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General Philosophy of Science

Assistant editor: Justin Bzovy (University of Western Ontario)
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  1. added 2015-03-04
    Robert J. O'Hara (1997). Population Thinking and Tree Thinking in Systematics. Zoologica Scripta 26 (4): 323–329.
    Two new modes of thinking have spread through systematics in the twentieth century. Both have deep historical roots, but they have been widely accepted only during this century. Population thinking overtook the field in the early part of the century, culminating in the full development of population systematics in the 1930s and 1940s, and the subsequent growth of the entire field of population biology. Population thinking rejects the idea that each species has a natural type (as the earlier essentialist view (...)
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  2. added 2015-03-04
    Robert J. O'Hara (1993). Systematic Generalization, Historical Fate, and the Species Problem. Systematic Biology 42 (3): 231–246.
    The species problem is one of the oldest controversies in natural history. Its persistence suggests that it is something more than a problem of fact or definition. Considerable light is shed on the species problem when it is viewed as a problem in the representation of the natural system (sensu Griffiths, 1974, Acta Biotheor. 23: 85–131; de Queiroz, 1998, Philos. Sci. 55: 238–259). Just as maps are representations of the earth, and are subject to what is called cartographic generalization, so (...)
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  3. added 2015-03-04
    Robert J. O'Hara (1993). Review of Atran's 'Cognitive Foundations of Natural History: Towards an Anthropology of Science'. [REVIEW] Forest and Conservation History 37 (1): 43.
  4. added 2015-03-03
    Cynthia Passmore, Julia Svoboda Gouvea & Ronald Giere (2014). Models in Science and in Learning Science: Focusing Scientific Practice on Sense-Making. In Michael R. Matthews (ed.), International Handbook of Research in History, Philosophy and Science Teaching. Springer. 1171-1202.
    The central aim of science is to make sense of the world. To move forward as a community endeavor, sense-making must be systematic and focused. The question then is how do scientists actually experience the sense-making process? In this chapter we examine the “practice turn” in science studies and in particular how as a result of this turn scholars have come to realize that models are the “functional unit” of scientific thought and form the center of the reasoning/sense-making process. This (...)
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  5. added 2015-03-03
    Walter Feinberg (2012). Critical Pragmatist and the Reconnection of Science and Values in Educational Research. European Journal of Pragmatism and American Philosophy 4:222-240.
    Randomized field experiments, which in the United States has been proposed as the gold standard of educational research, is dismissed by some critics as "positivistic". Although this dismissal over identifies positivism with a specific research method, the larger point is accurate: the "gold standard" is often insensitive to local situations and human value and philosophical positivism supports and en-courages this insensitivity. In this paper I examine the way positivism is limited in terms of its understanding of the role of values (...)
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  6. added 2015-03-03
    Heather Douglas (2004). Science, Values, and Objectivity. University of Pittsburgh Press.
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  7. added 2015-03-03
    David Stump (2002). From the Values of Scientific Philosophy to the Value Neutrality of the Philosophy of Science. Vienna Circle Institute Yearbook 9:147-158.
    Members of the Vienna Circle played a pivotal role in defining the work that came to be known as the philosophy of science, yet the Vienna Circle itself is now known to have had much broader concerns and to have been more rooted in philosophical tradition than was once thought. Like current and past philosophers of science, members of the Vienna Circle took science as the object of philosophical reflection but they also endeavored to render philosophy in general compatible with (...)
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  8. added 2015-03-03
    Roberto de Andrade Martins (2001). Intrinsic Values in Science. Revista Patagónica de Filosofía 2 (2):5-25.
    In the early 20th century, science was supposed to be “value free”. In 1953 Richard Rudner claimed that “the scientist qua scientist makes value judgments”, and later philosophers discussed the relations between science and values. From the 60’s onward Michael Scriven and other authors came to the conclusion that non-moral values (intrinsic or epistemic values) are required to evaluate scientific works. This paper supports this general view. However, it stresses that there are several independent scientific values, corresponding to a multi-dimensional (...)
