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By Wesley C. Salmon

Wesley Salmon is well known for his seminal contributions to the philosophy of technological know-how. He has powerfully and completely formed dialogue of such matters as lawlike and probabilistic rationalization and the interrelation of explanatory notions to causal notions. This targeted quantity brings jointly twenty-six of his essays on topics with regards to causality and rationalization, written over the interval 1971-1995. Six of the essays have by no means been released prior to and so forth have basically seemed in imprecise venues. the quantity contains a element of available introductory items, in addition to extra complex and technical items, and should make crucial paintings within the philosophy of technology available to either students and scholars.

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Suppose, for example, that a person has a whistle and a dog. When the person blows the whistle, we hear nothing, but in every case the dog comes. We learn inductively that blowing the whistle is a sufficient condition for the appearance of the dog. But we do not understand the relation between the cause and the effect unless we know that there is a sound wave that we cannot hear because the frequency is too high for humans but not too high for dogs. The dog comes because it hears the whistle of its master.

In each case there are one or more statements, propounded by the individual whose name is attached, which purport to describe how things like springs, planets, and bullets behave. If these statements do, in fact, state accurately how such things behave, then they express laws of nature. The law of nature itself is a general uniformity or regularity in nature; the statement that is written in the science text seeks to describe this regularity. There is an elementary but crucial distinction between the words used to state a law and the fact of nature that is being described.

By the close of the nineteenth century, determinism seemed well on the way to being a scientifically well grounded view of the entire universe in all of its aspects—physical, biological, psychological, and even social. 4. Determinism and Contemporary Science Twentieth-century science has in some ways confirmed and extended the grounds for holding a deterministic worldview, and in others it has seemed to undermine determinism. Spectacular progress in the biological sciences has extended enormously the degree to which processes in living organisms can be understood strictly in terms of chemistry and physics.

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