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General Philosophy of Science

Edited by Howard Sankey (University of Melbourne)
Assistant editor: Filippos Anastasios Papagiannopoulos (University of Western Ontario)
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  1. added 2016-12-02
    Zachary Piso, Michael O'Rourke & Kathleen C. Weathers (2016). Out of the Fog: Catalyzing Integrative Capacity in Interdisciplinary Research. Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 56:84-94.
    Social studies of interdisciplinary science investigate how scientific collaborations approach complex challenges that require multiple disciplinary perspectives. In order for collaborators to meet these complex challenges, interdisciplinary collaborations must develop and maintain integrative capacity, understood as the ability to anticipate and weigh tradeoffs in the employment of different disciplinary approaches. Here we provide an account of how one group of interdisciplinary fog scientists intentionally catalyzed integrative capacity. Through conversation, collaborators negotiated their commitments regarding the ontology of fog systems and the (...)
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  2. added 2016-11-30
    John Earman (1984). Laws of Nature: The Empiricist Challenge. In Radu J. Bogdan (ed.), D.M. Armstrong, Volume 4 of the series Profiles. Springer Netherlands 191-223.
    Hume defined ‘cause’ three times over. The two principal definitions (constant conjunction, felt determination) provide the anchors for the two main strands of the modem empiricist accounts of laws of nature 1 while the third (the counter factual definition 2) may be seen as the inspiration of the nonHumean necessitarian analyses. Corresponding to the felt determination definition is the account of laws that emphasizes human attitudes, beliefs, and actions. Latter day weavers of this strand include Nelson Goodman, A. J. Ayer, (...)
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  3. added 2016-11-28
    Martin Pickave (2016). Neil Lewis and Rega Wood, Eds., In Aristotelis De Generatione Et Corruptione. [REVIEW] Hopos: The Journal of the International Society for the History of Philosophy of Science 6 (1):181-184.
  4. added 2016-11-28
    Kent Staley & Heraclio Tavares (2016). Allan Franklin, Shifting Standards: Experiments in Particle Physics in the Twentieth Century. [REVIEW] Hopos: The Journal of the International Society for the History of Philosophy of Science 6 (1):158-162.
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  5. added 2016-11-27
    Emanuele Ratti (2016). The End of 'Small Biology'? Some Thoughts About Biomedicine and Big Science. Big Data and Society:1-6.
    In biology—as in other scientific fields—there is a lively opposition between big and small science projects. In this commentary, I try to contextualize this opposition in the field of biomedicine, and I argue that, at least in this context, big science projects should come first.
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  6. added 2016-11-23
    Kerry McKenzie (2016). Looking Forward, Not Back: Supporting Structuralism in the Present. Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 59:87-95.
    The view that the fundamental kind properties are intrinsic properties enjoys reflexive endorsement by most metaphysicians of science. But ontic structural realists deny that there are any fundamental intrinsic properties at all. Given that structuralists distrust intuition as a guide to truth, and given that we currently lack a fundamental physical theory that we could consult instead to order settle the issue, it might seem as if there is simply nowhere for this debate to go at present. However, I will (...)
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  7. added 2016-11-16
    Christoph Baumberger, Claus Beisbart & Georg Brun (2017). What is Understanding? An Overview of Recent Debates in Epistemology and Philosophy of Science. In Stephen Grimm Christoph Baumberger & Sabine Ammon (eds.), Explaining Understanding: New Perspectives from Epistemolgy and Philosophy of Science. Routledge 1-34.
    The paper provides a systematic overview of recent debates in epistemology and philosophy of science on the nature of understanding. We explain why philosophers have turned their attention to understanding and discuss conditions for “explanatory” understanding of why something is the case and for “objectual” understanding of a whole subject matter. The most debated conditions for these types of understanding roughly resemble the three traditional conditions for knowledge: truth, justification and belief. We discuss prominent views about how to construe these (...)
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  8. added 2016-11-12
    Daniel J. McKaughan (forthcoming). Science and Stance Refinement From Within a Tradition: Common Sense Realism, Empiricism, Physicalism, and Undogmatic Faith. In Joseph Famerée & Paulo Rodrigues (eds.), The Genesis of Concepts and the Confrontation of Rationalities. Peeters
  9. added 2016-11-11
    Felipe Romero (forthcoming). Can the Behavioral Sciences Self-Correct? A Social Epistemic Study. Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A.