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  9. added 2015-03-03
    Valeriano Iranzo (1995). Epistemic Values in Science. Sorites 1:81-95.
    The paper is a critical examination of some aspects of Laudan's views in his book Science and Values. Not only do the aims of science change; there are axiological disputes in science as well. Scientific disagreements are not solely theoretical or methodological. Progress in science consists not only in developing new theories more suitable for implementing certain epistemic values than earlier ones but also in reaching a deeper understanding of those values. The paper considers whether there are principles to guide (...)
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  10. added 2015-03-02
    Jeff Kochan (2015). Reason, Emotion, and the Context Distinction. Philosophia Scientiae 19 (1):35-43.
    Recent empirical and philosophical research challenges the view that reason and emotion necessarily conflict with one another. Philosophers of science have, however, been slow in responding to this research. I argue that they continue to exclude emotion from their models of scientific reasoning because they typically see emotion as belonging to the context of discovery rather than of justification. I suggest, however, that recent work in epistemology challenges the authority usually granted the context distinction, taking reliabilism as my example. Emotion (...)
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  11. added 2015-03-02
    Kristen K. Intemann (2004). Should Science Be Value-Free? Rethinking the Role of Ethical and Political Values in the Justification of Scientific Theories. Dissertation, University of Washington
    It is often claimed that science should be "value-free in that ethical, political, and social values have no legitimate role in the justification of scientific theories. Although such values may influence which hypotheses are pursued, or whether some application of scientific theories is desirable, they play no legitimate role in scientific reasoning. ;I argue against the view that all science ought to be value-free. Examining a range of cases from biology, epidemiology, pathology, and atmospheric sciences I show that ethical and (...)
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  12. added 2015-03-02
    Catherine Hundleby (2001). Feminist Standpoint Theory as a Form of Naturalist Epistemology. Dissertation, The University of Western Ontario (Canada)
    In this dissertation I argue that naturalist epistemology would benefit if it were recognized to include feminist standpoint theory, a theory of knowledge that is based on the feminist critiques of science. Naturalists such as W. O. Quine argue that normative epistemology can be developed on the basis of science. However, they have mostly rested content with descriptions of how knowledge seems to work. Naturalists need to evaluate our epistemic practices against competing alternatives if they are to justify our knowledge (...)
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  13. added 2015-03-01
    Robert J. O'Hara (2006). Essay-Review of Christian's 'Maps of Time: An Introduction to Big History'. [REVIEW] International Studies in the Philosophy of Science 20 (1): 117–120.
  14. added 2015-02-28
    K. Brad Wray & Lutz Bornmann (2015). Philosophy of Science Viewed Through the Lense of “Referenced Publication Years Spectroscopy” (RPYS). Scientometrics 102 (3):1987-1996.
    We examine the sub-field of philosophy of science using a new method developed in information science, Referenced Publication Years Spectroscopy (RPYS). RPYS allows us to identify peak years in citations in a field, which promises to help scholars identify the key contributions to a field, and revolutionary discoveries in a field. We discovered that philosophy of science, a sub-field in the humanities, differs significantly from other fields examined with this method. Books play a more important role in philosophy of science (...)
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  15. added 2015-02-28
    Robert J. O'Hara (2007). Essay-Review of Valentine's 'On the Origin of Phyla'. [REVIEW] International Studies in the Philosophy of Science 21 (1): 109–112.
  16. added 2015-02-28
    K. Brad Wray (1997). The Role of Community in Inquiry: A Philosophical Study. Dissertation, The University of Western Ontario (Canada)
    I examine a number of recent challenges to traditional individualist epistemologies. In chapter I, I examine Margaret Gilbert's claim that certain types of communities, "plural subjects," are capable of having what she calls "collective beliefs." In chapter II, I examine Lynn Hankinson Nelson's claim that communities, and not individuals, are the primary epistemological agents. In chapter III, I examine Miriam Solomon's claim that scientific rationality is a property of communities, not individuals. In chapter IV, I examine Richard Rorty's claim that (...)
