Books

Paradigm Shift

£14.95

How expert opinions keep changing on life, the universe and everything.

Martin Cohen

Why do giraffes have long necks? It can’t really be for reaching tasty leaves since their main food is ground level bushes, tidy though that explanation would be. And how does relativity theory cope with the fact that the observable universe defies prediction by being far too small and anything but homogeneous? By inventing a vastly larger, but invisible, universe. And what exactly should we make of the scientists who claim to be witnessing thought itself, when the changes of blood flow in the brain that they observe are a thousand times slower than the neuronal activity it is supposed to reveal? A little scepticism is in order.

Yet if philosophers of science, from Thomas Kuhn to Paul Feyerabend, have argued that science is a more haphazard process, driven by political fashion and short-term economic self-interest, today almost everyone seems to assume it is a vast jigsaw of interlocking facts pieced slowly but steadily together by expert practitioners.

In this witty but profound 21st-century update on the issues, Martin Cohen offers vital clues for understanding not only the way knowledge develops, but also into the dangers of accepting too readily or too uncritically the claims of experts of all kinds — even philosophical ones! The claims are invariably presented as objective fact, yet are rooted in human subjectivity.

£14.95

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SKU: 9781845407940 Categories: , , ,

This book offers vital clues for understanding not only the way knowledge develops, but also into the dangers of accepting too readily or too uncritically the claims of experts of all kinds — even philosophical ones! The claims are invariably presented as objective fact, yet are rooted in human subjectivity.

7 reviews for Paradigm Shift

  1. Karen Shook, Times Higher Education

    “In this glinty-eyed grab-bag of variably digestible disquisitions on H1N1 vaccines, God particles, Ben Goldacre’s awards shelf, not-so-jolly climate change hockey sticks and philosophers’ star signs, his gadfly jibes serve serious ends. Bestow on your favourite contrarian.”

  2. Geoff Ward, The News Hub

    “In his new book, philosopher Martin Cohen warns of the risks we run in accepting too readily the claims of experts of all kinds.”

  3. Michael Comyn, RTE Radio 1

    “A good mental workout.”

  4. Bjarne Nørum, Kristeligt Dagblad

    “Cohen says that Science Men are always right. Even when they are in the middle of changing their opinions, they are always right. They are like foxes, which always make sure that they have multiple ways in and out of their underground sets.”

  5. Irish Times

    “Plausible misinformation is passed down to each generation in our efforts to explain everything. The greatest error is to confuse fact with theory or science with omniscience.”

  6. Perig Gouanvic, philosophical-investigations.org

    “Cohen provides an exciting and sweeping view of both social and scientific theory. Reading his account, presented almost as adventures, one can’t help but realize that the concept of paradigm shift needs to be radically changed too. Cohen’s book is so engrossing because it challenges us to take an active part in questioning, or enforcing, current paradigms.”

  7. David Lorimer, Paradigm Explorer

    “Although this stimulating book was published six years ago, its content is timely in raising issues related to the handling of previous SARS outbreaks and the debate around climate change.”

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