This paper examines the experiment in macroeconometrics, the different forms it has taken and the rules that have been proposed for its proper conduct. Here an ?experiment? means putting a question to a model and getting an answer. Different types of experiment are distinguished and the justification that can be provided for a particular choice of experiment is discussed. Three types of macroeconometric modelling are considered: the Cowles (system of equations) approach, the vector autoregressive model approach and the computational experiment. (...) JEL Classifications: B41, C5, E37. (shrink)
Abstract During the Copernican revolution the supporters of the Ptolemaic theory argued that the tower experiment refuted the Copernican hypothesis of the (diurnal) motion of the earth, but was in agreement with the Ptolemaic theory. In his defence of the Copernican theory Galileo argued that the experiment was in agreement both with Copernican and Ptolemaic theory. The reason for these different views of the same experiment was not that the two theories were incommensurable, as Paul Feyerabend argues, but that Galileo (...) introduced a new theory of motion which he used as an auxiliary hypothesis in his discussion of the tower experiment, while those defending the Ptolemaic theory used the old Aristotelian theory of motion. Already before the Copernican revolution the Aristotelian theory of motion was criticized by philosophers in Paris, who suggested the impetus theory of motion. The later versions of this theory had the consequence that the tower experiment no longer refuted the hypothesis of the (diurnal) motion of the earth. Thus the impetus theory removed an old and important objection to the heliocentric theory. Galileo's inertial dynamics had the same function in the discussion of the tower experiment. (shrink)
In this paper I investigate the prospects of integrated history and philosophy of science, by examining how philosophical issues concerning experimental practice and scientific realism can enrich the historical investigation of the careers of "hidden entities", entities that are not accessible to unmediated observation. Conversely, I suggest that the history of those entities has important lessons to teach to the philosophy of science. My overall aim is to illustrate the possibility of a fruitful two-way traffic between history and philosophy of (...) science. (shrink)
This paper provides an account of the experimental conditions required for establishing whether correlating or causally relevant factors are constitutive components of a mechanism connecting input (start) and output (finish) conditions. I argue that two-variable experiments, where both the initial conditions and a component postulated by the mechanism are simultaneously manipulated on an independent basis, are usually required in order to differentiate between correlating or causally relevant factors and constitutively relevant ones. Based on a typical research project molecular biology, a (...) flowchart model detailing typical stages in the formulation and testing of hypotheses about mechanistic components is also developed. (shrink)
By analysing the historical case of the proportionality between inertia and gravitation, it is possible to reconstruct one of the most relevant moments in the history of physics, that is to say, the one linked with Eötvös' experiments. At the same time, this reconstruction offers the opportunity to carry out philosophical considerations about the relationship between theory and experiment and about the concept of incommensurability.
In the first part of this paper, I will sketch the main features of traditional models of evidence, indicating idealizations in such models that I regard as doing more harm than good. I will then proceed to elaborate on an alternative model of evidence that is functionalist, complex, dynamic, and contextual, which I will call DYNAMIC EVIDENTIAL FUNCTIONALISM. I will demonstrate its application to an illuminating example of scientific inquiry, and defend it from some likely objections. In the second part, (...) I will use that alternative to solve a variety of classic and contemporary problems in the literature on scientific evidence having to do with the empirical basis of science and the use of evidence in public policy. (shrink)
In recent years, pragmatism in general and John Dewey in particular have been of increasing interest to philosophers of science. Dewey's work provides an interesting alternative package of views to those which derive from the logical empiricists and their critics, on problems of both traditional and more recent vintage. Dewey's work ought to be of special interest to recent philosophers of science committed to the program of analyzing ``science in practice.'' The core of Dewey's philosophy of science is his theory (...) of inquiry---what he called ``logic.'' There is a major lacuna in the literature on this point, however: no contemporary philosophers of science have engaged with Dewey's logical theory, and scholars of Dewey's logic have rarely made connections with philosophy of science. This paper aims to fill this gap, to correct some significant errors in the interpretation of key ideas in Dewey's logical theory, and to show how Dewey's logic provides resources for a philosophy of science. (shrink)
On the relation between experiment and thought experiment in the natural sciences. To understand the reciprocal autonomy and complementarity of thought and real experiment, it is necessary to distinguish between a ‘positive’ (empirical or formal) and a transcendental perspective. Empirically and formally, real and thought experiments are indistinguishable. However, from a reflexive-transcendental viewpoint thought experiment is at the same time irreducible and complementary to real experiment. This is due to the fact that the hypothetical-anticipatory moment is in principle irreducible to (...) physical reality—even though it refers to physical reality and is bound with the empirical use of our understanding. The presence of counterfactuals is the condition of the possibility for thought experiments to become in principle real ones, by means of a series of technical realisations that gradually approximate the idealisations that they contain. (shrink)
