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General Philosophy of Science

Edited by Gabriele Contessa (Carleton University)
Assistant editor: Justin Bzovy (University of Western Ontario)
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  1. added 2014-07-26
    Alexander Reutlinger (forthcoming). Are Causal Facts Really Explanatorily Emergent? Ladyman and Ross on Higher-Level Causal Facts and Renormalization Group Explanation. Synthese.
    In their Every Thing Must Go, Ladyman and Ross defend a novel version of Neo- Russellian metaphysics of causation, which falls into three claims: (1) there are no fundamental physical causal facts (orthodox Russellian claim), (2) there are higher-level causal facts of the special sciences, and (3) higher-level causal facts are explanatorily emergent. While accepting claims (1) and (2), I attack claim (3). Ladyman and Ross argue that higher-level causal facts are explanatorily emergent, because (a) certain aspects of these higher-level (...)
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  2. added 2014-07-23
    Andreas Hüttemann (forthcoming). Physicalism and the Part-Whole Relation. In Christian Wüthrich & Tomasz Bigaj (eds.), Metaphysics in Contemporary Physics.
    In this paper I intend to analyse whether a certain kind of physicalism (part-wholephysicalism)is supported by what classical mechanics and quantum mechanics have to say about the part whole relation. I will argue that not even the most likely candidates – namely cases of microexplanation of the dynamics of compound systems – provide evidence for part whole-physicalism, i.e. the thesis that the behaviour of the compound obtains in virtue of the behaviour of the parts. Physics does not dictate part-whole-physicalism.
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  3. added 2014-07-19
    Sean Walsh, Eleanor Knox & Adam Caulton (2014). Critical Review of Mathematics and Scientific Representation. [REVIEW] Philosophy of Science 81 (3):460-469.
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  4. added 2014-07-18
    Nicla Vassallo (forthcoming). Undertermination and Theory-Ladenness Against Impartiality. A Defence of Value Free Science and Value-Laden Technology. Protosociology 53.
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  5. added 2014-07-18
    Michael Baumgartner & Alexander Gebharter (forthcoming). Constitutive Relevance, Mutual Manipulability, and Fat-Handedness. British Journal for the Philosophy of Science.
    The first part of this paper argues that if Craver’s ([2007a], [2007b]) popular mutual manipulability account (MM) of mechanistic constitution is embedded within Woodward’s ([2003]) interventionist theory of causation--for which it is explicitly designed--it either undermines the mechanistic research paradigm by entailing that there do not exist relationships of constitutive relevance or it gives rise to the unwanted consequence that constitution is a form of causation. The second part shows how Woodward’s theory can be adapted in such a way that (...)
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  6. added 2014-07-16
    K. Brad Wray (2013). Social Epistemology. In Stathis Psillos & Martin Curd (eds.), Routledge Companion to Philosophy of Science. Routledge.
  7. added 2014-07-15
    K. Brad Wray (forthcoming). COLLABORATIVE RESEARCH, DELIBERATION, AND INNOVATION. Episteme.
    I evaluate the extent to which we could learn something about how we should be conducting collaborative research in science from the research on groupthink. I argue that Solomon has set us in the wrong direction, failing to recognize that the consensus in scientific specialties is not the result of deliberation. But the attention to the structure of problem-solving that has emerged in the groupthink research conducted by psychologists can help us see when deliberation could lead to problems for a (...)
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  8. added 2014-07-14
    Elizabeth Miller (forthcoming). Humean Scientific Explanation. Philosophical Studies:1-22.
    In a recent paper, Barry Loewer attempts to defend Humeanism about laws of nature from a charge that Humean laws are not adequately explanatory. Central to his defense is a distinction between metaphysical and scientific explanations: even if Humeans cannot offer further metaphysical explanations of particular features of their “mosaic,” that does not preclude them from offering scientific explanations of these features. According to Marc Lange, however, Loewer’s distinction is of no avail. Defending a transitivity principle linking scientific explanantia to (...)
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  9. added 2014-07-03
    Ilho Park (forthcoming). Confirmation Measures and Collaborative Belief Updating. Synthese.
    There are some candidates that have been thought to measure the degree to which evidence incrementally confirms a hypothesis. This paper provides an argument for one candidate—the log-likelihood ratio measure. For this purpose, I will suggest a plausible requirement that I call the Requirement of Collaboration. And then, it will be shown that, of various candidates, only the log-likelihood ratio measure l satisfies this requirement. Using this result, Jeffrey conditionalization will be reformulated so as to disclose explicitly what determines new (...)
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  10. added 2014-06-25
    T. Quick (forthcoming). From Phrenology to the Laboratory: Physiological Psychology and the Institution of Science in Britain (C.1830-80). History of the Human Sciences.