    Advocates of the self-corrective thesis argue that scientific method will refute false theories and find closer approximations to the truth in the long run. I discuss a contemporary interpretation of this thesis in terms of frequentist statistics in the context of the behavioral sciences. First, I identify experimental replications and systematic aggregation of evidence (meta-analysis) as the self-corrective mechanism. Then, I present a computer simulation study of scientific communities that implement this mechanism to argue that frequentist statistics may converge upon (...)
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  10. added 2016-11-11
    Felipe Romero (forthcoming). Can the Behavioral Sciences Self-Correct? A Social Epistemic Study. Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A.
    Advocates of the self-corrective thesis argue that scientific method will refute false theories and find closer approximations to the truth in the long run. I discuss a contemporary interpretation of this thesis in terms of frequentist statistics in the context of the behavioral sciences. First, I identify experimental replications and systematic aggregation of evidence (meta-analysis) as the self-corrective mechanism. Then, I present a computer simulation study of scientific communities that implement this mechanism to argue that frequentist statistics may converge upon (...)
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  11. added 2016-11-10
    Robert Luk (forthcoming). On the Implications and Extensions of Luk’s Theory and Model of Scientific Study. Foundations of Science:1-16.
    Recently, Luk tried to establish a model and a theory of scientific studies. He focused on articulating the theory and the model, but he did not emphasize relating them to some issues in philosophy of science. In addition, they might explain some of the issues in philosophy of science, but such explanation is not articulated in his papers. This paper explores the implications and extensions of Luk’s work in philosophy of science or science in general.
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  12. added 2016-11-04
    Robert Smithson (forthcoming). Newman's Objection and the No Miracles Argument. Erkenntnis.
    Structural realists claim that we should endorse only what our scientific theories say about the structure of the unobservable world. But according to Newman’s Objection, the structural realist's claims about unobservables are trivially true. In recent years, many theorists have offered responses to Newman’s Objection. But a common complaint is that these responses “give up the spirit” of the structural realist position. In this paper, I argue that the simplest way to respond to Newman's Objection is to return to the (...)
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  13. added 2016-11-01
    Maria Kronfeldner (2015). Reconstituting Phenomena. In Mäki U., Votsis S., Ruphy S. & Schurz G. (eds.), Recent developments in the philosophy of science. Springer 169-182.
    In the face of causal complexity, scientists reconstitute phenomena in order to arrive at a more simplified and partial picture that ignores most of the 'bigger picture.' This paper will distinguish between two modes of reconstituting phenomena: one moving down to a level of greater decomposition (toward organizational parts of the original phenomenon), and one moving up to a level of greater abstraction (toward different differences regarding the phenomenon). The first aim of the paper is to illustrate that phenomena are (...)
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  14. added 2016-11-01
    Maria Kronfeldner (2014). How Norms Make Causes. International Journal of Epidemiology 43:1707–1713.
    This paper is on the problem of causal selection and comments on Collingwood's classic paper "The so-called idea of causation". It discusses the relevance of Collingwood’s control principle in contemporary life sciences and defends that it is not the ability to control, but the willingness to control that often biases us towards some rather than other causes of a phenomenon. Willingness to control is certainly only one principle that influences causal selection, but it is an important one. It shows how (...)
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  15. added 2016-10-28
    Remco Heesen (forthcoming). Academic Superstars: Competent or Lucky? Synthese:1-20.
    I show that the social stratification of academic science can arise as a result of academics’ preference for reading work of high epistemic value. This is consistent with a view on which academic superstars are highly competent academics, but also with a view on which superstars arise primarily due to luck. I argue that stratification is beneficial if most superstars are competent, but not if most superstars are lucky. I also argue that it is impossible to tell whether most superstars (...)
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  16. added 2016-10-28
    Roberto Fumagalli (forthcoming). On the Neural Enrichment of Economic Models: Recasting the Challenge. Biology and Philosophy:1-20.
