in his provocatively titled Theories on the Scrap Heap, [discredited scientific theories] are also prime occasions to consider how scientists evaluate theories. In a clever turnabout, he asks not how investigators establish evidential support for theories but why they find certain theories inadequate, even if once widely accepted,” states the Science review. “Theories on the Scrap Heap provides a lucid, nicely consolidated introduction to the appraisal of scientific theories.”

Losee’s previous published works include A Historical Introduction to the Philosophy of Science, Fourth Edition, published by Oxford University Press and translated into 11 languages; Philosophy of Science and Historical Enquiry, also published by Oxford; Theories of Scientific Progress: An Introduction; and Religious Language and Complementarity.

Losee focused on the philosophy of science in his 39-year career at Lafayette. His interdisciplinary scholarship broke new ground in linking the sciences with philosophy and ethics and led to the introduction of new courses in the history and philosophy of science.

From 1961-64, he served as the first resident faculty adviser of the newly created McKelvy House Scholars Program.

Categorized in: Academic News