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100 entries most recently downloaded from the archive "PhilSci Archive"

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  1. Williiam Bechtel, Explicating Top-­‐Down Causation Using Networks and Dynamics.
    In many fields in the life sciences investigators refer to downward or top-down causal effects. Craver and Bechtel defended the view that such cases should be understood in terms of a constitution relation between levels in a mechanism and causation as solely an intra-level relation. Craver and Bechtel, however, provided insufficient specification as to when entities constitute a higher-level mechanism. In this paper I appeal to graph-theoretic representations of networks that are now widely employed in systems biology and neuroscience to (...)
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  2. Lawrence Lengbeyer, Defending Limited Non-Deference to Science Experts.
    Scientists and their supporters often portray as exasperatingly irrational all those laypersons who refuse to accede to practical recommendations issued by expert scientists and 'science appliers'. After first considering the latter groups’ standard explanations for such non-deference, which focus upon irrationalities besetting the laity, I will propose that a better explanation for at least some of the non-deference is that many laypersons are rationally electing to substitute their own judgments for those urged upon them by the scientific community. Science-based recommendations, (...)
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  3. François Munoz & Philippe Huneman, From the Neutral Theory to a Comprehensive and Multiscale Theory of Ecological Equivalence.
    The neutral theory of biodiversity assumes that coexisting organisms are equally able to survive, reproduce and disperse, but predicts that stochastic fluctuations of these abilities drive diversity dynamics. It predicts remarkably well many biodiversity patterns, although substantial evidence for the role of niche variation across organisms seems contradictory. Here, we discuss this apparent paradox by exploring the meaning and implications of ecological equivalence. We address the question whether neutral theory provides an explanation for biodiversity patterns and acknowledges causal processes. We (...)
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  4. Julia Bursten, Multiscale Modeling in Nanoscience: Beyond Hierarchical Relations.
    Winsberg's "handshaking" account of inter-model relations is a well-known theory of multiscale modeling in physical systems. Winsberg argues that relations among the component models in a multiscale modeling system are not related mereologically, but rather by empirically determined algorithms. I argue that while the handshaking account does demonstrate the existence of non-mereological relationships among component models, Winsberg does not attend to the different ways in which handshaking algorithms are developed. By overlooking the distinct strategies employed in different handshake models, Winsberg's (...)
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  5. Isaac Wilhelm, Chaos Regained: On the Possibility of a New Era of Orbital Dynamics.
    In this paper I explore how the nature, scope, and limits of the knowledge obtained in orbital dynamics—the science concerned with the motions of bodies in the solar system—has changed in recent years. Innovations in the design of spacecraft trajectories, as well as in astronomy, have led to a new hybrid of theory and experiment, and suggest that the kind of knowledge achieved in orbital dynamics today is dramatically different from the knowledge achieved prior to those innovations. Thus, orbital dynamics (...)
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  6. Paul Teller, Role-Player Realism.
    In practice theoretical terms are open-ended in not being attached to anything completely specific. This raises a problem for scientific realism: If there is no one completely specific kind of thing that might be in the extension of “atom”, what is it to claim that atoms exist? A realist’s solution is to say that in theoretical contexts of mature atom-theories there are things that play the role of atoms as characterized in that theory-context. The paper closes with a laundry list (...)
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  7. Paul Teller, Pan-Perspectival Realism Explained and Defended.
    Conventional scientific realism is just the doctrine that our theoretical terms refer. Conventional antirealism denies, for various reasons, theoretical reference and takes theory to give us only information about the word of the perceptual where reference, it would appear, is secure. But reference fails for the perceptual every bit as much for the perceptual as for the theoretical, and for the same reason: the world is too complicated for us to succeed in attaching specific referents to our terms. That would (...)
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  8. Jonathon Hricko, How and How Not to Be Whiggish About 'Phlogiston'.
    Understanding the semantics of theoretical terms from past science involves determining what, if anything, they referred to. Some ways of assigning referents to such terms are Whiggish, in the sense that they introduce anachronisms that distort the past, while others are not. My aim in this paper is to develop a non-Whiggish semantic theory, one that avoids Whiggish reference assignments. In order to do so, I make use of the example of 'phlogiston.' I argue that it would be Whiggish to (...)
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  9. Benjamin Sheredos & William Bechtel, Imagining Mechanisms with Diagrams.
    Some proponents of mechanistic explanation downplay the significant of how-possibly explanations. We argue that developing accounts of mechanisms that could explain a phenomenon is an important aspect of scientific reasoning, one that involves imagination. Although appeals to imagination may seem to obscure the process of reasoning, we illustrate how, by examining diagrams we can gain insights into the construction of mechanistic explanations.
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  10. Thomas Pashby, Reply to Fleming.
    In this reply to Prof. Fleming's response to my `Time and Quantum Theory: A History and A Prospectus' I take issue with two of his claims: that quantum theory concerns the properties of eternally persisting objects; that there is a underdetermination problem for POVMs.
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  11. Gregory Wheeler, Machine Epistemology and Big Data.
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  12. Raphael Scholl, Spot the Difference: Causal Contrasts in Scientific Diagrams.
    An important function of scientific diagrams is to identify causal relationships. This commonly relies on contrasts that highlight the effects of specific difference-makers. However, causal contrast diagrams are not an obvious and easy to recognize category because they appear in many guises. In this paper, four case studies are presented to examine how causal contrast diagrams appear in a wide range of scientific reports, from experimental to observational and even purely theoretical studies. It is shown that causal contrasts can be (...)