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  17. added 2015-02-28
    Robert J. O'Hara (1996). Trees of History in Systematics and Philology. Memorie Della Società Italiana di Scienze Naturali E Del Museo Civico di Storia Naturale di Milano 27 (1): 81–88.
    "The Natural System" is the name given to the underlying arrangement present in the diversity of life. Unlike a classification, which is made up of classes and members, a system or arrangement is an integrated whole made up of connected parts. In the pre-evolutionary period a variety of forms were proposed for the Natural System, including maps, circles, stars, and abstract multidimensional objects. The trees sketched by Darwin in the 1830s should probably be considered the first genuine evolutionary diagrams of (...)
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  18. added 2015-02-28
    Robert J. O'Hara (1996). Mapping the Space of Time: Temporal Representation in the Historical Sciences. Memoirs of the California Academy of Sciences 20: 7–17.
    William Whewell (1794–1866), polymathic Victorian scientist, philosopher, historian, and educator, was one of the great neologists of the nineteenth century. Although Whewell's name is little remembered today except by professional historians and philosophers of science, researchers in many scientific fields work each day in a world that Whewell named. "Miocene" and "Pliocene," "uniformitarian" and "catastrophist," "anode" and "cathode," even the word "scientist" itself—all of these were Whewell coinages. Whewell is particularly important to students of the historical sciences for another word (...)
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  19. added 2015-02-28
    Robert J. O'Hara (1994). Evolutionary History and the Species Problem. American Zoologist 34 (1): 12–22.
    In the last thirty years systematics has transformed itself from a discipline concerned with classification into a discipline concerned with reconstructing the evolutionary history of life. This transformation has been driven by cladistic analysis, a set of techniques for reconstructing evolutionary trees. Long interested in the large-scale structure of evolutionary history, cladistically oriented systematists have recently begun to apply "tree thinking" to problems near the species level. ¶ In any local ("non-dimensional") situation species are usually well-defined, but across space and (...)
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  20. added 2015-02-28
    Robert J. O'Hara (1989). Systematics and the Study of Natural History, with an Estimate of the Phylogeny of the Living Penguins. Dissertation, Harvard University
    Chapter 1. Evolutionary biology is an historical science, and should be considered within the context of the philosophy of history, not the philosophy of science. Just as philosophers of history distinguish between chronicle and narrative history, I distinguish between evolutionary chronicle and narrative evolutionary history. Systematics estimates the evolutionary chronicle. Explanations of the events in the evolutionary chronicle are of the how-possibly, continuous series, and integrating types described by philosophers of history. Pre-evolutionary explanations of states are still widespread in "evolutionary" (...)
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  21. added 2015-02-28
    Robert J. O'Hara (1988). Diagrammatic Classifications of Birds, 1819–1901: Views of the Natural System in 19th-Century British Ornithology. Acta XIX Congressus Internationalis Ornithologici: pp. 2746–2759.
    Classifications of animals and plants have long been represented by hierarchical lists of taxa, but occasional authors have drawn diagrammatic versions of their classifications in an attempt to better depict the "natural relationships" of their organisms. Ornithologists in 19th-century Britain produced and pioneered many types of classificatory diagrams, and these fall into three groups: (a) the quinarian systems of Vigors and Swainson (1820s and 1830s); (b) the "maps" of Strickland and Wallace (1840s and 1850s); and (c) the evolutionary diagrams of (...)
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  22. added 2015-02-28
    Robert J. O'Hara (1988). Homage to Clio, or, Toward an Historical Philosophy for Evolutionary Biology. Systematic Zoology 37 (2): 142–155.
