Philosophy of Computer Science

What Is Science?

(and What Is a Scientific Theory?)

(and Readings on Philosophy of Science)

Last Update: 23 July 2012

Note: NEW or UPDATED material is highlighted

Philosophically significant items are boldface; items are listed in chronological order.

"The most remarkable discovery made by scientists is science itself. The discovery must be compared in importance with the invention of cave-painting and of writing. Like these earlier human creations, sicnece is an attempt to control our surroundings by entering into them and understanding them from inside. and like them, science has surely made a critical step in human development which cannot be reversed. We cannot conceive a future society without science."
—Jacob Bronowski, Scientific American (1958)

  1. Quine, Willard van Orman (1951), "Two Dogmas of Empiricism" Philosophical Review 60: 20-43.

  2. Kemeny, John G. (1959), A Philosopher Looks at Science [ Intro & Chs.5,10 in PDF] (Princeton: D. van Nostrand).

  3. Popper, Karl R. (1953), "Science: Conjectures and Refutations", from his Conjectures and Refutations: The Growth of Scientific Knowledge (New York: Harper & Row, 1962).

  4. Popper, Karl R. (1959), The Logic of Scientific Discovery (New York: Harper & Row).

  5. Wigner, Eugene (1960), "The Unreasonable Effectiveness of Mathematics in the Natural Sciences", Communications in Pure and Applied Mathematics 13(1) (February).

  6. Kuhn, Thomas S. (1962) The Structure of Scientific Revolutions (Chicago: University of Chicago Press).

  7. Hempel, Carl G. (1966), Philosophy of Natural Science (Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall).

  8. Kyburg, Henry E., Jr. (1968), Philosophy of Science: A Formal Approach (New York: Macmillan).

  9. Ziman, John M. (1968), "What Is Science?", from John M. Ziman, Science Is Public Knowledge (Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press).

  10. Thagard, Paul R. (1978), "Why Astrology Is a Pseudoscience", PSA: Proceedings of the Biennial Meeting of the Philosophy of Science Association: 223-234.

  11. Arden, Bruce W. (1980), "COSERS Overview" [PDF], in Bruce W. Arden (ed.), What Can Be Automated? The Computer Science and Engineering Research Study (COSERS) (Cambridge, MA: MIT Press), Ch. 1, pp. 1-31.

  12. Salmon, Wesley C. (1984), Scientific Explanation and the Causal Structure of the World (Princeton: Princeton University Press).

  13. Denning, Peter J.; Comer, Douglas E.; Gries, David; Mulder, Michael C.; Tucker, Allen; Turner, A. Joe; & Young, Paul R. (1989), "Computing as a Discipline", Communications of the ACM 32(1) (January): 9-23.

  14. Hartmanis, Juris, & Lin, Herbert (eds.?) (1992), "What Is Computer Science and Engineering?" [PDF], in Juris Hartmanis & Herbert Lin (eds.), Computing the Future: A Broader Agenda for Computer Science and Engineering (Washington, DC: National Academy Press), Ch. 6, pp. 163-216.

  15. Abelson, Harold, & Sussman, Gerald Jay, with Sussman, Julie (1996), Structure and Interpretation of Computer Programs, "Preface to the First Edition":

  16. Papineau, David (1996), "Philosophy of Science" [PDF], in Nicholas Bunnin & E.P. Tsui-James (eds.), The Blackwell Companion to Philosophy (Oxford: Blackwell): 290-324.

  17. Simon, Herbert A. (1996), The Sciences of the Artificial, 3rd edition (Cambridge, MA: MIT Press).

    • SCI/ENGR Book Collection Q175 .S564 1996
    • "Natural science is knowledge about natural objects and phenomena. We ask whether there cannot also be "artificial" science—knowledge about artificial objects and phenomena." (p. 3.)
    • Ch. 1 ("The Natural and Artificial Worlds") has sections on the nature of understanding by simulating and on computers as artifacts, as abstract objects, and as empirical objects.

  18. Rosenberg, Alex (2000), Philosophy of Science: A Contemporary Introduction (London: Routledge).

  19. Okasha, Samir (2002), Philosophy of Science: A Very Short Introduction (Oxford: Oxford University Press).
    • This is the very best intro to philosophy of science.

  20. Kolak, Daniel; Hirstein, William; Mandik, Peter; & Waskan, Jonathan (2006), Cognitive Science: An Introduction to Mind and Brain (New York: Routledge).

  21. Cham, Jorge (2006), Piled Higher and Deeper, "The Scientific Method vs. The Actual Method"

  22. Dyson, Freeman (2006, 19 October), "Writing Nature's Greatest Book", New York Review of Books 53(16).

  23. Lohr, Steve (2006, 2 November), "Group of University Researchers to Make Web Science a Field of Study", New York Times: C6.

  24. "recommendations on texts...whose subject is the philosophy of science." (From Ask Philosophers.)

  25. Hitchcock, Christopher (2007), "Conceptual Analysis Naturalized: A Metaphilosophical Case Study", Journal of Philosophy 103(9) (September): 427-451.

  26. Tedre, Matti (2007), "The Philosophy of Computer Science (Winter-Spring 2007)"

  27. Reed, Dan (2007), "Computing: All Our Constants Are Variables", Computing Research News 19(4) (September): 3.

  28. Steedman, Mark (2008), "On Becoming a Discipline", Computational Linguistics 34(1) (March): 137-144.

  29. Petroski, Henry (2008), "Scientists as Inventors", American Scientist 96(5) (September-October): 368-371.

  30. Vardi, Moshe Y. (2010), "Science Has Only Two Legs", Communications of the ACM 53(9) (September): 5

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