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  13. Federico Zalamea (2015). The Mathematical Description of a Generic Physical System. Topoi 34:339-348.
    When dealing with a certain class of physical systems, the mathematical characterization of a generic system aims to describe the phase portrait of all its possible states. Because they are defined only up to isomorphism, the mathematical objects involved are ‘‘schematic struc- tures’’. If one imposes the condition that these mathemat- ical definitions completely capture the physical information of a given system, one is led to a strong requirement of individuation for physical states. However, we show there are not enough (...)
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  14. Gregory Wheeler & Lee Elkin (2016). Resolving Peer Disagreements Through Imprecise Probabilities. Noûs 50 (3):n/a-n/a.
    Two compelling principles, the Reasonable Range Principle and the Preservation of Irrelevant Evidence Principle, are necessary conditions that any response to peer disagreements ought to abide by. The Reasonable Range Principle maintains that a resolution to a peer disagreement should not fall outside the range of views expressed by the peers in their dispute, whereas the Preservation of Irrelevant Evidence Principle maintains that a resolution strategy should be able to preserve unanimous judgments of evidential irrelevance among the peers. No standard (...)
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  15. Mathias Frisch, Causal Reasoning in Physics.
    In this paper I examine several neo-Russellian arguments for the claim that there is no room for an asymmetric notion of cause in mature physical theories. I argue that these arguments are unsuccessful and discuss an example where an asymmetric causal condition plays an important role in the derivation of a physical law.
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  16. Joseph Rouse, Mechanisms as Modal Patterns.
    Philosophical discussions of mechanisms and mechanistic explanation have often been framed by contrast to laws and deductive-nomological explanation. A more adequate conception of lawfulness and nomological necessity, emphasizing the role of modal considerations in scientific reasoning, circumvents such contrasts and enhances understanding of mechanisms and their scientific significance. The first part of the paper sketches this conception of lawfulness, drawing upon Haugeland, Lange, and Rouse. This conception emphasizes the role of lawful stability under relevant counterfactual suppositions in scientific reasoning across (...)
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  17. Christian de Ronde, Unscrambling the Quantum Omelette of Epistemic and Ontic Contextuality: Classical Contexts and Quantum Reality.
    In this paper we attempt to analyze the physical and philosophical meaning of quantum contextuality. In the first part we will argue that a general confusion within the literature comes from the improper "scrambling" of two different meanings of quantum contextuality. The first one is related to an epistemic interpretation of contextuality, introduced by Bohr, which stresses the incompatibility of quantum measurements. The second, is related to an ontic notion of contextuality, exposed through the Kochen-Specker theorem, which focuses on the (...)
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  18. Carsten Held, Conditions.
    Any theory of conditions must solve the symmetry problem, i.e. must explain why being a necessary condition and being sufficient condition in many cases are not mutual converses, yet in some cases having to do with the notion of truth they are; and must explain why being a necessary and sufficient condition is generally non-symmetric, yet in some cases having to do with the notion of truth is symmetric. I explain the problem and propose a solution.
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  19. Carsten Held, Indicative Conditionals and Logical Consequence.
    For an indicative conditional to be true it is not generally sufficient that its antecedent be false or its consequent true. I propose to analyse such a conditional as strong, i.e. as containing a tacit quantification over a domain of possible situations, with the if-clause specifying that domain such that the conditional gets assigned the appropriate truth conditions. Now, one definition of logical consequence proceeds in terms of a natural-language conditional. Interpreting it as strong leads to a paraconsistent consequence relation, (...)
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  20. Jonathan Kominsky, Jonathan Phillips, Tobias Gerstenberg, David Lagnado & Joshua Knobe (2015). Causal Superseding. Cognition 137:196-209.
    When agents violate norms, they are typically judged to be more of a cause of resulting outcomes. In this paper, we suggest that norm violations also affect the causality attributed to other agents, a phenomenon we refer to as ‘‘causal superseding.’’ We propose and test a counterfactual reasoning model of this phenomenon in four experiments. Experiments 1 and 2 provide an initial demonstration of the causal superseding effect and distinguish it from previously studied effects. Experiment 3 shows that this causal (...)
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  21. Feraz Azhar & Jeremy Butterfield, Scientific Realism and Primordial Cosmology.
    We discuss scientific realism from the perspective of modern cosmology, especially primordial cosmology: i.e. the cosmological investigation of the very early universe. We first state our allegiance to scientific realism, and discuss what insights about it cosmology might yield, as against "just" supplying scientific claims that philosophers can then evaluate. In particular, we discuss: the idea of laws of cosmology, and limitations on ascertaining the global structure of spacetime. Then we review some of what is now known about the early (...)
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  22. John D. Norton, On Thought Experiments: Is There More to the Argument?
    Thought experiments in science are merely picturesque argumentation. I support this view in various ways, including the claim that it follows from the fact that thought experiments can err but can still be used reliably. The view is defended against alternatives proposed by my co-symposiasts.
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  23. Bradley Monton, Time Travel Without Causal Loops.
    I argue that time travel can occur without causal loops.
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  24. William Goodwin, Global Climate Modeling as Applied Science.
    In this paper I argue that the appropriate analogy for “understanding what makes simulation results reliable” in Global Climate Modeling is not with scientific experimentation or measurement, but—at least in the case of the use of global climate models for policy development—with the applications of science in engineering design problems. The prospects for using this analogy to argue for the quantitative reliability of GCMs are assessed and compared with other potential strategies.