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  11. added 2014-06-23
    Michael E. Cuffaro (forthcoming). How-Possibly Explanations in Quantum Computer Science. Philosophy of Science.
    A primary goal of quantum computer science is to find an explanation for the fact that quantum computers are more powerful than classical computers. In this paper I argue that to answer this question is to compare algorithmic processes of various kinds, and in so doing to describe the possibility spaces associated with these processes. By doing this we explain how it is possible for one process to outperform its rival. Further, in this and similar examples little is gained in (...)
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  12. added 2014-06-22
    Alexander Skiles (forthcoming). Against Grounding Necessitarianism. Erkenntnis.
    Can there be grounding without necessitation? That is, can a fact obtain wholly in virtue of metaphysically more fundamental facts even though there are possible worlds at which the latter facts obtain but not the former? It is an orthodoxy in recent literature about the nature of grounding, and in first-order philosophical disputes about what grounds what, that the answer is no. I will argue that the correct answer is yes. I present two novel arguments against grounding necessitarianism, and then (...)
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  13. added 2014-06-20
    Angela Potochnik (forthcoming). Causal Patterns and Adequate Explanations. Philosophical Studies:1-20.
    Causal accounts of scientific explanation are currently broadly accepted (though not universally so). My first task in this paper is to show that, even for a causal approach to explanation, significant features of explanatory practice are not determined by settling how causal facts bear on the phenomenon to be explained. I then develop a broadly causal approach to explanation that accounts for the additional features that I argue an explanation should have. This approach to explanation makes sense of several aspects (...)
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  14. added 2014-06-16
    D. Wilson (forthcoming). Quantifying the Quiet Epidemic: Diagnosing Dementia in Late 20th-Century Britain. History of the Human Sciences.
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  15. added 2014-06-16
    Jeroen Van Bouwel (2014). Pluralists About Pluralism? Versions of Explanatory Pluralism in Psychiatry. In M. C. Galavotti, D. Dieks, W. J. Gonzalez, S. Hartmann, Th Uebel & M. Weber (eds.), New Directions in Philosophy of Science (The Philosophy of Science in a European Perspective Series). Springer. 105-119.
    In this contribution, I comment on Raffaella Campaner’s defense of explanatory pluralism in psychiatry (in this volume). In her paper, Campaner focuses primarily on explanatory pluralism in contrast to explanatory reductionism. Furthermore, she distinguishes between pluralists who consider pluralism to be a temporary state on the one hand and pluralists who consider it to be a persisting state on the other hand. I suggest that it would be helpful to distinguish more than those two versions of pluralism – different understandings (...)
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  16. added 2014-06-16
    Jeroen Van Bouwel (2012). What is There Beyond Mertonian and Dollar Green Science? Exploring the Contours of Epistemic Democracy. In Robrecht Vanderbeeken, Frederik Le Roy, Christel Stalpaert & Diederik Aerts (eds.), Drunk on capitalism : an interdisciplinary reflection on market economy, art and science. Springer. 35-48.
    The story is sometimes told as follows: Once science was a disinterested activity giving scientists the opportunity to freely solve the puzzle of nature to the benefit of all. Nowadays science seems more and more driven by the search for patents and dollars compelling scientists to follow the logic of capitalism and corporatization. Take-home lesson: science is for sale and we should do everything to reverse this evolution. In this contribution, I want to analyze the narrator’s assumptions implicit in this (...)
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  17. added 2014-06-16
    Jeroen Van Bouwel (2004). Questioning Structurism as a New Standard for Social Scientific Explanations. Graduate Journal of Social Science 1 (2):204-226.
    As the literature on Critical Realism in the social sciences is growing, it is about time to analyse whether a new, acceptable standard for social scientific explanations is being introduced. In order to do so, I will discuss the work of Christopher Lloyd, who analysed contributions of social scientists that rely on (what he called) a structurist ontology and a structurist methodology, and advocated a third option in the methodological debate between individualism and holism. I will suggest modifications to three (...)
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  18. added 2014-06-14
    Jeroen Van Bouwel (2014). Explanatory Strategies Beyond The Individualism/Holism Debate. In Julie Zahle & Finn Collin (eds.), Rethinking the Individualism-Holism Debate. Springer. 105-119.
    Starting from the plurality of explanatory strategies in the actual practice of socialscientists, I introduce a framework for explanatory pluralism – a normative endorsement of the plurality of forms and levels of explanation used by social scientists. Equipped with thisframework, central issues in the individualism/holism debate are revisited, namely emergence,reduction and the idea of microfoundations. Discussing these issues, we notice that in recentcontributions the focus has been shifting towards relationism, pluralism and interaction, awayfrom dichotomous individualism/holism thinking and a winner-takes-all approach. (...)
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  19. added 2014-06-12
    Theodore Bach (2014). A Unified Account of General Learning Mechanisms and Theory‐of‐Mind Development. Mind and Language 29 (3):351-381.