This paper addresses concerns raised recently by Datteri (Biol Philos 24:301–324, 2009) and Craver (Philos Sci 77(5):840–851, 2010) about the use of brain-extending prosthetics in experimental neuroscience. Since the operation of the implant induces plastic changes in neural circuits, it is reasonable to worry that operational knowledge of the hybrid system will not be an accurate basis for generalisation when modelling the unextended brain. I argue, however, that Datteri’s no-plasticity constraint unwittingly rules out numerous experimental paradigms in behavioural and systems (...) neuroscience which also elicit neural plasticity. Furthermore, I propose that Datteri and Craver’s arguments concerning the limitations of prosthetic modelling in basic neuroscience, as opposed to neuroengineering, rests on too narrow a view of the ways models in neuroscience should be evaluated, and that a more pluralist approach is needed. I distinguish organisational validity of models from mechanistic validity. I argue that while prosthetic models may be deficient in the latter of these explanatory virtues because of neuroplasticity, they excel in the former since organisational validity tracks the extent to which a model captures coding principles that are invariant with plasticity. Changing the brain, I conclude, is one viable route towards explaining the brain. (shrink)
This paper focuses on the empiricism/realism debate. The initial portion of the paper is a short sketch of the nature of the enterprise of philosophy of science. What are taken as empiricist views on theory construction and experiment are described. The paper concludes with a simple recasting of the main points at issue in the empiricism/realism debate.
In Experiment, Right or Wrong, Allan Franklin continues his investigation of the history and philosophy of experiment presented in his previous book, The Neglect of Experiment. In this new study, Franklin considers the fallibility and corrigibility of experimental results and presents detailed histories of two such episodes: 1) the experiment and the development of the theory of weak interactions from Fermi's theory in 1934 to the V-A theory of 1957 and 2) atomic parity violation experiments and the Weinberg-Salam unified theory (...) of electroweak interactions of the 1970s and 1980s. In these episodes Franklin demonstrates not only that experimental results can be wrong, but also that theoretical calculations and the comparison between experiment and theory can also be incorrect. In the second episode, Franklin contrasts his view of an "evidence model" of science in which questions of theory choice, confirmation, and refutation are decided on the basis of reliable experimental evidence, with that proposed by the social constructivists. (shrink)
Philosophers of experiment have acknowledged that experiments are often more than mere hypothesis-tests, once thought to be an experiment's exclusive calling. Drawing on examples from contemporary biology, I make an additional amendment to our understanding of experiment by examining the way that `wide' instrumentation can, for reasons of efficiency, lead scientists away from traditional hypothesis-directed methods of experimentation and towards exploratory methods.
Science is as much defined by the local “instrumentarium,” the equipment available to an experimenter at a particular time and place, as by its discoveries and theories. Instruments are devices for detecting and measuring natural phenomena, linked causally to those aspects of nature they are used to record. Some are inorganic, made of glass and metal, while others are organic, the bodies and body parts of living or once living plants and animals. In contrast, pieces of apparatus are quite different (...) in the ways in which they work. They too can be organic or inorganic, but their role is to model things, process, structures, and so on in the natural world. They are used to study natural processes by simulating them in a user-friendly way. Keeping the distinction between instruments and apparatus in mind is crucial to understanding the power of the experimental method. (shrink)
The most promising way to regard thought experiment is as a species of experiment, alongside concrete experiment. Of the authors who take this view, many portray thought experiment as possessing evidential significance intrinsically. In contrast, concrete experiment is nowadays most convincingly portrayed as acquiring evidential significance in a particular area of science at a particular time in consequence of the persuasive efforts of scientists. I argue that the claim that thought experiment possesses evidential significance intrinsically is contradicted by the history (...) of science. Thought experiment, like concrete experiment, has evidential significance only where particular assumptions--such as the Galilean doctrine of phenomena--are taken to hold; under alternative premises, in themselves equally defensible, thought experiment is evidentially inert. (shrink)
In the Fall of 1900, Frederick T. Trouton started work on an ingenious experiment in his laboratory at Trinity College in Dublin. The purpose of the experiment was to detect the earth’s presumed motion through the ether, the 19th century medium thought to carry light waves and electric and magnetic ﬁelds. The experiment was unusual in that, unlike most of these so-called ether drift experiments, it was not an experiment in optics. Trouton tried to detect ether drift by charging and (...) discharging a capacitor in a torsion pendulum at its resonance frequency, which he hoped would set the system oscillating. (shrink)
Cramer's Transactional Interpretation (TI) is applied to the ``Quantum Liar Experiment'' (QLE). It is shown how some apparently paradoxical features can be explained naturally, albeit nonlocally (since TI is an explicitly nonlocal interpretation). At the same time, it is proposed that in order to preserve the elegance and economy of the interpretation, it may be necessary to consider offer and confirmation waves as propagating in a ``higher space'' of possibilities.