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  25. Vicente Sanfélix Vidarte, José L. Zalabardo. 2015. Representation and Reality in Wittgenstein’s Tractatus.
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  26. Piotr Stalmaszczyk, Andrea Bianchi, Ed. 2015. On Reference.
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  27. Billy Wheeler, Simplicity, Language-Dependency and the Best System Account of Laws.
    It is often said that the best system account of laws needs supplementing with a theory of perfectly natural properties. The ‘strength’ and ‘simplicity’ of a system is language-relative and without a fixed vocabulary it is impossible to compare rival systems. Recently a number of philosophers have attempted to reformulate the BSA in an effort to avoid commitment to natural properties. I assess these proposals and argue that they are problematic as they stand. Nonetheless, I agree with their aim, and (...)
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  28. Alfred I. Tauber, Immunity in Context: Science and Society in Dialogue.
    Without disputing the richness of the original incarnation of the immune self – conceived in segregated terms and defended by immunity – this useful heuristic is undergoing transformation. A relational or dialectical orientation has supplemented this incarnation of selfhood from an exclusive focus on the defensive scenario to one that now accommodates more expansive ecological intercourse, one in which active tolerance allows for cooperative exchanges within both the internal and external environments. This revision that emphasizes communal relationships finds support in (...)
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  29. Hernán Lucas Accorinti & Juan Camilo Martínez, About the Independence of Models with Respect to Theories: A Case Study of Quantum Chemistry.
    Thesemanticviewofscientifictheoriesassumesthedependenceofmodelsontheories.Someauthorschal- lenge that assumption by means of the study of certain models conceived as phenomenological. On the basis of the analysis of atomic and molecular models in quantum chemistry, in this article we will argue for an independence of models from theories, which cannot be interpreted as merely historical and context relative. Those models shows a conceptual independence that is constitutive of the modeling process; such independence cannot be conceived as a result of a contingent deficiency of the theory used, (...)
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  30. Matias Kimi Slavov, Empiricism and Relationism Intertwined: Hume and Einstein’s Special Theory of Relativity.
    Einstein acknowledged that his reading of Hume influenced the development of his special theory of relativity. In this article, I juxtapose Hume’s philosophy with Einstein’s philosophical analysis related to his special relativity. I argue that there are two common points to be found in their writings, namely an empiricist theory of ideas and concepts, and a relationist ontology regarding space and time. The main thesis of this article is that these two points are intertwined in Hume and Einstein.
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  31. Javier Suárez, Bacterial Species Pluralism in the Light of Medicine and Endosymbiosis.
    This paper aims to offer a new argument in defence bacterial species pluralism. To do so, I shall first present the particular issues derived from the conflict between the non-theoretical understanding of species as units of classification and the theoretical comprehension of them as units of evolution. Secondly, I shall justify the necessity of the concept of species for the bacterial world, and show how medicine and endosymbiotic evolutionary theory make use of different concepts of bacterial species due to their (...)
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  32. Ilkka Niiniluoto, Unification and Confirmation.
    According to the traditional requirement, formulated by William Whewell in his account of the “consilience of inductions” in 1840, a scientific hypothesis should have unifying power in the sense that it explains and predicts several mutually independent phenomena. Variants of this notion of consilience or unification include deductive, inductive, and approximate systematization. Inference from surprising phenomena to their theoretical explanations was called abduction by Charles Peirce. As a unifying theory is independently testable by new kinds of phenomena, it should also (...)
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  33. Dingmar van Eck & Raoul Gervais, Difference Making, Explanatory Relevance, and Mechanistic Models.
    In this paper we consider mechanistic explanations for biologic malfunctions. Drawing on Lipton’s work on difference making, we offer three reasons why one should distinguish i) mechanistic features that only make a difference to the malfunction one aims to explain, from ii) features that make a difference to both the malfunction and normal functioning. Recognition of the distinction is important for a) repair purposes, b) mechanism discovery, and c) understanding. This analysis extends current mechanistic thinking, which fails to appreciate the (...)
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  34. Eleonora Orlando, Fictional Names and Literary Characters: A Defence of Abstractism.
    This paper is focused on the abstractist theory of fiction, namely, the semantic theory according to which fictional names refer to abstract entities. Two semantic problems that arise in relation to that position are analysed: the first is the problem of accounting for the intuitive truth of typically fictive uses of statements containing fictional names; the second is the one of explaining some problematic metafictive uses, in particular, the use of intuitively true negative existentials.
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  35. Rodolfo E. Fazio, Leibniz’s Critique of Infinite Numbers and its Impact in His Metaphysics of Bodies.
    In this paper we study the impact of Leibniz’s critique of infinite numbers in his metaphysics of bodies. After presenting the relation that the German philosopher establishes in his youth between the notions of body, extension and infinite quantities, we analyze his thoughts on the paradoxes of the infinite numbers and we claim that his defense of the inconsistency of such numbers is an inflexion point in his conception of body and mark the beginning of his offensive against the res (...)
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  36. Sara Green, Can Biological Complexity Be Reverse Engineered?
    Concerns with the use of engineering approaches in biology have recently been raised. I examine two related challenges to biological research that I call the synchronic and diachronic underdetermination problem. The former refers to challenges associated with the inference of design principles underlying system capacities when the synchronic relations between lower-level processes and higher-level systems capacities are degenerate. The diachronic underdetermination problem regards the problem of reverse engineering a system where the non-linear relations between system capacities and lower-level mechanisms are (...)