    Discussions of the theory and practice of systematics and evolutionary biology have heretofore revolved around the views of philosophers of science. I reexamine these issues from the different perspective of the philosophy of history. Just as philosophers of history distinguish between chronicle (non-interpretive or non-explanatory writing) and narrative history (interpretive or explanatory writing), I distinguish between evolutionary chronicle (cladograms, broadly construed) and narrative evolutionary history. Systematics is the discipline which estimates the evolutionary chronicle. ¶ Explanations of the events described in (...)
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  23. added 2015-02-25
    Jacqueline Anne Sullivan (forthcoming). Neuroscientific Kinds Through the Lens of Scientific Practice. In Catherine Kendig (ed.), Natural Kinds and Classification in Scientific Practice. Pickering and Chatto.
    In this chapter, I argue that scientific practice in the neurosciences of cognition is not conducive to the discovery of natural kinds of cognitive capacities. The “neurosciences of cognition” include cognitive neuroscience and cognitive neurobiology, two research areas that aim to understand how the brain gives rise to cognition and behavior. Some philosophers of neuroscience have claimed that explanatory progress in these research areas ultimately will result in the discovery of the underlying mechanisms of cognitive capacities. Once such mechanistic understanding (...)
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  24. added 2015-02-25
    Jeff Kochan (2015). Putting a Spin on Circulating Reference, or How to Rediscover the Scientific Subject. Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 49:103-107.
    Bruno Latour claims to have shown that a Kantian model of knowledge, which he describes as seeking to unite a disembodied transcendental subject with an inaccessible thing-in-itself, is dramatically falsified by empirical studies of science in action. Instead, Latour puts central emphasis on scientific practice, and replaces this Kantian model with a model of “circulating reference.” Unfortunately, Latour's alternative schematic leaves out the scientific subject. I repair this oversight through a simple mechanical procedure. By putting a slight spin on Latour's (...)
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  25. added 2015-02-24
    Raymond Aaron Younis (1995). Of Problematology: Philosophy Science and Language. [REVIEW] Metascience (8).
  26. added 2015-02-19
    Raymond Aaron Younis (2010). Science Religion and the Limits of Reason. Forum Philosophicum: International Journal for Philosophy 15 (2):317-335.
  27. added 2015-02-19
    Raymond Aaron Younis (1998). Shattering the Mirror of Nature. [REVIEW] Metascience 7 (1):216-221.
  28. added 2015-02-19
    Raymond Aaron Younis (1996). Demythologising, Deconstruction, Scientia and Logos. In Michael Griffith James Tulip (ed.), Religion Literature and the Arts. RLA Project. 111-120.
  29. added 2015-02-19
    Raymond Aaron Younis (1995). Scientific and Religious Belief. [REVIEW] Metascience (8):142-147.
  30. added 2015-02-12
    David-Rus (2012). SCIENTIFIC UNDERSTANDING-VIEWS FROM PHILOSOPHY OF SCIENCE. Revue Roumaine de Philosophie 56 (2).
    Scientific understanding was a rather neglected topic in philosophy of science, despite its association with the well-known explanation subject. The classical position on explanation considered an approach on understanding to be redundant on one on explanation. Besides, the dominant view promoted by the unificationist approach on explanation conceived understanding as a “global affair”, as Friedman called it, of scientific knowledge. The recent developments in philosophy of science redirected the research to more local aspects of science and scientific inquiry. This new (...)
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  31. added 2015-02-12
    David-rus (2012). Explaining by Using Artificial Societies. European Journal of Science and Theology 8 (3).
    Computational models have an increasing impact in social and historical sciences. In this paper, I will focus on a specific type of modelling developed in computational social sciences, an agent-based model. My inquiry will aim to identify the sort of explanatory virtues that such a model could have. I will discuss the suggested possibility of causal explanations but also the recent proposal advanced by Grüne-Yanoff that sees them as potential functional explanations. In the last part I shall make some suggestions (...)
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  32. added 2015-02-07
    Gerhard Schurz & Alexander Gebharter (forthcoming). Causality as a Theoretical Concept: Explanatory Warrant and Empirical Content of the Theory of Causal Nets. Synthese:1-31.
