A summary of scientific method

By Peter Kosso.

This book is crap, stay away from it. It’s very short, which was the only reason why I actually read it cover to cover. Kosso neglects some very important points you’d want to see in a publication like this; on the list of recommended reading he includes Kuhn but not Popper, and Popper’s name isn’t even mentioned. Presumably because he disagrees with Popper about the importance of falsification. Conceptually he doesn’t talk about and doesn’t seem to understand how crucial is the requirement in science that you restrict the (potential) outcome space when forming hypotheses. He picks out history and archaeology as examples of ‘social sciences’; maybe because that’s the closest he’s ever been to the social sciences? He talks about how experimental designs can play a role here, but doesn’t include a single word about the role of statistics in scientific disciplines.

I’d probably give it 1 out of 5 on amazon. He reads as if he doesn’t have a clue. The only good thing about the book is that it is quite short.


March 24, 2013 - Posted by | Books, Philosophy, Science


  1. I used to commit the sunk cost fallacy quite often. Sometimes I finished a movie even though I was already bored by it after less than a third of its running time. What we rationally know unfortunately doesn’t always translate into corresponding actions. After realising how much time I was wasting and how disgruntled I was by the fact that I watched those horrible films that absolutely did not deserve my attention, these days whenever I watch a film I tell myself to appraise the film at regular intervals to see if I really want to continue.

    I have read several book reviews on your blog that seem to indicate that you did not derive much utility from reading those books at all. It would certainly be more beneficial to you to evaluate a book at regular intervals and abandon it if you find that there is probably very little (if anything) to be gained by finishing it. Or read only choice chapters that are more relevant to your interests than the rest. A crappy book is a crappy book is a crappy book, no matter how short it is, and it definitely is not worth your time.

    Comment by Miao | March 25, 2013 | Reply

    • We already talked about this on Skype, but I figured I might as well respond/reiterate here as well:

      Some of the books you were thinking about (Sacks, Ramachandran) weren’t all bad, and I do reevaluate along the way. The sample you see here on the blog is biased because I’ll not blog books I decide to throw away early on; books like this, which I only read the first two chapters of but which I do not believe I ever talked about here on the blog.

      But even so of course to some extent you’re right – life’s too short to waste it on bad books. I’d probably do well to be a little more critical.

      Comment by US | March 29, 2013 | Reply

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