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  37. Eduardo Mizraji, Illustrating a Neural Model of Logic Computations: The Case of Sherlock Holmes’ Old Maxim.
    Natural languages can express some logical propositions that humans are able to understand. We illustrate this fact with a famous text that Conan Doyle attributed to Holmes: “It is an old maxim of mine that when you have excluded the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth”. This is a subtle logical statement usually felt as an evident true. The problem we are trying to solve is the cognitive reason for such a feeling. We postulate here that we (...)
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  38. Juan Redmond & Shahid Rahman, Dialogical Harmony: Tonk, Constructive Type Theory and Rules for Anonymous Players.
    Recent literature on dialogical logic discusses the case of tonk and the notion harmony in the context of a rule-based theory of meaning. Now, since the publications of those papers, a dialogical version of constructive type theory has been developed. The aim of the present paper is to show that, from the dialogical point of view, the harmony of the CTT-rules is the consequence of a more fundamental level of meaning characterized by the independence of players. We hope that the (...)
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  39. Luca Forgione, Kant and Natural Kind Terms.
    As is well known, the linguistic/philosophical reflection on natural kind terms has undergone a remarkable development in the early seventies with Putnam and Kripke’s essentialist approaches, touching upon different aspects of Kant’s slant. Preliminarily, however, it might be useful to review some of the theoretical stages in Locke and Leibniz’s approaches on natural kind terms in the light of contemporary reflections, to eventually pinpoint Kant’s contribution and see how some commentators have placed it within the theory of direct reference. Starting (...)
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  40. Miguel Ángel Sebastián, Consciousness and Theory of Mind: A Common Theory?
    Many philosophers and scientists have argued that the difference between phenomenally conscious states and other kind of states lies in the implicit self-awareness that conscious states have. Higher-Order Representationalist theories, attempt to explain such a self-awareness by means of a higher-order representation. Consciousness relies on our capacity to represent our own mental states, consciousness depends on our Theory of Mind. Such an ability can, at least conceptually, be decomposed into another two: mindreading and metacognition. In this paper I will argue (...)
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  41. Xavier De Donato-Rodríguez, Wenceslao J. González : Bas van Fraassen’s Approach to Representation and Models in Science.
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  42. Russell Marcus, The Eleatic and the Indispensabilist.
    The debate over whether we should believe that mathematical objects exist quickly leads to the question of how to determine what we should believe. Indispensabilists claim that we should believe in the existence of mathematical objects because of their ineliminable roles in scientific theory. Eleatics argue that only objects with causal properties exist. Mark Colyvan’s recent defenses of Quine’s indispensability argument against some contemporary eleatics attempt to provide reasons to favor the indispensabilist’s criterion. I show that Colyvan’s argument is not (...)
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  43. Randall Harp & Kareem Khalifa (2015). Why Pursue Unification? A Social-Epistemological Puzzle. Theoria. An International Journal for Theory, History and Foundations of Science 30 (3):431-447.
    Many have argued that unified theories ought to be pursued wherever possible. We deny this on the basis of social-epistemological and decision-theoretic considerations. Consequently, those seeking a more ubiquitous role for unification must either attend to the scientific community’s social structure in greater detail than has been the case, and/or radically revise their conception of unification.
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  44. Jaana Eigi, On the Social Nature of Objectivity: Helen Longino and Justin Biddle.
    According to Helen Longino, objectivity is necessarily social as it depends on critical interactions in community. Justin Biddle argues that Longino’s account presupposes individuals that are completely open to any criticism; as such individuals are in principle able to criticise their beliefs on their own, Longino's account is not really social. In the first part of my paper I argue that even for completely open individuals, criticism for maintaining objectivity is only possible in community. In the second part I challenge (...)
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  45. Charlotte Werndl, Determinism.
    This article focuses on three recent discussions on determinism in the philosophy of science. First, determinism and predictability will be discussed. Then, second, the paper turns to the topic of determinism, indeterminism, observational equivalence and randomness. Finally, third, there will be a discussion about deterministic probabilities. The paper will end with a conclusion.
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  46. Gabriel Uzquiano, Editor’s Introduction.
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  47. Agustín Rayo, Essence Without Fundamentality.
    I argue for a conception of essence that does not rely on distinctions of metaphysical fundamentality.
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  48. Chuang Liu, Symbolic Versus Modelistic Elements in Scientific Modeling.
    In this paper, we argue that symbols are conventional vehicles whose chief function is denotation, while models are epistemic vehicles, and their chief function is to show what their targets are like in the relevant aspects. And we explain why this is incompatible with the deflationary view on scientific modeling. Although the same object may serve both functions, the two vehicles are conceptually distinct and most models employ both elements. With the clarification of this point we offer an alternative account (...)
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  49. Mario Gómez-Torrente, On the Essence and Identity of Numbers.
    Taking as premises some reasonable principles about the essences of natural numbers, pluralities and sets, the paper offers two types of argument for the conclusions that the natural numbers could not be the Zermelo numbers, the von Neumann numbers, the “Kripke numbers”, or the positions in the ω-structure, among other things. These conclusions are thus Benacerrafian in form, but it is emphasized that the two kinds of argument offered in the paper are anti-Benacerrafian in substance, as they are perfectly compatible (...)
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  50. Maria J. Frapolli, Non-Representational Mathematical Realism.