    In a recent article in this Journal, Fumagalli argues that economists are provisionally justified in resisting prominent calls to integrate neural variables into economic models of choice. In other articles, various authors engage with Fumagalli’s argument and try to substantiate three often-made claims concerning neuroeconomic modelling. First, the benefits derivable from neurally informing some economic models of choice do not involve significant tractability costs. Second, neuroeconomic modelling is best understood within Marr’s three-level of analysis framework for information-processing systems. And third, (...)
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  17. added 2016-10-28
    Alexander Gebharter (2016). Uncovering Constitutive Relevance Relations in Mechanisms. Philosophical Studies.
    In this paper I argue that constitutive relevance relations in mechanisms behave like a special kind of causal relation in at least one important respect: Under suitable circumstances constitutive relevance relations produce the Markov factorization. Based on this observation one may wonder whether standard methods for causal discovery could be fruitfully applied to uncover constitutive relevance relations. This paper is intended as a first step into this new area of philosophical research. I investigate to what extent the PC algorithm, originally (...)
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  18. added 2016-10-28
    Daniel Kostic (2016). The Topological Realization. Synthese 1:1-24.
    In this paper, I argue that the newly developed network approach in neuroscience and biology provides a basis for formulating a unique type of realization, which I call topological realization. Some of its features and its relation to one of the dominant paradigms of realization and explanation in sciences, i.e. the mechanistic one, are already being discussed in the literature. But the detailed features of topological realization, its explanatory power and its relation to another prominent view of realization, namely the (...)
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  19. added 2016-10-26
    David Löwenstein (forthcoming). A Uniform Account of Regress Problems. Acta Analytica:1-22.
    This paper presents a uniform general account of regress problems in the form of a pentalemma—i.e., a set of five mutually inconsistent claims. Specific regress problems can be analyzed as instances of such a general schema, and this Regress Pentalemma Schema can be employed to generate deductively valid arguments from the truth of a subset of four claims to the falsity of the fifth. Thus, a uniform account of the nature of regress problems allows for an improved understanding of specific (...)
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  20. added 2016-10-25
    Alexander Reutlinger (forthcoming). Explanation Beyond Causation? New Directions in the Philosophy of Scientific Explanation. Philosophy Compass.
    In this paper, I aim to provide access to the current debate on non-causal explanations in philosophy of sciences. I will first present examples of non-causal explanations in the sciences. Then, I will outline three alternative approaches to non-causal explanations – that is, causal reductionism, pluralism and monism – and, corresponding to these three approaches, different strategies for distinguishing between causal and non-causal explanation. Finally, I will raise questions for future research on non-causal explanations.
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  21. added 2016-10-25
    Benjamin Goldberg (2016). Marco Solinas, From Aristotle’s Teleology to Darwin’s Genealogy: The Stamp of Inutility. [REVIEW] Hopos: The Journal of the International Society for the History of Philosophy of Science 6 (1):174-177.
  22. added 2016-10-25
    Adam Toon (2016). Imagination in Scientific Modeling. In Amy Kind (ed.), The Routledge Handbook of Philosophy of Imagination. Routledge 451-462.
    Modeling is central to scientific inquiry. It also depends heavily upon the imagination. In modeling, scientists seem to turn their attention away from the complexity of the real world to imagine a realm of perfect spheres, frictionless planes and perfect rational agents. Modeling poses many questions. What are models? How do they relate to the real world? Recently, a number of philosophers have addressed these questions by focusing on the role of the imagination in modeling. Some have also drawn parallels (...)
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  23. added 2016-10-25
    Patrick J. Boner (2016). David Marshall Miller, Representing Space in the Scientific Revolution. [REVIEW] Hopos: The Journal of the International Society for the History of Philosophy of Science 6 (1):172-173.
  24. added 2016-10-25
    Omar W. Nasim (2016). Alan G. Gross and Joseph E. Harmon, Science From Sight to Insight: How Scientists Illustrate Meaning. [REVIEW] Hopos: The Journal of the International Society for the History of Philosophy of Science 6 (1):168-171.
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  25. added 2016-10-25
    Adam Toon (2016). Fictionalism and the Folk. The Monist 99:280-295.
    Mental fictionalism is the view that, even if mental states do not exist, it is useful to talk as if they do. Mental states are useful fictions. Recent philosophy of mind has seen a growing interest in mental fictionalism. To date, much of the discussion has concerned the general features of the approach. In this paper, I develop a specific form of mental fictionalism by drawing on Kendall Walton’s work on make-believe. According to the approach I propose, talk of mental (...)
