Academic Books

Philosophy of Science

Routledge Contemporary Introductions to Philosophy (4th Edition)
(with Alex Rosenberg)

Any serious student attempting to better understand the nature, methods, and justification of science will value Alex Rosenberg and Lee McIntyre’s updated and substantially revised fourth edition of Philosophy of Science: A Contemporary Introduction. Weaving lucid explanations with clear analyses, the volume is a much-used, thematically oriented introduction to the field.

The fourth edition has been thoroughly rewritten based on instructor and student feedback, to improve readability and accessibility, without sacrificing depth. It retains, however, all of the logically structured, extensive coverage of earlier editions, which a review in the journal Teaching Philosophy called “the industry standard” and “essential reading.”

Key Features of the Fourth Edition:

  • Revised and rewritten for readability based on feedback from student and instructor surveys.
  • Updated text on the problem of underdetermination, social science, and the realism/antirealism debate.
  • Improved continuity between chapters.
  • Revised and updated Study Questions and annotated Suggested Readings at the end of each chapter.
  • Updated Bibliography.


“Sets the industry standard. This book is essential reading for any serious student of the philosophy of science….[It] provides a comprehensive, sophisticated presentation of the current state of the field, yet it is clear enough to be accessible to students. [This] text gets my highest recommendation for courses with students who are academically well prepared and motivated.”
—W. Russ Payne, in Teaching Philosophy

Explaining Explanation

Essays in the Philosophy of the Special Sciences

Far from being inferior to physics, the special sciences are crucial to understanding what is distinctive about scientific explanation: that description is just as important as ontology and that having the right attitude toward empirical evidence is as necessary as having the right method. Explaining Explanation is a collection of Lee McIntyre’s most significant philosophical essays from over the last twenty years. The principle areas of concern are the philosophy of social science and the philosophy of chemistry, but essays also cover more general problems such as underdetermination, explanatory exclusion, the accommodation-prediction debate, and laws in biological science. Despite the disparate themes of each essay—complexity, laws, explanation, prediction, reduction, supervenience, emergence, and redescription—they all converge through the lens of the special sciences, focusing on what it means to “explain” in the sciences.


“Lee McIntyre’s new collection of papers shows that he is not afraid to swim against the academic tide regardless of whether he is discussing the nature of predictions, supervenience, whether there are laws in the social sciences, or making original contributions to the emerging field of philosophy of chemistry. This book will be of interest to all philosophers of science and philosophers in general.”
—Eric Scerri, Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, UCLA, and author of The Periodic Table

“Brilliantly arguing against the nearly universal acceptance of the superiority of explanations in physics, McIntyre makes the strongest case yet for the importance of the special sciences.”
—Michael Martin, Boston University

Laws and Explanation in the Social Sciences

Defending a Science of Human Behavior

The first full-length defense of social scientific laws to appear in the last twenty years, this book upholds the prospect of the scientific explanation of human behavior against those who maintain that this approach is impossible, impractical, or irrelevant. By pursuing an analogy with the natural sciences, McIntyre shows that the barriers to social scientific laws are not generated by factors unique to social inquiry, but arise from a largely common set of problems that face any scientific endeavor. All of the most widely supported arguments against social scientific laws have failed largely due to adherence to a highly idealized conception of nomologicality (allegedly drawn from the natural sciences themselves) and the limited doctrine of “descriptivism.” Basing his arguments upon a more realistic view of scientific theorizing that emphasizes the pivotal role of “redescription” in aiding the search for scientific laws, McIntyre is optimistic about attaining useful law-like explanations of human behavior.


“The central thesis of this interesting and important book is that failure to discover laws in the social sciences is not because of the ‘complexity’ or ‘openness’ of the subject matter, [but] stems from a common lack of understanding among those whose views on the actual characteristics of existing and widely accepted laws in the natural sciences McIntyre criticizes.”
“Certainly the best case for the possibility of discoverable laws in social science that has appeared in more than a generation. Interpretativists and eliminativists will ignore it at their intellectual peril, and those who seek to reconcile reasons and causes will find it indispensable. Exponents of all three of these approaches will find McIntyre an accessible but rigorous introduction to the subject for their students.”
—Alexander Rosenberg, Duke University
“Those who have dismissed the possibility of a nomological social science now must contend with Lee McIntyre’s powerful argument to the contrary. No serious scholar of the human sciences can ignore this work.”
—Merrilee H. Salmon, University of Pittsburgh