    This paper is an attempt to convince anti-realists that their correct intuitions against the metaphysical inflationism derived from some versions of mathematical realism do not force them to embrace non-standard, epistemic approaches to truth and existence. It is also an attempt to convince mathematical realists that they do not need to implement their perfectly sound and judicious intuitions with the anti-intuitive developments that render full-blown mathematical realism into a view which even Gödel considered objectionable. I will argue for the following (...)
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  51. Elia Zardini, Truth, Demonstration and Knowledge. A Classical Solution to the Paradox of Knowability.
    After introducing semantic anti-realism and the paradox of knowability, the paper offers a reconstruction of the anti-realist argument from understanding. The proposed reconstruction validates an unrestricted principle to the effect that truth requires the existence of a certain kind of “demonstration”. The paper shows that that principle fails to imply the problematic instances of the original unrestricted feasible-knowability principle but that the overall view underlying the new principle still has unrestricted epistemic consequences. Appealing precisely to the paradox of knowability, the (...)
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  52. Gustavo Adrián Bodanza, Abstract Argumentation in Artificial Intelligence. Problems of Interpretation and Adequacy of Semantics for Decision Making.
    The abstract argumentation frameworks model is currently the most used tool for characterizing the justification of defeasible arguments in Artificial Intelligence. Justifications are determined on a given attack relation among arguments and are formalized as extension semantics. In this work we argue that, contrariwise to the assumptions in that model, either some argumentation frameworks are meaningless under certain concrete definitions of the attack relation, or some of the most used extension semantics in the literature, based on the defense notion of (...)
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  53. Nina Atanasova, Validating Animal Models.
    This paper responds to a recent challenge for the validity of extrapolation of neurobiological knowledge from laboratory animals to humans. According to this challenge, experimental neurobiology, and thus neuroscience, is in a state of crisis because the knowledge produced in different laboratories hardly generalizes from one laboratory to another. Presumably, this is so because neurobiological laboratories use simplified animal models of human conditions that differ across laboratories. By contrast, I argue that maintaining a multiplicity of experimental protocols and simple models (...)
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  54. Melinda B. Fagan, Crucial Stem Cell Experiments? Stem Cells, Uncertainty, and Single-Cell Experiments.
    I have previously argued that stem cell experiments cannot demonstrate that a single cell is a stem cell. Laplane and others dispute this claim, citing experiments that identify stem cells at the single-cell level. This paper rebuts the counterexample, arguing that the alleged ‘crucial stem cell experiments’ do not measure self-renewal for a single cell, do not establish a single cell’s differentiation potential, and, if interpreted as providing results about single cells, fall into epistemic circularity. I then discuss the source (...)
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  55. Spencer Phillips Hey, Judging Quality and Coordination in Biomarker Diagnostic Development.
    What makes a high-quality biomarker experiment The success of personalised medicine hinges on the answer to this question. In this paper, I argue that judgment about the quality of biomarker experiments is mediated by the problem of theoretical underdetermination. That is, the network of biological and pathophysiological theories motivating a biomarker experiment is sufficiently complicated that it often frustrates valid interpretation of the experimental results. Drawing on a case-study in biomarker diagnostic development from neurooncology, I argue that this problem of (...)
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  56. John D. Norton, Replicability of Experiment.
    The replicability of experiment is routinely offered as the gold standard of evidence. I argue that it is not supported by a universal principle of replicability in inductive logic. A failure of replication may not impugn a credible experimental result; and a successful replication can fail to vindicate an incredible experimental result. Rather, employing a material approach to inductive inference, the evidential import of successful replication of an experiment is determined by the prevailing background facts. Commonly, these background facts do (...)
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  57. Jon Altschul, Burge on Perception and the Disjunction Problem.
    The Disjunction Problem states that teleological theories of perception cannot explain why a subject represents an F when an F causes the perception and not the disjunction F v G, given that the subject has mistaken G’s for F’s in the past. Without a suitable answer, non-veridical representation becomes impossible to explain. Here, I defend Burge’s teleological theory of perception against the Disjunction Problem, arguing that a perceptual state’s representing a disjunctive property is incompatible with perceptual anti-individualism. Because anti-individualism is (...)
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  58. Mark Bauer, Normative Characterization in Biological and Cognitive Explanations.
    Normative characterization is a commonplace feature of biological and cognitive explanation. Such lan- guage seems to commit the biological and cognitive sciences to the existence of natural norms, but it is also difficult to understand how such normativity fits into a natural world of physical causes and forces. I propose to map normativity onto systems stabilized by counteractive constraints. Such a mapping, I believe, can explain normativity’s causal-explanatory role in biological and cognitive inquiry. The common approach in the literature is (...)
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  59. Allan Franklin & Slobodan Perovic, Editors’ Introduction.
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  60. Sara Green, Revisiting Generality in the Life Sciences: Systems Biology and the Quest for General Principles.
    Due to the variation, contingency and complexity of living systems, biology is often taken to be a science without fundamental theories, laws or general principles. I revisit this question in light of the quest for design principles in systems biology and show that different views can be reconciled if we distinguish between different types of generality. The philosophical literature has primarily focused on generality of specific models or explanations, or on the heuristic role of abstraction. This paper takes a different (...)
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  61. Grant Ramsey, What Is Human Nature For?
    Questions about what human nature is and how we can learn about it are difficult to answer. They are difficult not just because humans are complex creatures whose behavior is deeply embedded in the cultural environment that they are a part of, but also because it is not obvious what a concept of human nature is supposed to do or what it is for. The concept of human nature is often used as a normative concept, one that can serve as (...)