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  26. added 2016-10-25
    Brigitte Falkenburg (2016). John Losee, Complementarity, Causality, and Explanation. [REVIEW] Hopos: The Journal of the International Society for the History of Philosophy of Science 6 (1):162-164.
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  27. added 2016-10-25
    Francesca Biagioli (2016). J Tyler Friedman and Sebastian Luft, Eds., The Philosophy of Ernst Cassirer: A Novel Assessment. [REVIEW] Hopos: The Journal of the International Society for the History of Philosophy of Science 6 (1):164-167.
  28. added 2016-10-25
    Eric Brandstedt (2016). The Savings Problem in the Original Position: Assessing and Revising a Model. Canadian Journal of Philosophy:1-21.
    The common conception of justice as reciprocity seemingly is inapplicable to relations between non-overlapping generations. This is a challenge also to John Rawls’s theory of justice as fairness. This text responds to this by way of reinterpreting and developing Rawls’s theory. First, by examining the original position as a model, some revisions of it are shown to be wanting. Second, by drawing on the methodology of constructivism, an alternative solution is proposed: an amendment to the primary goods named ‘sustainability of (...)
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  29. added 2016-10-23
    Laura Felline (forthcoming). It's a Matter of Principle. Scientific Explanation in Information-Theoretic Reconstructions of Quantum Theory. Dialectica.
    The aim of this paper is to explore the ways in which Axiomatic Reconstructions of Quantum Theory in terms of Information-Theoretic principles (ARQITs) can contribute to explaining and understanding quantum phenomena, as well as to study their explanatory limitations. This is achieved in part by offering an account of the kind of explanation that axiomatic reconstructions of quantum theory provide, and re-evaluating the epistemic status of the program in light of this explanation. As illustrative cases studies, I take Clifton's, Bub's (...)
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  30. added 2016-10-23
    Paul M. Churchland (1986). Scientific Realism and the Plasticity of Mind. Cambridge University Press.
    A study in the philosophy of science, proposing a strong form of the doctrine of scientific realism' and developing its implications for issues in the philosophy of mind.
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  31. added 2016-10-22
    Ignacio Avila (2002). El Nuevo Enigma de la Inducción y Los Términos de Clase Natural. Critica 34 (100):55-85.
    En este ensayo intento mostrar el estrecho vínculo entre el asunto de la fijación de la extensión de los términos de clase natural y el problema de la proyectabilidad puesto de relieve por Goodman con su nuevo enigma de la inducción. Por un lado argumento que el nuevo enigma de la inducción pone de manifiesto la presencia de un elemento fregeano en la teoría de la referencia directa de Putnam y, por el otro, señalo la necesidad de que una respuesta (...)
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  32. added 2016-10-21
    Tyler Hildebrand (2016). Natural Properties, Necessary Connections, and the Problem of Induction. Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 93 (3).
    The necessitarian solution to the problem of induction involves two claims: first, that necessary connections are justified by an inference to the best explanation; second, that the best theory of necessary connections entails the timeless uniformity of nature. In this paper, I defend the second claim. My arguments are based on considerations from the metaphysics of laws, properties, and fundamentality.
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  33. added 2016-10-20
    Andrew Brenner (forthcoming). Simplicity as a Criterion of Theory Choice in Metaphysics. Philosophical Studies:1-21.
    Metaphysicians frequently appeal to the idea that theoretical simplicity is truth conducive in metaphysics, in the sense that, all other things being equal, simpler metaphysical theories are more likely to be true. In this paper I defend the notion that theoretical simplicity is truth conducive in metaphysics, against several recent objections. I do not give any direct arguments for the thesis that simplicity is truth conducive in metaphysics, since I am aware of no such arguments. I do argue, however, that (...)
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  34. added 2016-10-19
    Harjit Bhogal (forthcoming). Minimal Anti-Humeanism. Australasian Journal of Philosophy:1-14.
    There is a tension in our theorizing about laws of nature: our practice of using and reasoning with laws of nature suggests that laws are universal generalizations, but if laws are universal generalizations then we face the problem of explanatory circularity. In this paper I elucidate this tension and show how it motivates a view of laws that I call Minimal Anti-Humeanism. This view says that the laws are the universal generalizations that are not grounded in their instances. I argue (...)
