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Scientific Thinking 

Scientific Thinking

Written by: Robert M. Martin

Publication Date: January 01, 1997
333pp • Paperback / PDF / ePub
ISBN: 9781551111308 / 1551111306

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Scientific Thinking is a practical guide to inductive reasoning – the sort of reasoning that is commonly used in scientific activity, whether such activity is performed by a scientist, a reporter, a political pollster, or any one of us in day-to-day life. The book provides comprehensive coverage of such topics as confirmation, sampling, correlations, causality, hypotheses, and experimental methods. Martin’s writing confounds those who would think that such topics must be dry-as-dust, presenting ideas in a lively and engaging tone and incorporating amusing examples throughout. This book underlines the importance of acquiring good habits of scientific thinking, and helps to instill those habits in the reader. Stimulating questions and exercises are included in each chapter.


“Robert Martin’s book is an excellent introduction to scientific thinking, and in that respect, to the philosophy of science ... [it] renders a number of complex and difficult topics very accessible.” — Rich Hughen, Teaching Philosophy

Scientific Thinking is admirably clear and linear. It takes the student from the elementary position of undirected observation through problems in sampling to issues in explanation, causation and classification. The book’s informal language helps to make it easy to understand such things as the need for and practical difficulties involved with random sampling.... Scientific and historical examples are presented in an especially illuminating way.” — Carl Matheson, University of Manitoba

Robert M. Martin is Professor of Philosophy (retired), Dalhousie University. His other books include The Philosopher’s Dictionary and There Are Two Errors in the the Title of This Book – Revised and Expanded (Again).

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Table of Contents: [Back to Top]

     Chapter 0: Not Your Usual Introduction

PART I: Induction, Proportions, Correlations
     Chapter 1: Galileo and Mrs. Smith
     Chapter 2: Induction, Deduction, Confirmation
     Chapter 3: Sampling
     Chapter 4: Samples
     Chapter 5: Imprecision and Confidence Level
     Chapter 6: Statistical Relations
     Chapter 7: Correlations Described
     Chapter 8: Correlations Calculated

PART II: Explanations
     Chapter 9: Explanations Explained
     Chapter 10: Problems with D-N Model
     Chapter 11: Hypotheses and Explanations
     Chapter 12: Two Strategies for Hypothesizing
     Chapter 13: Disconfirming Hypotheses
     Chapter 14: Empiricism Revisited
     Chapter 15: Categories
     Chapter 16: Kinds and Laws

     Chapter 17: Seeing Causes
     Chapter 18: Causal Relations
     Chapter 19: Causal Complications
     Chapter 20: Experimental Confirmation
     Chapter 21: Experimental Procedures
     Chapter 22: Non-Experimental Methods
     Chapter 23: The Truth


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Scientific Thinking

1997 • 333pp • Paperback • 9781551111308 / 1551111306

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Broadview Press acknowledges the financial support of the Government of Canada through the Canada Book Fund, and also acknowledges the support of the Ontario Media Development Corporation. Freehand Books, an imprint of Broadview, acknowledges the support of the Canadian Council of the Arts.