Ruphy has written a marvelously clear and tremendously engaging book that one could read over summer holidays and yet think about for years to come. By grounding philosophical discussion of scientific practice in cosmology and astrophysics, and using detailed philosophical arguments, Ruphy has set a high bar for what reflections on scientific pluralism should aim to achieve.
Can we expect our scientific theories to make up a unified structure, or do they form a kind of “patchwork” whose pieces remain independent from each other? Does the proliferation of sometimes-incompatible representations of the same phenomenon compromise the ability of science to deliver reliable knowledge? Is there a single correct way to classify things that science should try to discover, or is taxonomic pluralism here to stay? These questions are at the heart of philosophical debate on the unity or plurality of science, one of the most central issues in philosophy of science today. This book offers a critical overview and a new structure of this debate. It focuses on the methodological, epistemic, and metaphysical commitments of various philosophical attitudes surrounding monism and pluralism, and offers novel perspectives and pluralist theses on scientific methods and objects, reductionism, plurality of representations, natural kinds, and scientific classifications.
Ruphy's book is an important contribution to the growing literature on scientific pluralism. It should be read and discussed widely.
Scientific Pluralism Reconsidered is a pleasing culmination of Stephanie Ruphy's pioneering and underappreciated philosophical work. She gives careful and sympathetic critiques of various monist and pluralist positions and advances her own synthesis of 'foliated pluralism' supported by perceptive and measured arguments. This book deserves to be read by all practice-oriented philosophers of science.
Ruphy offers the first comprehensive introduction to debates about pluralism in philosophy of science. She succeeds not only in providing a clear overview of the field but also in advancing current debates about the methodological and ontological dimensions of scientific pluralism. This outstanding book will become an indispensable resource for students and researchers alike.
Ruphy’s book is by far not just a historic overview, nor is it only a helpful guide to the terms ‘plurality’, ‘monism’, and ‘unity of science’. What makes this book especially worth reading is Ruphy’s thorough evaluation of these different concepts of scientific plurality, which reveals a number of unanswered questions and gaps in the chain of reasoning of these arguments.
Stéphanie Ruphy is professor of philosophy of science and head of the research laboratory PPL (Philosophy, Pratices, and Langages) at Université Grenoble Alpes in France. She is also president of the Société de philosophie des sciences.