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  35. added 2016-10-18
    Jean-Francois Stoffel, Call for Papers.
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  36. added 2016-10-18
    Meg Stalcup & Limor Samimian-Darash (2016). Anthropology of Security and Security in Anthropology: Cases of Counterterrorism in the United States. Anthropological Theory:1-28.
    In our study of U.S. counterterrorism programs, we found that anthropology needs a mode of analysis that considers security as a form distinct from insecurity, in order to capture the very heterogeneity of security objects, logics and forms of action. This article first presents a genealogy for the anthropology of security, and identifies four main approaches: violence and State terror; military, militarization, and militarism; para-state securitization; and what we submit as “security analytics.” Security analytics moves away from studying security formations, (...)
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  37. added 2016-10-13
    A. Hütterman & A. C. Love (2016). Reduction. In P. Humphries (ed.), The Oxford Handbook of Philosophy of Science. Oxford University Press 460-484.
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  38. added 2016-10-13
    William M. Goodman (2010). The Undetectable Difference: An Experimental Look at the ‘Problem’ of P-Values. Statistical Literacy Website/Papers: Www.Statlit.Org/Pdf/2010GoodmanASA.Pdf.
    In the face of continuing assumptions by many scientists and journal editors that p-values provide a gold standard for inference, counter warnings are published periodically. But the core problem is not with p-values, per se. A finding that “p-value is less than α” could merely signal that a critical value has been exceeded. The question is why, when estimating a parameter, we provide a range (a confidence interval), but when testing a hypothesis about a parameter (e.g. µ = x) we (...)
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  39. added 2016-10-09
    K. R. Sawyer, H. Sankey & R. Lombardo (2016). Over-Measurement. Measurement 93:379-384.
    Measurement is a special type of evaluation that is more exact than either opinion or estimation. In the social sciences, in particular, most evaluations are not measures, but rather mixtures of opinion and estimation. Over-measurement represents anchoring to evaluations which are not measures. For an over-measured characteristic, single measures are used when instead a portfolio of possible measures should be used. There are three implications. First, measurements of characteristics which depend on the over-measured characteristic are biased. Secondly, decisions which depend (...)
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  40. added 2016-10-09
    Michael G. Titelbaum (2011). Symmetry and Evidential Support. Symmetry 3 (3):680--698.
  41. added 2016-10-08
    Karen Detlefsen (2016). Review of Historical Dictionary of Descartes and Cartesian Philosophy . 2nd Ed. [REVIEW] Hopos: The Journal of the International Society for the History of Philosophy of Science 6 (2):345-48.
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  42. added 2016-10-08
    Jie Zheng, Marcelline R. Harris, Anna Maria Masci, Lin Yu, Alfred Hero, Barry Smith & Yongqun He (2016). The Ontology of Biological and Clinical Statistics (OBCS) for Standardized and Reproducible Statistical Analysis. Journal of Biomedical Semantics 7 (53).
    Statistics play a critical role in biological and clinical research. However, most reports of scientific results in the published literature make it difficult for the reader to reproduce the statistical analyses performed in achieving those results because they provide inadequate documentation of the statistical tests and algorithms applied. The Ontology of Biological and Clinical Statistics (OBCS) is put forward here as a step towards solving this problem. Terms in OBCS, including ‘data collection’, ‘data transformation in statistics’, ‘data visualization’, ‘statistical data (...)
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  43. added 2016-10-07
    E. Popa (2016). Collingwood and Manipulability-Based Approaches to Causation: Methodological Issues. Collingwood and British Idealism Studies 22 (1):139-166.
    This paper discusses methodological similarities between Collingwood's approach to causation and contemporary manipulability-based views. Firstly, I argue that on both approaches there is a preoccupation with the origin of causal concepts which further connects to the aim of establishing the priority of a certain concept/sense of causation as more fundamental. The significant difference lies in Collingwood's focus on the logical and historical priority (Collingwood's sense I) while in more recent theories the focus has been on psychology (i.e., on different philosophical (...)
