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General Philosophy of Science

Assistant editor: Justin Bzovy (University of Western Ontario)
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  1. added 2014-12-21
    Veikko Rantala (2002). Explanatory Translation. Beyond the Kuhnian Model of Conceptual Change. Kluwer/Springer.
    A systematic attempt to understand cognitive characteristics of translation by bringing its logical, pragmatic, and hermeneutic features together and examining a number of scientific, logical (philosophical and formal),and philosophical applications. The notion of translation investigated here is called explanatory since it is not a translation in the standard, meaning-saving sense but aims to provide an explanation for the meaning change in exact terms.
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  2. added 2014-12-17
    Peter R. Anstey & Alberto Vanzo (forthcoming). Early Modern Experimental Philosophy. In Justin Sytsma & Wesley Buckwalter (eds.), A Companion to Experimental Philosophy. Blackwell.
    In the mid-seventeenth century a movement of self-styled experimental philosophers emerged in Britain. Originating in the discipline of natural philosophy amongst Fellows of the fledgling Royal Society of London, it soon spread to medicine and by the eighteenth century had impacted moral and political philosophy and even aesthetics. Early modern experimental philosophers gave epistemic priority to observation and experiment over theorising and speculation. They decried the use of hypotheses and system-building without recourse to experiment and, in some quarters, developed a (...)
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  3. added 2014-12-17
    Mark Alfano (forthcoming). Ramsifying Virtue Theory. In , Current Controversies in Virtue Theory. Routledge. 123-35.
    In his contribution, Mark Alfano lays out a new (to virtue theory) naturalistic way of determining what the virtues are, what it would take for them to be realized, and what it would take for them to be at least possible. This method is derived in large part from David Lewis’s development of Frank Ramsey’s method of implicit definition. The basic idea is to define a set of terms not individually but in tandem. This is accomplished by assembling all and (...)
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  4. added 2014-12-15
    Yuko Murakami & Manabu Sumida (2014). History and Philosophy of Science in Japanese Education: A Historical Overview. In Michael R. Matthews (ed.), International Handbook of Research in History, Philosophy and Science Teaching. Springer. 2217-2245.
    This article describes the historical development of HPS/NOS mainly in higher education. Because the establishment of universities in Japan in late-nineteenth century was a reaction against Western imperialism, higher education aimed to cultivate scientists and engineers with an emphasis on practical applications. This direction in higher science and engineering education continues into the present. It has conditioned elementary and secondary education via university entrance examinations, where no questions on NOS appear. Hence, HPS research and education has developed in Japanese higher (...)
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  5. added 2014-12-15
    Brian Dunst & Alex Levine (2014). Conceptual Change: Analogies Great and Small and the Quest for Coherence. In Michael R. Matthews (ed.), International Handbook of Research in History, Philosophy and Science Teaching. Springer. 1345-1361.
    Historians and philosophers of science have, in recent decades, offered evidence in support of several influential models of conceptual change in science. These models have often drawn on and in turn driven research on conceptual change in childhood and in science education. This nexus of reciprocal influences is held together by several largely unexamined analogies and by several assumptions concerning analogy itself. In this chapter, we aim to shed some light on these hidden premises and subject them to critical scrutiny. (...)
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  6. added 2014-12-14
    Mansoor Niaz (2014). Science Textbooks: The Role of History and Philosophy of Science. In Michael R. Matthews (ed.), International Handbook of Research in History, Philosophy and Science Teaching. Springer. 1411-1441.
    Research in science education has recognized the importance of history and philosophy of science (HPS), and this has facilitated the evaluation of science textbooks. Purpose of this chapter is to review research based on analyses of science textbooks that explicitly use a history and philosophy of science framework. This review has focused on studies published in the 15-year period (1996–2010) and has drawn on the following major science education journals: International Journal of Science Education, Journal of Research in Science Teaching, (...)
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  7. added 2014-12-12
    E. Lafuente, J. C. Loredo & J. Castro (forthcoming). Citizens at Work: Evolutionism, Functionalism, Progressivism and Industrial Psychology in the Writings of Arland D. Weeks. History of the Human Sciences.
