© 2003

Rescuing Reason

A Critique of Anti-Rationalist Views of Science and Knowledge


Part of the Boston Studies in the Philosophy of Science book series (BSPS, volume 230)

Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-xi
  2. Introduction

    1. Robert Nola
      Pages 1-11
  3. Knowledge, Science and the Epistemological Enterprise

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 13-17
    2. Robert Nola
      Pages 75-116
    3. Robert Nola
      Pages 117-172
  4. The Poverty of the Sociology of Scientific Knowledge

  5. The French Connection: Foucault

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 361-364
    2. Robert Nola
      Pages 417-460
  6. The German Connection: Nietzsche

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 461-464
    2. Robert Nola
      Pages 539-542
  7. Back Matter
    Pages 543-571

About this book


Do knowledge and science arise from the application of canons of rationality and scientific method? Or is all our scientific knowledge caused by socio-political factors, or by our interests in the socio-political - the view of sociologists of "knowledge"? Or does it result from interplay of relations of power - the view of Michel Foucault? Or does our knowledge arise from "the will to power" - the view of Nietzsche? This volume sets out to critically examine the theses of those who would debunk the idea of rational explanation.

The book is wide-ranging. The theories of method of Quine, Kuhn, Feyerabend (amongst others) are discussed and related to the views of Marx, Foucault, Wittgenstein and Nietzsche as well as sociologists of science such as Mannheim and Bloor. The author provides a wide interpretative framework which links the doctrines espoused by many of these authors; it is argued that they inherit many of the difficulties in the Strong Programme in the sociology of "knowledge", and that they fail to reconcile the normativity of knowledge with their naturalism. It is argued that neither relativists, sceptics, nihilists, sociologists of "knowledge" nor the postmodernists successfully debunk the claims of rational explanation, far from it: these theorists presuppose much of the theory of methodology they deny.


Ludwig Wittgenstein Marx Michel Foucault Nietzsche idea knowledge reason science

Authors and affiliations

  1. 1.The University of AucklandNew Zealand

Bibliographic information

  • Book Title Rescuing Reason
  • Book Subtitle A Critique of Anti-Rationalist Views of Science and Knowledge
  • Authors R. Nola
  • Series Title Boston Studies in the Philosophy of Science
  • DOI
  • Copyright Information Kluwer Academic Publishers 2003
  • Publisher Name Springer, Dordrecht
  • eBook Packages Springer Book Archive
  • Hardcover ISBN 978-1-4020-1042-2
  • Softcover ISBN 978-1-4020-1043-9
  • eBook ISBN 978-94-010-0289-9
  • Series ISSN 0068-0346
  • Edition Number 1
  • Number of Pages XI, 559
  • Number of Illustrations 0 b/w illustrations, 0 illustrations in colour
  • Topics Philosophy of Science
    History of Philosophy
  • Buy this book on publisher's site