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  62. Gerhard Schurz, Causality and Unification: How Causality Unifies Statistical Regularities.
    Two key ideas of scientific explanation - explanations as causal information and explanation as unification - have frequently been set into mutual opposition. This paper proposes a "dialectical solution" to this conflict, by arguing that causal explanations are preferable to non-causal explanations because they lead to a higher degree of unification at the level of the explanation of statistical regularities. The core axioms of the theory of causal nets are justified because they give the best if not the only unifying (...)
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  63. Ioannis Votsis, Unification: Not Just a Thing of Beauty.
    There is a strong tendency in science to opt for simpler and more unified hypotheses. A view that has of- ten been voiced is that such qualities, though aesthetically pleasing or beautiful, are at best pragmatic considerations in matters of choosing between rival hypotheses. This essay offers a novel conception and an associated measure of unification, both of which are manifestly more than just pragmatic considerations. The discussion commences with a brief survey of some failed attempts to conceptualise unification. It (...)
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  64. Javier Vidal, De Se Thoughts and Conscious Mind.
    In this paper I develop a modified version of the higher-order thought theory of consciousness. I argue that a mental state is conscious when it is accompanied by an implicit de se thought. This new version is important because it can accomodate the objection that a higher-order thought which is the conclusion of a conscious inference is not able to make a state mental conscious. Also I argue that if introspection consists in one's having an explicit de se thought, the (...)
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  65. Elias Okon & Daniel Sudarsky, A Novel Explanation for the Very Special Initial State of the Universe.
    We put forward a proposal that combines objective collapse models, developed in connection with quantum-foundational questions, with the so-called Weyl curvature hypothesis, introduced by Roger Penrose as an attempt to account for the very special initial state of the universe. In particular, we explain how a curvature dependence of the collapse rate in such models, an idea already shown to help in the context of black holes and information loss, could also offer a dynamical justification for Penrose's conjecture.
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  66. Ioannis Votsis & Gerhard Schurz, Editors' Introduction.
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  67. Mark Siebel & Michael Schippers, Inconsistency as a Touchstone for Coherence Measures.
    The debate on probabilistic measures of coherence has focused on evaluating sets of consistent propositions. In this paper we draw attention to the largely neglected question of whether such measures concur with intuitions on test cases involving inconsistent propositions and whether they satisfy general adequacy constraints on coherence and inconsistency. While it turns out that, for the vast majority of measures in their original shape, this question must be answered in the negative, we show that it is possible to adapt (...)
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  68. Jonah N. Schupbach, The Possibility of Coherentism and the Stringency of Ceteris Paribus Conditions.
    Schupbach puts forward a "possibility result" for Bayesian Coherentism, showing that there exist plausible sets of ceteris paribus conditions that imply that coherence is truth-conducive. Against this result, Schubert has argued that Schupbach's considered ceteris paribus conditions are "jointly inconsistent". In this article, I first show that Schubert's attempted proof of this claim is fallacious, and hence that the possibility result still stands. Next, I consider a related criticism of Schupbach's result, inspired by Olsson's constraints on ceteris paribus conditions. This (...)
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  69. Charlotte Werndl & Roman Frigg, When Does a Boltzmannian Equilibrium Exist?
    The received wisdom in statistical mechanics is that isolated systems, when left to themselves, approach equilibrium. But under what circumstances does an equilibrium state exist and an approach to equilibrium take place? In this paper we address these questions from the vantage point of the long-run fraction of time definition of Boltzmannian equilibrium that we developed in two recent papers. After a short summary of Boltzmannian statistical mechanics and our definition of equilibrium, we state an existence theorem which provides general (...)
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  70. Victor Gijsbers, Can Probabilistic Coherence Be a Measure of Understanding?
    Coherence is a measure of how much our beliefs hang together. Understanding is achieved when we see that something is not just a brute, isolated fact. This suggests that it might be possible to use the extant probabilistic measures of coherence to formulate a measure of understanding. We attempt to do so, but it turns out that a coherence theory runs into trouble with the asymmetry of understanding. We identify four difficulties and show how they have been solved by a (...)
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  71. Andoni Ibarra, Cristina Corredor & Valeraino Iranzo, Letter From the Editors.
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  72. Jeffrey A. Barrett, On the Coevolution of Theory and Language and the Nature of Successful Inquiry.
    Insofar as empirical inquiry involves the coevolution of descriptive language and theoretical commitments, a satisfactory model of empirical knowledge should describe the coordinated evolution of both language and theory. But since we do not know what conceptual resources we might need to express our future theories or to provide our best future faithful descriptions of the world, we do not now know even what the space of future descriptive options might be. One strategy for addressing this shifting-resource problem is to (...)
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  73. Jeffrey A. Barrett, On the Evolution of Truth.
    This paper is concerned with how a simple metalanguage might coevolve with a simple descriptive base language in the context of interacting Skyrms-Lewis signaling games. We will first consider a metagame that evolves to track the successful and unsuccessful use of a coevolving base language, then we will consider a metagame that evolves to track the truth of expressions in a coevolving base language. We will see how a metagame that tracks truth provides an endogenous way to break the symmetry (...)
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  74. Quentin Ruyant, Primitive Ontology or Primitive Relations?
    Primitive ontology is a program which seeks to make explicit the ontological commitments of physical theories in terms of a distribution of matter in ordinary space-time. This program targets wave-function realism, which interprets the high-dimensional configuration space on which wave-functions are defined as our fundamental physical space. Wave-function realism allegedly fails to account for a correspondence between the ontology it postulates and the ‘manifest image’ of the world in which experimental tests of the theory are performed, and therefore the wave-function (...)