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  8. added 2014-12-12
    Nicholas Maxwell (forthcoming). Can Scientific Method Help Us Create a Wiser World? In N. Dalal, A. Intezari & M. Heitz (eds.), Practical Wisdom in the Age of Technology: Insights, Issues and Questions for a New Millennium. Ashgate.
    Two great problems of learning confront humanity: (1) learning about the universe, and about ourselves as a part of the universe, and (2) learning how to make progress towards as good a world as possible. We solved the first problem when we created modern science in the 17th century, but we have not yet solved the second problem. This puts us in a situation of unprecedented danger. Modern science and technology enormously increase our power to act, but not our power (...)
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  9. added 2014-12-12
    N. Karakayali (forthcoming). Adapting, Defending and Transforming Ourselves: Conceptualizations of Self Practices in the Social Science Literature. History of the Human Sciences.
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  10. added 2014-12-12
    Gürol Irzik & Robert Nola (2014). New Directions for Nature of Science Research. In Michael R. Matthews (ed.), International Handbook of Research in History, Philosophy and Science Teaching. Springer. 999-1021.
    The idea of family resemblance, when applied to science, can provide a powerful account of the nature of science (NOS). In this chapter we develop such an account by taking into consideration the consensus on NOS that emerged in the science education literature in the last decade or so. According to the family resemblance approach, the nature of science can be systematically and comprehensively characterised in terms of a number of science categories which exhibit strong similarities and overlaps amongst diverse (...)
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  11. added 2014-12-12
    Axel Gelfert (2014). Applicability, Indispensability, and Underdetermination: Puzzling Over Wigner's 'Unreasonable Effectiveness of Mathematics'. Science and Education 23 (5):997-1009.
    In his influential 1960 paper ‘The Unreasonable Effectiveness of Mathematics in the Natural Sciences’, Eugene P. Wigner raises the question of why something that was developed without concern for empirical facts—mathematics—should turn out to be so powerful in explaining facts about the natural world. Recent philosophy of science has developed ‘Wigner’s puzzle’ in two different directions: First, in relation to the supposed indispensability of mathematical facts to particular scientific explanations and, secondly, in connection with the idea that aesthetic criteria track (...)
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  12. added 2014-12-11
    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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  13. added 2014-12-11
    Peter Lipton (2009). Understanding Without Explanation. In H. W. de Regt, S. Leonelli & K. Eigner (eds.), Scientific Understanding: Philosophical Perspectives. University of Pittsburgh Press. 43-63.
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  14. added 2014-12-07
    Michael R. Matthews (2014). Introduction: The History, Purpose and Content of the Springer International Handbook of Research in History, Philosophy and Science Teaching. In , International Handbook of Research in History, Philosophy and Science Teaching. Springer. 1-15.
    This is the first handbook to be published that is devoted to the field of historical and philosophical research in science and mathematics education (HPS&ST). Given that science and mathematics through their long history have always been engaged with philosophy and that for over a century it has been recognised that science and mathematics curriculum development, teaching, assessment and learning give rise to so many historical and philosophical questions, it is unfortunate that such a handbook has been so long coming.
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  15. added 2014-12-07
    Michael R. Matthews (2014). Pendulum Motion: A Case Study in How History and Philosophy Can Contribute to Science Education. In , International Handbook of Research in History, Philosophy and Science Teaching. Springer. 19-56.
    The pendulum has had immense scientific, cultural, social and philosophical impact. Historical, methodological and philosophical studies of pendulum motion can assist teachers to improve science education by developing enriched curricular material, and by showing connections between pendulum studies and other parts of the school programme, especially mathematics, social studies, technology and music. The pendulum is a universal topic in high-school science programmes and some elementary science courses; an enriched approach to its study can result in deepened science literacy across the (...)
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  16. added 2014-12-04
    Keith Augustine & Michael Martin (eds.) (forthcoming). The Myth of an Afterlife: The Case Against Life After Death. Rowman & Littlefield.