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  44. added 2016-10-04
    Gustavo Cevolani & Gerhard Schurz (forthcoming). Probability, Approximate Truth, and Truthlikeness: More Ways Out of the Preface Paradox. Australasian Journal of Philosophy:1-17.
    The so-called Preface Paradox seems to show that one can rationally believe two logically incompatible propositions. We address this puzzle, relying on the notions of truthlikeness and approximate truth as studied within the post-Popperian research programme on verisimilitude. In particular, we show that adequately combining probability, approximate truth, and truthlikeness leads to an explanation of how rational belief is possible in the face of the Preface Paradox. We argue that our account is superior to other solutions of the paradox, including (...)
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  45. added 2016-10-04
    Nicholas Maxwell (2000). Observation, Meaning and Theory: Review of For and Against Method by Imre Lakatos and Paul Feyerabend. [REVIEW] Times Higher Education Supplement 1:30-30.
    Imre Lakatos and Paul Feyerabend initially both accepted Popper's philosophy of science, but then reacted against it, and developed it in different directions. Lakatos sought to reconcile Kuhn and Popper by characterizing science as a process of competing research programmes, competing fragments of Kuhn's normal science. Feyerabend emphasized the need to develop rival theories to facilitate severe empirical testing of accepted theories, but then, as a result of a disastrous mistake, came to hold that theories that are incompatible with one (...)
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  46. added 2016-09-29
    Cael L. Hasse, A Comprehensive Theory of Induction and Abstraction, Part I.
    I present a solution to the epistemological or characterisation problem of induction. In part I, Bayesian Confirmation Theory (BCT) is discussed as a good contender for such a solution but with a fundamental explanatory gap (along with other well discussed problems); useful assigned probabilities like priors require substantive degrees of belief about the world. I assert that one does not have such substantive information about the world. Consequently, an explanation is needed for how one can be licensed to act as (...)
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  47. added 2016-09-29
    Neal A. Tognazzini (2016). Free Will and Miracles. Thought: A Journal of Philosophy 5 (3):236-238.
    The Consequence Argument is sound only if no one has a choice about the laws of nature, and one prominent compatibilist reply to the argument—championed by David Lewis —begins by claiming that there is a sense in which we do have such a choice, and a sense in which we don't. Lewis then insists that the sense in which we do have such a choice is the only sense required by compatibilism. Peter van Inwagen has responded that even if Lewis's (...)
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  48. added 2016-09-29
    Manzo Silvia (2015). Las leyes de la naturaleza y la ciencia en el siglo XVII. In Pablo Melogno (ed.), Ciencia, matemática y experiencia. Estudios en historia del pensamiento científico. Índice 72-86.
    La idea de que la tarea de la ciencia consiste en dar cuenta de las leyes de la naturaleza comenzó a establecerse durante el siglo XVII mientras se estaba delineando la nueva imagen de la ciencia y de la naturaleza. Si bien distintos estudios historiográficos coinciden en situar el origen del concepto moderno de ley de la naturaleza en este siglo, sus interpretaciones son divergentes en varios sentidos. En este trabajo, me dedicaré en primer lugar a repasar brevemente y analizar (...)
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  49. added 2016-09-29
    Eduardo Castro (2013). Leis da Natureza. Compêndio Em Linha de Problemas de Filosofia Analítica.
    State of art paper on the topic laws of nature, around the problem of identification what is to be a law of nature. The most prominent theories of contemporary philosophical literature are discussed and analysed, such as: the simple regularity theory, from Hume; the Mill-Ramsey-Lewis best systems theory; the Dretske-Tooley-Armstrong theory of laws as relations among universals; Ellis’s essentialist theory; Cartwright’s theory of laws as ceteris paribus laws; the anti-reductionist theories of Lange, Maudlin and Carroll, the anti-realist theories of Mumford, (...)
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  50. added 2016-09-29
    John W. Carroll (2008). Laws of Nature. Cambridge University Press.
    John Carroll undertakes a careful philosophical examination of laws of nature, causation, and other related topics. He argues that laws of nature are not susceptible to the sort of philosophical treatment preferred by empiricists. Indeed he shows that emperically pure matters of fact need not even determine what the laws are. Similar, even stronger, conclusions are drawn about causation. Replacing the traditional view of laws and causation requiring some kind of foundational legitimacy, the author argues that these phenomena are inextricably (...)
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