    We start this paper by arguing that causality should, in analogy with force in Newtonian physics, be understood as a theoretical concept that is not explicated by a single definition, but by the axioms of a theory. Such an understanding of causality implicitly underlies the well-known theory of causal nets and has been explicitly promoted by Glymour . In this paper we investigate the explanatory warrant and empirical content of TCN. We sketch how the assumption of directed cause–effect relations can (...)
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  33. added 2015-02-06
    Niccolo Guicciardini (2007). Tercentennial Studies. [REVIEW] Early Science and Medicine 12 (2):238-239.
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  34. added 2015-02-06
    Paolo Mancosu (1999). Reasoning with the Infinite. From the Closed World to the Mathematical Universe. [REVIEW] Early Science and Medicine 4 (4):365-366.
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  35. added 2015-02-06
    Cees Leijenhorst (1999). Natural Philosophy in Late Aristotelian and Cartesian Thought. [REVIEW] Early Science and Medicine 4 (1):94-96.
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  36. added 2015-02-06
    R. Sharples (1999). The Order of Nature in Aristolle's Physics: Place and the Elements. [REVIEW] Early Science and Medicine 4 (4):359-360.
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  37. added 2015-02-06
    Edward Grant (1999). Raum Und Raumvorstellungen Im Mittelalter. [REVIEW] Early Science and Medicine 4 (1):91-93.
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  38. added 2015-02-06
    James Voelkel (1999). Kepler's Tiibingen: Stimulus To A Theological Mathematics. [REVIEW] Early Science and Medicine 4 (3):262-263.
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  39. added 2015-02-06
    Cees Leijenhorst (1998). Method and Order in Renaissance Philosophy of Nature. The Aristotle Commentary Tradition. [REVIEW] Early Science and Medicine 3 (3):261-262.
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  40. added 2015-02-06
    Elizabeth Williams (1998). The Medical World of Early Modern France. [REVIEW] Early Science and Medicine 3 (4):349-351.
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  41. added 2015-02-05
    Peter Bowler (2013). A Cultural History Of Heredity. [REVIEW] Isis 104:412-412.
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  42. added 2015-02-05
    William Thomas (2012). A Short History Of Physics In The American Century. [REVIEW] Isis 103:614-615.
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  43. added 2015-02-05
    Jutta Schickore (2011). N. R. Hanson: Observation, Discovery, And Scientific Change. [REVIEW] Isis 102:593-594.
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  44. added 2015-02-05
    Maurice Finocchiaro (2010). I Documenti Vaticani Del Processo Di Galileo Galilei. [REVIEW] Isis 101:652-653.
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  45. added 2015-02-05
    Roger Hahn (2010). L'enquête Du Régent 1716–1718: Sciences, Techniques Et Politique Dans La France Pré‐Industrielle. [REVIEW] Isis 101:427-428.
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  46. added 2015-02-05
    Alfred Tauber (2010). A History Of Immunologya Body Worth Defending: Immunity, Biopolitics, And The Apotheosis Of The Modern Body. [REVIEW] Isis 101:636-637.
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  47. added 2015-02-05
    Helge Kragh (2010). A History Of Physical Theories Of Comets, From Aristotle To Whipple. [REVIEW] Isis 101:195-196.
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  48. added 2015-02-05
    Eric Schliesser (2009). A Treatise Of Human Nature: A Critical Edition. [REVIEW] Isis 100:442-444.
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  49. added 2015-02-05
    Peter Bowler (2009). H. G. Bronn, Ernst Haeckel, And The Origins Of German Darwinism: A Study In Translation And Transformation. [REVIEW] Isis 100:671-672.
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  50. added 2015-02-05
    Dimitris Papayannakos & Stathis Psillos (2009). A Metaphysics For Scientific Realism: Knowing The Unobservable. [REVIEW] Isis 100:204-205.
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