    Because every single one of us will die, most of us would like to know what—if anything—awaits us afterward, not to mention the fate of lost loved ones. Given the nearly universal vested interest we personally have in deciding this question in favor of an afterlife, it is no surprise that the vast majority of books on the topic affirm the reality of life after death without a backward glance. But the evidence of our senses and the ever-gaining strength of (...)
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  17. added 2014-12-02
    Peter Garik, Luciana Garbayo, Yann Benétreau-Dupin, Charles Winrich, Andrew Duffy, Nicholas Gross & Manher Jariwala (forthcoming). Teaching the Conceptual History of Physics to Physics Teachers. Science and Education.
    For nearly a decade we have taught the history and philosophy of science as part of courses aimed at the professional development of physics teachers. The focus of the history of science instruction is on the stages in the development of the concepts and theories of physics. For this instruction, we designed activities to help the teachers organize their understanding of this historical development. The activities include scientific modeling using archaic theories. We conducted surveys to gauge the impact on the (...)
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  18. added 2014-12-01
    C. Mantzavinos (2006). Comment on Nancy Cartwright's 'Against the System'. In Christoph Engel Lorraine Daston (ed.), Is There Value in Inconsistency? 57-62.
  19. added 2014-11-28
    Bertold Schweitzer (forthcoming). From Malfunction to Mechanism. Philosophia Scientiæ 19 (1).
    Malfunctions, deficits, and errors provide considerable insight into key features of the entities in which they occur. In particular, the careful analysis of patterns of functioning and malfunctioning facilitate discovery, explanation and theorizing about structure, function, and underlying mechanisms of a system. In some cases, malfunctions even supply the unique probe into the internal workings of a system. This essay analyzes methods used by various disciplines involving malfunctions such as mutations, visual illusions, action slips, or speech errors, and identities common (...)
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  20. added 2014-11-28
    Bertold Schweitzer (forthcoming). Modelling Mechanisms of Democratic Transition in the Arab Uprisings. Middle East Critique 24 (1).
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  21. added 2014-11-28
    Bertold Schweitzer (2013). ‘Vom Fehler im Gegenstand zur Theorie über den Gegenstand’: Wissenschaftstheorie und interdisziplinäres Arbeiten. In Michael Jungert, Elsa Romfeld, Thomas Sukopp & Uwe Voigt (eds.), Interdisziplinarität: Theorie, Praxis, Probleme. Wissenschaftliche Buchgesellschaft. 109-126.
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  22. added 2014-11-28
    Bertold Schweitzer & Klaus Gilgenmann (2005). Strukturelle Analogien bei biotischer und soziokultureller Evolution. Erwägen Wissen Ethik 16 (3):421–424.
    The article by B. Stephan (this issue) describes characteristics and stages of change of sociobiological and socio-cultural units. However, neither analogy nor evolutionary and developmental concept are sufficiently precise. In addition, Stephan pays no attention to structural analogies between biotic and cultural change, and therefore comes to the misguided assessment that socio-cultural change is to be construed as a developmental rather than an evolutionary process.
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  23. added 2014-11-28
    Bertold Schweitzer (2003). Heuristik von einem rationalen Standpunkt. In Wolfgang Buschlinger & Christoph Lütge (eds.), Kaltblütig: Philosophie von einem rationalen Standpunkt. Hirzel. 107-126.
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  24. added 2014-11-26
    Maureen O'Malley, Ingo Brigandt, Alan C. Love, John W. Crawford, Jack A. Gilbert, Rob Knight, Sandra D. Mitchell & Forest Rohwer (2014). Multilevel Research Strategies and Biological Systems. Philosophy of Science 81:811-828.
    Multilevel research strategies characterize contemporary molecular inquiry into biological systems. We outline conceptual, methodological, and explanatory dimensions of these multilevel strategies in microbial ecology, systems biology, protein research, and developmental biology. This review of emerging lines of inquiry in these fields suggests that multilevel research in molecular life sciences has significant implications for philosophical understandings of explanation, modeling, and representation.
