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ISBN 0-8126-9461-9

$46.95   paper

528 pages

(Fall 2006)

Science, Understanding, and Justice

The Philosophical Essays of Martin Eger

Martin Eger
Edited by Abner Shimony

Martin Eger’s work is the most insightful exploration of the social context of the natural sciences since C.P. Snow’s The Two Cultures, and a vital contribution to contemporary debates over scientific literacy.

This collection of essays deals with controversial and topical issues in philosophy of science, education, and morality. Also included are exchanges between Eger and leading philosophers, including a dialogue with Abner Shimony, who edits this volume and contributes an account of Eger’s life, work, and importance.

A professional physicist, Eger found that hermeneutic philosophy, associated with Heidegger, Gadamer, and Habermas, had developed techniques for unpacking meanings and for analyzing human claims to knowledge that strikingly parallel the theses of post-empiricist philosophers of physics such as Thomas Kuhn. Eger’s application of hermeneutic methods enabled hermeneutics to be extended from social investigations to investigations of nature, and softened the attack of post-empiricist philosophers on the ideal of objective truth.

"I can’t think of a better introduction to current controversies in philosophy of science and morality. Eger’s writing is wonderfully clear. One senses a person who is both erudite and decent. He successfully uses the methods of hermeneutics to illuminate science education and the impact on the public of popular books on cosmology and evolutionary biology."

—Noretta Koertge, Professor Emeritus, Indiana University

"This is the personal story of a learned intellectual who is also a physicist, a philosopher, a professor, a farmer, a writer, and a wonderfully wise human being, a real Mensch. Eger’s writings are dialogues with his colleagues, and have the beauty, intelligibility, and excitement of a series of Charlie Rose interviews."

—Patrick A. Heelan, author of Space-Perception and the Philosophy of Science

"This collection of Martin Eger’s philosophical essays reveals a highly learned and multifaceted thinker. His incisive views on science, education, and humanity are informed by the hermeneutic tradition in a thoroughly refreshing and distinctive way, producing a body of thought that will surely enrich all those who study it. With a liberating perspective, a meticulous attention to detail, and an uncommon respect for his subject, Eger has left us much to savor and still more to ponder."

—Jon Jarrett, University of Illinois at Chicago

Martin Eger (1936–2002) was Professor Emeritus of Physics at City University of New York, College of Staten Island. He had joined the College on its founding in 1967, and with a few short breaks spent his entire professional life there.

Abner Shimony is Emeritus Professor of Philosophy and Physics at Boston University. His writings include Search for a Naturalistic World View and the popular scientific novel for children, Tibaldo and the Hole in the Calendar. He is renowned for his contribution to the famous Bell-CHSH inequality and for other achievements in the foundations of physics and philosophy.

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