This page features a collection of the best resources on the philosophy of science. Just to be clear, there is no single best resource on the philosophy of science. The best one will depend on your preferred learning style and the amount of time you want to spend learning about it.
To get started, simply choose one of the links below:
If you want a comprehensive overview of the scientific method:
- Read the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy article on Scientific Method. However, you should keep in mind that the Stanford Encyclopedia in often quite technical and this article may be difficult for beginners. It’s also quite long at around 11,000 words. Here’s a short excerpt that introduces the idea of scientific method:
“Science is an enormously successful human enterprise. The study of scientific method is the attempt to discern the activities by which that success is achieved. Among the activities often identified as characteristic of science are systematic observation and experimentation, inductive and deductive reasoning, and the formation and testing of hypotheses and theories. How these are carried out in detail can vary greatly, but characteristics like these have been looked to as a way of demarcating scientific activity from non-science, where only enterprises which employ some canonical form of scientific method or methods should be considered science (see also the entry on science and pseudo-science). On the other hand, more recent debate has questioned whether there is anything like a fixed toolkit of methods which is common across science and only science. . . .”
If you’re looking for a somewhat shorter and more engaging introduction:
If you’d prefer a video introduction:
If you prefer audio and podcasts:
- Listen to Melvyn Bragg and guests discuss The Scientific Method on the In Our Time podcast [45:00 mins]
If you’d just like to casually browse a few quotes:
Unfortunately, there’s only so much you can learn by using free online resources. If you want to learn more, check out this list of the Best Books on the Philosophy of Science
For more introductory philosophy resources and reading lists check out this collection of Resources and Reading Lists.