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  75. Joy Christian, On the Fatal Mistake Made by John S. Bell in the Proof of His Famous Theorem.
    We explain the elementary mistake made by John S. Bell in the proof of his famous ``theorem.''.
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  76. Ehud Lamm, Exposing Medical Pseudo-Science May Be Unethical.
    An argument is presented according to which exposing pseudo-scientific medical claims may be ethically wrong. It is then suggested that this argument gives an interesting explanation why the successful outing of pseudo-science may lead to an increase in medical pseudo-science overall.
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  77. Schindler Samuel, Theoretical Fertility McMullin-Style.
    A theory’s fertility is one of the standard theoretical virtues. But how is it to be construed? In current philosophical discourse, particularly in the realism debate, theoretical fertility is usually understood in terms of novel success: a theory is fertile if it manages to make successful novel predictions. Another, more permissible, notion of fertility can be found in the work of Ernan McMullin. This kind of fertility, McMullin claims, gives us just as strong grounds for realism. My paper critically assesses (...)
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  78. Andrei Rodin, Venus Homotopically.
    The identity concept developed in the Homotopy Type theory supports an analysis of Frege's famous Venus example, which explains how empirical evidences justify judgements about identities. In the context of this analysis we consider the traditional distinction between the extension and the intension of concepts as it appears in HoTT, discuss an ontological significance of this distinction and, finally, provide a homotopical reconstruction of a basic kinematic scheme, which is used in the Classical Mechanics, and discuss its relevance in the (...)
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  79. Daniel J. Hicks & Thomas A. Stapleford, The Virtues of Scientific Practice: MacIntyre, Virtue Ethics, and the Historiography of Science.
    “Practice” has become a ubiquitous term in the history of science, and yet historians have not always reflected on its philosophical import and especially on its potential connections with ethics. In this essay, we draw on the work of the virtue ethicist Alasdair MacIntyre to develop a theory of “communal practices” and explore how such an approach can inform the history of science, including allegations about the corruption of science by wealth or power; consideration of scientific ethics or “moral economies”; (...)
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  80. Lauren N. Ross & James Woodward, Koch’s Postulates: An Interventionist Perspective.
    We argue that Koch’s postulates are best understood within an interventionist account of causation, in the sense described in Woodward. We show how this treatment helps to resolve interpretive puzzles associated with Koch’s work and how it clarifies the different roles the postulates play in providing useful, yet not universal criteria for disease causation. Our paper is an effort at rational reconstruction; we attempt to show how Koch’s postulates and reasoning make sense and are normatively justified within an interventionist framework (...)
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  81. Andrew Dynneson & Aaron Alvarez, Infinitesimal Calculus as an Epistemic Mediator: A Commentary on the Use of Squares in Elementary Statistical Theory.
    This is a commentary on the use of squares in elementary statistics. One sees an ubiquitous use of squares in statistics, and the analogy of "distance in a statistical sense" is teased out. We conjecture that elementary statistical theory has its roots in classical Calculus, and preserves the notion of two senses described in this paper. We claim that the senses of the differentials dx/dy hold between classical and modern infinitesimal Calculus and show how this sense becomes cashed out in (...)
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  82. Thomas Pradeu, Gladys Kostyrka & John Dupré, Understanding Viruses: Philosophical Investigations.
    Viruses have been virtually absent from philosophy of biology. In this editorial introduction, we explain why we think viruses are philosophically important. We focus on six issues, and we show how they relate to classic questions of philosophy of biology and even general philosophy.
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  83. Thomas Pradeu, Mutualistic Viruses and the Heteronomy of Life.
    Though viruses have generally been characterized by their pathogenic and more generally harmful effects, many examples of mutualistic viruses exist. Here I explain how the idea of mutualistic viruses has been defended in recent virology, and I explore four important conceptual and practical consequences of this idea. I ask to what extent this research modifies the way scientists might search for new viruses, our notion of how the host immune system interacts with microbes, the development of new therapeutic approaches, and, (...)
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  84. Thomas Pradeu, Lucie Laplane, Karine Prévot, Thierry Hoquet, Valentine Reynaud, Giuseppe Fusco, Alessandro Minelli, Virginie Orgogozo & Michel Vervoort, Defining "Development".
    Is it possible, and in the first place is it even desirable, to define what "development" means and to determine the scope of the field called "developmental biology"? Though these questions appeared crucial for the founders of "developmental biology" in the 1950s, there seems to be no consensus today about the need to address them. Here, in a combined biological, philosophical, and historical approach, we ask whether it is possible and useful to define biological development, and, if such a definition (...)
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  85. Joshua Rosaler, Reduction as an A Posteriori Relation.
    Reduction between theories in physics is often approached as an a priori relation in the sense that reduction is often taken to depend only on a comparison of the mathematical structures of two theories. I argue that such approaches fail to capture one crucial sense of “reduction,” whereby one theory encompasses the set of real behaviors that are well-modeled by the other. Reduction in this sense depends not only on the mathematical structures of the theories, but also on empirical facts (...)
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  86. David Neil Corfield, The Vertical Unity of Concepts in Mathematics Through the Lens of Homotopy Type Theory.
