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  1. Chuang Liu (2004). Approximations, Idealizations, and Models in Statistical Mechanics. Erkenntnis 60 (2):235-263.
    In this paper, a criticism of the traditional theories of approximation and idealization is given as a summary of previous works. After identifying the real purpose and measure of idealization in the practice of science, it is argued that the best way to characterize idealization is not to formulate a logical model – something analogous to Hempel's D-N model for explanation – but to study its different guises in the praxis of science. A case study of it is then made (...)
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  2. Chuang Liu (2004). Approximations, Idealizations, and Models in Statistical Mechanics. Erkenntnis 60 (2):235-263.
    In this paper, a criticism of the traditional theories of approximation and idealization is given. After identifying the real purpose and measure of idealization in the practice of science, it is argued that the best way to characterize idealization is not to formulate a logical model -- something analogous to Hempel's D-N model for explanation -- but to study its different guises in the praxis of science. A case study of it is then made in thermostatistical physics. After a brief (...)
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  3. Sebastian Lutz, Generalizing Empirical Adequacy II: Partial Structures.
    The companion piece to this article captures and generalizes empirical adequacy in terms of vagueness sets. In this article, I show that previous attempts to capture and generalize empirical adequacy in terms of partial structures fail. Indeed, the motivations for the partial structures approach are better met by vagueness sets, which can be used to generalize the partial structure approach.
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  4. Sebastian Lutz (forthcoming). Generalizing Empirical Adequacy I: Multiplicity and Approximation. Synthese:1-31.
    I provide an explicit formulation of empirical adequacy, the central concept of constructive empiricism, and point out a number of problems. Based on one of the inspirations for empirical adequacy, I generalize the notion of a theory to avoid implausible presumptions about the relation of theoretical concepts and observations, and generalize empirical adequacy with the help of approximation sets to allow for lack of knowledge, approximations, and successive gain of knowledge and precision. As a test case, I provide an application (...)
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  5. John Matthewson & Michael Weisberg (2009). The Structure of Tradeoffs in Model Building. Synthese 170 (1):169 - 190.
    Despite their best efforts, scientists may be unable to construct models that simultaneously exemplify every theoretical virtue. One explanation for this is the existence of tradeoffs: relationships of attenuation that constrain the extent to which models can have such desirable qualities. In this paper, we characterize three types of tradeoffs theorists may confront. These characterizations are then used to examine the relationships between parameter precision and two types of generality. We show that several of these relationships exhibit tradeoffs and discuss (...)
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  6. Robert Northcott (2013). Degree of Explanation. Synthese 190 (15):3087-3105.
    Partial explanations are everywhere. That is, explanations citing causes that explain some but not all of an effect are ubiquitous across science, and these in turn rely on the notion of degree of explanation. I argue that current accounts are seriously deficient. In particular, they do not incorporate adequately the way in which a cause’s explanatory importance varies with choice of explanandum. Using influential recent contrastive theories, I develop quantitative definitions that remedy this lacuna, and relate it to existing measures (...)
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  7. Darrell P. Rowbottom (2011). Approximations, Idealizations and 'Experiments' at the Physics-Biology Interface. Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences 42 (2):145-154.
    This paper, which is based on recent empirical research at the University of Leeds, the University of Edinburgh, and the University of Bristol, presents two difficulties which arise when condensed matter physicists interact with molecular biologists: (1) the former use models which appear to be too coarse-grained, approximate and/or idealized to serve a useful scientific purpose to the latter; and (2) the latter have a rather narrower view of what counts as an experiment, particularly when it comes to computer simulations, (...)
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  8. Michael J. Shaffer (2013). E Does Not Equal K. The Reasoner 7:30-31.
    This paper challenges Williamson's "E = K" thesis on the basis of evidential practice. The main point is that most evidence is only approximately true and so cannot be known if knowledge is factive.
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  9. Michael J. Shaffer (2012). Moorean Sentences and the Norm of Assertion. Logos and Episteme 3:653-658.
    In this paper Timothy Williamson’s argument that the knowledge norm of assertion is the best explanation of the unassertability of Morrean sentences is challenged and an alternative account of the norm of assertion is defended.
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  10. Michael J. Shaffer (2012). Not-Exact-Truths, Pragmatic Encroachment and the Epistemic Norm of Practical Reasoning. Logos and Episteme 3:239-259.
    Recently a number of variously motivated epistemologists have argued that knowledge is closely tied to practical matters. On the one hand, radical pragmatic encroachment is the view that facts about whether an agent has knowledge depend on practical factors and this is coupled to the view that there is an important connection between knowledge and action. On the other hand, one can argue for the less radical thesis only that there is an important connection between knowledge and practical reasoning. So, (...)
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  11. Michael J. Shaffer (2011). The Ramsey Principle and The Principle of Informational Equilibrium. The Reasoner 5 (3):37-39.
    This paper challenges the soundness of an argument given in support of a Ramseyan analysis of belief defended by Dokic and Engel in their 2001 book.
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  12. Michael Weisberg (2013). Simulation and Similarity: Using Models to Understand the World. Oxford University Press.
    one takes to be the most salient, any pair could be judged more similar to each other than to the third. Goodman uses this second problem to showthat there can be no context-free similarity metric, either in the trivial case or in a scientifically ...
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