    Modularity theorists have challenged that there are, or could be, general learning mechanisms that explain theory-of-mind development. In response, supporters of the ‘scientific theory-theory’ account of theory-of-mind development have appealed to children's use of auxiliary hypotheses and probabilistic causal modeling. This article argues that these general learning mechanisms are not sufficient to meet the modularist's challenge. The article then explores an alternative domain-general learning mechanism by proposing that children grasp the concept belief through the progressive alignment of relational structure that (...)
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  20. added 2014-06-09
    Luca Moretti (2014). String Theory and the Scientific Method: Interview with Richard Dawid. The Reasoner 8 (8):87-89.
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  21. added 2014-06-06
    Peter R. Anstey (2014). Philosophy of Experiment in Early Modern England: The Case of Bacon, Boyle and Hooke. Early Science and Medicine 19 (2):103-132.
  22. added 2014-06-06
    Niccolò Guicciardini (2014). A New Edition of Newton's History of the Early Church. Early Science and Medicine 19 (2):186-189.
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  23. added 2014-06-06
    María José Martínez & Francisco J. Marco (2014). New Astronomical References in Two Catalonian Late Medieval Documents. Early Science and Medicine 19 (2):174-185.
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  24. added 2014-06-06
    Francesco Paolo de Ceglia (2014). Thinking with the Saint: The Miracle of Saint Januarius of Naples and Science in Early Modern Europe. Early Science and Medicine 19 (2):133-173.
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  25. added 2014-06-06
    Kathleen Crowther (2014). Alisha Rankin Panaceia's Daughters: Noblewomen as Healers in Early Modern Germany (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2013), Pp. 312, $40.00, ISBN 978 022 69253 87. [REVIEW] Early Science and Medicine 19 (2):194-196.
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  26. added 2014-06-06
    Rhonda Martens (2014). Patrick J. Boner Kepler's Cosmological Synthesis: Astrology, Mechanism and the Soul (History of Science and Medicine Library 39; Medieval and Early Modern Science 20) (Leiden: Brill Academic Publishers, 2013), Pp. 204, € 101, $138, ISBN 978 90 04 24608 9 (Hardback). [REVIEW] Early Science and Medicine 19 (2):197-199.
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  27. added 2014-06-06
    Dániel Margócsy (2014). Harold J. Cook and Sven Dupré (Eds.) Translating Knowledge in the Early Modern Low Countries (Low Countries Studies on the Circulation of Natural Knowledge 3) (Zürich: LIT, 2012), Pp. 472, €34.90, ISBN 978 3 743 90246 7. [REVIEW] Early Science and Medicine 19 (2):205-207.
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  28. added 2014-06-06
    Aurélien Robert (2014). Ildikó Csepregi and Charles Burnett (Eds.) Ritual Healing. Magic, Ritual and Medical Therapy From Antiquity Until the Early Modern Period (Florence: Edizioni Del Galluzzo, 2012), Pp. 221, €45.00, ISBN 978 88 8450 443 2. [REVIEW] Early Science and Medicine 19 (2):191-193.
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  29. added 2014-06-06
    Brian A. Curran (2014). Daniel Stolzenberg Egyptian Oedipus: Athanasius Kircher and the Secrets of Antiquity (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2013), Pp. 307, $50.00, £35.00, ISBN 978 0 226 92414 4. [REVIEW] Early Science and Medicine 19 (2):200-204.
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  30. added 2014-06-06
    John C. Powers (2014). Victor D. Boantza Matter and Method in the Long Chemical Revolution: Laws of Another Order (Surrey: Ashgate, 2013), Pp. Xvi + 264 (Cloth), £ 70.00, ISBN 13: 978 1 4094 1867 2. [REVIEW] Early Science and Medicine 19 (2):208-210.
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  31. added 2014-06-03
    Anders Landig (2014). Partial Reference, Scientific Realism and Possible Worlds. Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 47:1-9.
    Theories of partial reference have been developed in order to retrospectively interpret rather stubborn past scientific theories like Newtonian dynamics and the phlogiston theory in a realist way, i.e., as approximately true. This is done by allowing for a term to refer to more than one entity at the same time and by providing semantic structures that determine the truth values of sentences containing partially referring terms. Two versions of theories of partial reference will be presented, a conjunctive (by Hartry (...)
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  32. added 2014-06-03
    David Hyder (2014). Review of Michael Friedman, Kant’s Construction of Nature. [REVIEW] Isis 105 (2).
  33. added 2014-06-01
    R. Kilminster (forthcoming). The Dawn of Detachment: Norbert Elias and Sociology's Two Tracks. History of the Human Sciences.
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  34. added 2014-06-01
    James Franklin (2014). Aristotelian Realist Philosophy of Mathematics. Palgrave MacMillan.