    The mathematician Alexander Borovik speaks of the importance of the 'vertical unity' of mathematics. By this he means to draw our attention to the fact that many sophisticated mathematical concepts, even those introduced at the cutting-edge of research, have their roots in our most basic conceptualisations of the world. If this is so, we might expect any truly fundamental mathematical language to detect such structural commonalities. It is reasonable to suppose then that the lack of philosophical interest in such vertical (...)
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  87. Michel Janssen & Sergio Pernice, Sleeping Beauty on Monty Hall.
    We present a game show that we claim can serve as a proxy for the notorious Sleeping Beauty Problem. This problem has divided commentators into two camps, 'halfers' and 'thirders'. In our game show, the potential awakenings of Sleeping Beauty, during which she will be asked about the outcome of the coin toss that determined earlier how many times she is awakened and asked, are replaced by potential contestants, deciding whether to choose heads or tails in a bet they will (...)
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  88. Tom F. Sterkenburg, Putnam's Diagonal Argument and the Impossibility of a Universal Learning Machine.
    The diagonalization argument of Putnam denies the possibility of a universal learning machine. Yet the proposal of Solomonoff and Levin promises precisely such a thing. In this paper I discuss how their proposed measure function manages to evade Putnam's diagonalization in one respect, only to fatally fall prey to it in another.
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  89. Wayne C. Myrvold, Quantum Mechanics and Narratability.
    As has been noted by several authors, in a relativistic context, there is an interesting difference between classical and quantum state evolution. For a classical system, a state history of a quantum system given along one foliation uniquely determines, without any consideration of the system's dynamics, a state history along any other foliation. This is not true for quantum state evolution; there are cases in which a state history along one foliation is compatible with multiple distinct state histories along some (...)
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  90. Jeffrey A. Barrett, Description and the Problem of Priors.
    Belief-revision models of knowledge describe how to update one's degrees of belief associated with hypotheses as one considers new evidence, but they typically do not say how probabilities become associated with meaningful hypotheses in the frst place. Here we consider a variety of Skyrms-Lewis signaling game [Lewis ] [Skyrms ] where simple descriptive language and predictive practice and associated basic expectations coevolve. Rather than assigning prior probabilities to hypotheses in a fxed language then conditioning on new evidence, the agents begin (...)
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  91. Matteo Colombo, Marie Postma & Jan Sprenger, Explanatory Judgment, Probability, and Abductive Inference.
    Abductive reasoning assigns special status to the explanatory power of a hypothesis. But how do people make explanatory judgments? Our study clarifies this issue by asking: How does the explanatory power of a hypothesis cohere with other cognitive factors? How does probabilistic information affect explanatory judgments? In order to answer these questions, we conducted an experiment with 671 participants. Their task was to make judgments about a potentially explanatory hypothesis and its cognitive virtues. In the responses, we isolated three constructs: (...)
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  92. Joan A. Vaccaro, An Anomaly in Space and Time and the Origin of Dynamics.
    The Hamiltonian defines the dynamical properties of the universe. Evidence from particle physics shows that there is a different version of the Hamiltonian for each direction of time. As there is no physical basis for the universe to be asymmetric in time, both versions must operate equally. However, conventional physical theories accommodate only one version of the Hamiltonian and one direction of time. This represents an unexplained anomaly in conventional physics and calls for a reworking of the concepts of time (...)
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  93. Joy Christian, Proposed Macroscopic Test of the Physical Relevance of Bell's Theorem.
    A macroscopic experiment capable of detecting a signature of spinorial sign changes is discussed. If realized, it would determine whether Bell inequalities are satisfied for a manifestly local, classical system. By providing an explicitly local-realistic derivation of the EPR-Bohm type spin correlations, it is demonstrated why Bell inequalities must be violated even in such a manifestly local, macroscopic domain, just as strongly as they are in the microscopic domain. The proposed experiment has the potential to transform our understanding of the (...)
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  94. Jani Raerinne & Jan Baedke, Exclusions, Explanations, and Exceptions: On the Causal and Lawlike Status of the Competitive Exclusion Principle.
    The lawlike and explanatory status of ecologists’ Competitive Exclusion Principle is a debated topic. It has been argued that the CEP is a ceteris paribus law, a non-lawlike regularity riddled with exceptions, a tautology, a causal regularity, and so on. We argue that the CEP is an empirically respectful and testable strict law that is not riddled with genuine exceptions. Moreover, we argue that the CEP is not a causal explanans in explanations, because it is a coexistence law, not a (...)
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  95. Jackson Jr, Cross-Cultural Research, Evolutionary Psychology, and Racialism: Problems and Prospects.
    Philosophers defending evolutionary/cognitive accounts of racialism argue that cross-cultural psychological research has discovered similar patterns of racial reasoning around the globe. Such research, they hold, simultaneously supports the existence of an underlying cognitive mechanism for essentialist thinking while undercutting social constructionist accounts of racialism. I argue that they are mistaken for two reasons. First, evolutionary/cognitive researchers are unfamiliar with constructionist accounts of global racialism which explain similarities and differences in racialism. Second, evolutionary/cognitive accounts that make cross-cultural claims shoulder probative obligations (...)
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  96. Elina Pechlivanidi & Stathis Psillos, What Powers Are Not.
    This paper analyses and criticizes the idea that powers are representable as vectors. Mumford and Anjum have recently developed a vector model of powers as part of their account of dispositional causation. The purpose of this model is to represent dispositionality, i.e. a sui generis type of modality introduced by their power-based ontology, as well as to explain various features of their account of causation. In this paper, we criticise both the claim that powers are vectors and the concomitant claim (...)
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