A modified version of Young's experiment by Shahriar Afshar demonstrates that, prior to what appears to be a ``which-way'' measurement, an interference pattern exists. Afshar has claimed that this result constitutes a violation of the Principle of Complementarity. This paper discusses the implications of this experiment and considers how Cramer's Transactional Interpretation easily accomodates the result. It is also shown that the Afshar experiment is isomorphic in key respects to a spin one-half particle prepared as ``spin up along x'' and (...) post-selected in a specific state of spin along z. The terminology ``which way'' or ``which-slit'' is critiqued; it is argued that this usage by both Afshar and his critics is misleading and has contributed to confusion surrounding the interpretation of the experiment. Nevertheless, it is concluded that Bohr would have had no more problem accounting for the Afshar result than he would in accounting for the aforementioned pre- and post-selection spin experiment, in which the particle's preparation state is confirmed by a nondestructive measurement prior to post-selection. In addition, some new inferences about the interpretation of delayed choice experiments are drawn from the analysis. (shrink)
A modified version of Young's experiment by Shahriar Afshar demonstrates that, prior to a ``which-way'' measurement indicating which slit a particle goes through, an interference pattern exists. It has been claimed that this result constitutes a violation of the Principle of Complementarity. This paper discusses the implications of this experiment and considers how Cramer's Transactional Interpretation accomodates the result. It is shown that the Afshar experiment is isomorphic in key respects to a a spin one-half particle prepared as ``spin up (...) along x'' and post-selected in a specific state of spin along z. It is concluded that Bohr would have had no more problem accounting for the Afshar result than he would in accounting for the aforementioned pre- and post-selection spin experiment, in which the particle's preparation state is confirmed by a nondestructive measurement prior to post-selection. (shrink)
"This book . . . is everything a philosophical tome should be: timely, important, factually informed, responsive to the scholarly literature, analytical, scrupulously fair, and rigorously, vigorously argued. It is, if I may say so, a model specimen of practical ethics." Keith Burgess-Jackson Ethics and the Environment).
Biomedical researchers claim there is significant biomedical information about humans which can be discovered only through experiments on intact animal systems (AMA p. 2). Although epidemiological studies, computer simulations, clinical investigation, and cell and tissue cultures have become important weapons in the biomedical scientists' arsenal, these are primarily "adjuncts to the use of animals in research" (Sigma Xi p. 76). Controlled laboratory experiments are the core of the scientific enterprise. Biomedical researchers claim these should be conducted on intact biological systems, (...) whole animals. By observing the effects of various stimuli in non-human animals, we can form legitimate expectations about the likely effects of these stimuli in humans. Perhaps more importantly, we can understand the biomedical condition's causal mechanisms. (shrink)
Biomedical experimentation on animals is justified, researchers say, because of its enormous benefits to human being. Sure an imals die a nd suffer , but that is m orally insignificant since the benefits of research incalculably outweigh the evils. Although this utilitarian claim appears straightforward and uncontroversial, it is neither straightforw ard n ot uncontroversial. This defense of animal experimentation is like ly to succeed only by rejecting three widely held moral presumptions. W e identify those presumptions and explain their (...) relevance to the justification of animal experimentation. We argue that even if non-human animals have con side rable less moral worth than humans, experimentation is justified only if its benefits are overwhelming. By building on arguments offered in earlier papers, we show that research ers c ann ot substantiate their claims of behalf of animal research. We conclude that there is currently no acceptable utilitarian defense of animal experimentation. Moreover, it is unlikely that they could be one. Since most apologists of animal experimentation rely on utilitarian justifications of their practice, it appears that biomedical experimentation on animals is not morally justified. (shrink)
Claude Bernard, the father of scientific physiology, believed that if medicine was to become truly scientiifc, it would have to be based on rigorous and controlled animal experiments. Bernard instituted a paradigm which has shaped physiological practice for most of the twentieth century. ln this paper we examine how Bernards commitment to hypothetico-deductivism and determinism led to (a) his rejection of the theory of evolution; (b) his minima/ization of the role of clinical medicine and epidemiological studies; and (c) his conclusion (...) that experiments on nonhuman animals were, "entirely conclusive for the toxicology and hygiene of man". We examine some negative consequences of Bernardianism for twentieth century medicine, and argue that physio/ogy's continued adherence to Bernardianism has caused it to diverge from the other biological sciences which have become increasingly infused with evolutionary theory. (shrink)