    An Aristotelian Philosophy of Mathematics breaks the impasse between Platonist and nominalist views of mathematics. Neither a study of abstract objects nor a mere language or logic, mathematics is a science of real aspects of the world as much as biology is. For the first time, a philosophy of mathematics puts applied mathematics at the centre. Quantitative aspects of the world such as ratios of heights, and structural ones such as symmetry and continuity, are parts of the physical world and (...)
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  35. added 2014-05-22
    Alexander Reutlinger (forthcoming). Do Statistical Laws Solve the 'Problem of Provisos'? Erkenntnis.
    In their influential paper “Ceteris Paribus, There is No Problem of Provisos”, John Earman and John T. Roberts (1999) propose to interpret the non-strict generalizations of the special sciences as statistical generalizations about correlations. I call this view the “statistical account”. Earman and Roberts claim that statistical generalizations are not qualified by “non-lazy” ceteris paribus conditions. The statistical account is an attractive view, since it looks exactly like what everybody wants: it is a simple and intelligible theory of special science (...)
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  36. added 2014-05-17
    R. Kugelmann (forthcoming). Imprimi Potest: Roman Catholic Censoring of Psychology and Psychoanalysis in the Early 20th Century. History of the Human Sciences.
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  37. added 2014-05-17
    G. Jahoda (forthcoming). On Relations Between Ethnology and Psychology in Historical Context. History of the Human Sciences.
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  38. added 2014-05-17
    J. Dinishak (forthcoming). 'Blind' to the Obvious: Wittgenstein and Kohler on the Obvious and the Hidden. History of the Human Sciences.
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  39. added 2014-05-17
    Greg Frost-Arnold (2010). The No-Miracles Argument for Realism: Inference to an Unacceptable Explanation. Philosophy of Science 77 (1):35-58.
    I argue that a certain type of naturalist should not accept a prominent version of the no-miracles argument (NMA). First, scientists (usually) do not accept explanations whose explanans-statements neither generate novel predictions nor unify apparently disparate established claims. Second, scientific realism (as it appears in the NMA) is an explanans that makes no new predictions and fails to unify disparate established claims. Third, many proponents of the NMA explicitly adopt a naturalism that forbids philosophy of science from using any methods (...)
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  40. added 2014-05-16
    David Coady & Richard Corry (2013). The Climate Change Debate: An Epistemic and Ethical Enquiry. Palgrave Macmillan.
    Two kinds of philosophical questions are raised by the current public debate about climate change; epistemic questions (Whom should I believe? Is climate science a genuine science?), and ethical questions (Who should bear the burden? Must I sacrifice if others do not?). Although the former have been central to this debate, professional philosophers have dealt almost exclusively with the latter. This book is the first to address both the epistemic and ethical questions raised by the climate change debate and examine (...)
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  41. added 2014-05-12
    Christopher Clarke (forthcoming). Multi-Level Selection and the Explanatory Value of Mathematical Decompositions. British Journal for the Philosophy of Science.
    Do multi-level selection explanations of the evolution of social traits deepen the understanding provided by single-level explanations? Central to the former is a mathematical theorem, the multi-level Price decomposition. I build a framework through which to understand the explanatory role of such non-empirical decompositions in scientific practice. Applying this general framework to the present case places two tasks on the agenda. The first task is to distinguish the various ways of suppressing within-collective variation in fitness, and moreover to evaluate their (...)
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  42. added 2014-05-06
    Loren King, Brandon Morgan-Olsen & James Wong (forthcoming). Identifying Difference, Engaging Dissent: What is at Stake in Democratizing Knowledge? Foundations of Science.
    Several prominent voices have called for a democratization of science through deliberative processes that include a diverse range of perspectives and values. We bring these scholars into conversation with extant research on democratic deliberation in political theory and the social sciences. In doing so, we identify systematic barriers to the effectiveness of inclusive deliberation in both scientific and political settings. We are particularly interested in what we call misidentified dissent, where deliberations are starkly framed at the outset in terms of (...)
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  43. added 2014-05-04
    L. R. Franklin-Hall (forthcoming). Explaining Causal Selection with Explanatory Causal Economy: Biology and Beyond. In P.-A. Braillard & C. Malaterre (eds.), Explanation in Biology: An Enquiry into the Diversity of Explanatory Patterns in the Life Sciences. Springer.
    Among the factors necessary for the occurrence of some event, which of these are selectively highlighted in its explanation and labeled as causes — and which are explanatorily omitted, or relegated to the status of background conditions? Following J. S. Mill, most have thought that only a pragmatic answer to this question was possible. In this paper I suggest we understand this ‘causal selection problem’ in causal-explanatory terms, and propose that explanatory trade-offs between abstraction and stability can provide a principled (...)
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