Knowledge-making practices in biology are being strongly affected by the availability of data on an unprecedented scale, the insistence on systemic approaches and growing reliance on bioinformatics and digital infrastructures. What role does theory play within data-intensive science, and what does that tell us about scientific theories in general? To answer these questions, I focus on Open Biomedical Ontologies, digital classification tools that have become crucial to sharing results across research contexts in the biological and biomedical sciences, and argue that (...) they constitute an example of classificatory theory. This form of theorizing emerges from classification practices in conjunction with experimental know-how and expresses the knowledge underpinning the analysis and interpretation of data disseminated online. (shrink)
First half of book presents fundamental mathematical definitions, concepts and facts while remaining half deals with statistics primarily as an interpretive tool. Well-written text, numerous worked examples with step-by-step presentation. 116 tables.
: Understanding Helmholtz's philosophy of science requires attention to his experimental practice. I sketch out such a project by showing how experiment shapes his theory of perception in three ways. One, the theory emerged out of empirical and experimental research. Two, the concept of experiment fills a critical conceptual gap in his theory of perception. Experiment functions not merely as a scientific technique, but also as a general epistemological strategy. Three, Helmholtz's experimental practice provides essential clues to the interpretation of (...) his theory of perception. A case study from experimental investigation of hearing shows how he designed such studies in accordance with the epistemological commitments of the theory of perception. Yet, while the theory was important to his experiments, the soundness of the experimental strategy was epistemically independent of those commitments. Secondly, the case study illustrates how Helmholtz consistently held that causal inferences underwrite reference to a real, but indirectly experienced external world. (shrink)
A comparison of models and experiments supports the argument that although both function as mediators and can be understood to work in an experimental mode, experiments offer greater epistemic power than models as a means to investigate the economic world. This outcome rests on the distinction that whereas experiments are versions of the real world captured within an artificial laboratory environment, models are artificial worlds built to represent the real world. This difference in ontology has epistemic consequences: experiments have greater (...) potential to make strong inferences back to the world, but also have the power to isolate new phenomena. This latter power is manifest in the possibility that whereas working with models may lead to ?surprise?, experimental results may be unexplainable within existing theory and so ?confound? the experimenter. (shrink)
The problem of the irreversibility’s origin in thermodynamic processes occupies a distinguished place among many and lasting attempts by researchers to derive irreversibility from molecular-mechanical principles. However, this problem is still open and no universally accepted solution may be given during any course. In this paper, I shall try to show that the examining of Maxwell’s demon thought experiment may provide insight into the difficulties that emerge, looking for this origin because: (i) it is connected with the notion of irreversibility, (...) and (ii) one of its functions is that of the “reversibility objection.” In order to illustrate this point, I study Boltzmann’s approach to the problem of a molecular-mechanical interpretation of irreversibility and I show that an auxiliary assumption (the selected direction of time) is responsible for producing irreversibility. But this result is accordant with the predictions of Maxwell’s demon thought experiment: the assumptions of this kind are not dictated by molecular-mechanical principles but are separate input in the model-systems used. (shrink)
Practical realism is focused on the problem of how science really works. In the case of physics and chemistry, experiment is the centrepiece of scientific practice. The rapid development of contemporary natural science does not leave the experiment unaffected. The classical experiment is normally applied only to systems that can be considered structurally stable, repeatability being the key feature. After the introduction of the theoretical basis of irreversibility by Ilya Prigogine the essence of the experiment changed. The strict requirement of (...) repeatability has to be dropped. It will be discussed, whether the change is big enough for calling it revolutionary. There are means to update the understanding of the experiment by applying the experimental settings. The material experiment will probably be with us forever but its position on the scientific landscape will be shifted. (shrink)
This article assesses two major conceptual arguments against theories of choice.The first argument concerns the circularity of belief-desire psychology, on which decision theory is based. The second argument concerns the normativity arising from the concept of rationality. Each argument is evaluated against experimental practice in economics and psychology, and it is concluded that both arguments fail to establish their skeptical conclusion that there can be no science of intentional human actions.
Summary In several places Popper describes a little experiment in which an audience is given the non-specific command âObserve!â He draws a number of conclusions from this experiment, in particular that observation takes place in the presence of theoretical problems, questions, hypotheses or points of view. The paper argues that while Popper's experiment is instructive, it hardly supports the strong conclusions he draws about the theory-dominance of observation in science. In particular, it is argued that talk of principles of selection (...) which guide us to relevant observations, rather than the host of irrelevant observations of the naive inductivist, is misleading. Rather, it is the goals, aims, motives or interests of an observer that guide observation and these need not always involve a theoretical component. (shrink)
At the age of sixteen, Einstein imagined chasing after a beam of light. He later recalled that the thought experiment had played a memorable role in his development of special relativity. Famous as it is, it has proven difficult to understand just how the thought experiment delivers its results. It fails to generate problems for an ether-based electrodynamics. I propose that Einstein’s canonical statement of the thought experiment from his 1946 “Autobiographical Notes,” makes most sense not as an argument against (...) ether-based electrodynamics, but as an argument against “emission” theories of light. (shrink)
I examine the role of inference from experiment in theory building. What are the options open to the scientific community when faced with an experimental result that appears to be in conflict with accepted theory? I distinguish, in Laudan's (1977), Nickels's (1981), and Franklin's (1993) sense, between the context of pursuit and the context of justification of a scientific theory. Making this distinction allows for a productive middle position between epistemic realism and constructivism. The decision to pursue a new or (...) a revised theory in response to the new evidence may not be fully rationally determined. Nonetheless, it is possible to distinguish the question of whether there is reason to pursue a theory from the question of whether that theory, once it has been pursued over time, solves a problem of interest to science. I argue that, in this context, there is a solid way to distinguish between the contexts of pursuit and of justification, on the basis of a theory's evidential support and problem-solving ability. (shrink)
Experiments may not reveal their full import at the time that they are performed. The scientists who perform them usually are testing a specific hypothesis and quite often have specific expectations limiting the possible inferences that can be drawn from the experiment. Nonetheless, as Hacking has said, experiments have lives of their own. Those lives do not end with the initial report of the results and consequences of the experiment. Going back and rethinking the consequences of the experiment in a (...) new context, theoretical or empirical, has great merit as a strategy for investigation and for scientific problem analysis. I apply this analysis to the interplay between Fizeau's classic optical experiments and the building of special relativity. Einstein's understanding of the problems facing classical electrodynamics and optics, in part, was informed by Fizeau's 1851 experiments. However, between 1851 and 1905, Fizeau's experiments were duplicated and reinterpreted by a succession of scientists, including Hertz, Lorentz, and Michelson. Einstein's analysis of the consequences of the experiments is tied closely to this theoretical and experimental tradition. However, Einstein's own inferences from the experiments differ greatly from the inferences drawn by others in that tradition. (shrink)
It is sometimes said that simulation can serve as epistemic substitute for experimentation. Such a claim might be suggested by the fast-spreading use of computer simulation to investigate phenomena not accessible to experimentation (in astrophysics, ecology, economics, climatology, etc.). But what does that mean? The paper starts with a clarification of the terms of the issue and then focuses on two powerful arguments for the view that simulation and experimentation are ‘epistemically on a par’. One is based on the claim (...) that, in experimentation, no less than in simulation, it is not the system under study that is manipulated but a system that ‘stands-in’ for it. The other one highlights the pervasive use of models in experimentation. It will be argued that these arguments, as compelling as they might seem, are each based on a mistaken interpretation of experimentation and that, far from simulation and experimentation being epistemically on a par, they do not have the same epistemic function, do not produce the same kind of epistemic results. (shrink)
Making sense of modeling: beyond representation Content Type Journal Article Category Original paper in Philosophy of Science Pages 335-352 DOI 10.1007/s13194-011-0032-8 Authors Isabelle Peschard, Philosophy Department, San Francisco State University, 1600 Holloway Ave, San Francisco, CA 94132, USA Journal European Journal for Philosophy of Science Online ISSN 1879-4920 Print ISSN 1879-4912 Journal Volume Volume 1 Journal Issue Volume 1, Number 3.