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  25. added 2014-11-23
    Barbara Herrnstein Smith (2009). Review of Steven Shapin, The Scientific Life. [REVIEW] London Review of Books 31 (3):10-12.
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  26. added 2014-11-20
    C. Mantzavinos (forthcoming). Scientific Explanation. In International Encyclopedia of Social and Behavioral Sciences. Elsevier.
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  27. added 2014-11-20
    Hyundeuk Cheon (2014). Meta-Incommensurability Revisited. Theoria. An International Journal for Theory, History and Foundations of Science 80:243-259.
    A popular rejoinder to the potential threat that incommensurability might pose to scientific realism has been the referential response: despite meaning variance, there can be referential continuity, which is sufficient for rational theory choice. This response has been charged with meta-incommensurability, according to which it begs the question by assuming a realist metaphysics. However, realists take it to be a rhetorical device that hinders productive discussion. By reconstructing the debate, this paper aims to demonstrate two things. First, there are unexpected (...)
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  28. added 2014-11-20
    C. Mantzavinos (2013). Explanatory Games. Journal of Philosophy (November 2013).
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  29. added 2014-11-19
    Markus Seidel (forthcoming). Changing Society by Scientific Investigations? The Unexpected Shared Ground Between Early Sociology of Knowledge and the Vienna Circle. Foundations of Science:1-12.
    In this paper, I show that there are important but hitherto unnoticed similarities between key figures of the Vienna Circle and early defenders of sociology of knowledge. The similarities regard their stance on potential implications of the study of science for political and societal issues. I argue that notably Otto Neurath and Karl Mannheim are concerned with proposing a genuine political philosophy of science that is remarkably different from today’s emerging interest in the relation between science and society in philosophy (...)
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  30. added 2014-11-19
    Marie I. Kaiser, Maria Kronfeldner & Robert Meunier (2014). Interdisciplinarity in Philosophy of Science. Journal for General Philosophy of Science 45 (1):59-70.
    This paper examines various ways in which philosophy of science can be interdisciplinary. It aims to provide a map of relations between philosophy and sciences, some of which are interdisciplinary. Such a map should also inform discussions concerning the question “How much philosophy is there in the philosophy of science?” In Sect. 1, we distinguish between synoptic and collaborative interdisciplinarity. With respect to the latter, we furthermore distinguish between two kinds of reflective forms of collaborative interdisciplinarity. We also briefly explicate (...)
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  31. added 2014-11-17
    Hugh Lacey (forthcoming). Science, Respect for Nature, and Human Well-Being: Democratic Values and the Responsibilities of Scientists Today. Foundations of Science:1-17.
    The central question addressed is: How should scientific research be conducted so as to ensure that nature is respected and the well being of everyone everywhere enhanced? After pointing to the importance of methodological pluralism for an acceptable answer and to obstacles posed by characterizing scientific methodology too narrowly, which are reinforced by the ‘commercial-scientific ethos’, two additional questions are considered: How might research, conducted in this way, have impact on—and depend on—strengthening democratic values and practices? And: What is thereby (...)
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  32. added 2014-11-17
    Sheldon Richmond (2014). Book Review: Why Things Matter to People: Science, Values and Ethical Life. [REVIEW] Philosophy of the Social Sciences 44 (6):837-839.
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  33. added 2014-11-15
    David Ludwig (forthcoming). Indigenous and Scientific Kinds. British Journal for the Philosophy of Science.
    The aim of this article is to discuss the relation between indigenous and scientific kinds on the basis of contemporary ethnobiological research. I argue that ethnobiological accounts of taxonomic convergence-divergence patters challenge common philosophical models of the relation between folk concepts and natural kinds. Furthermore, I outline a positive model of taxonomic convergence-divergence patterns that is based on Slater's [2014] notion of “stable property clusters” and Franklin-Hall's [2014] discussion of natural kinds as “categorical bottlenecks.” Finally, I argue that this model (...)
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  34. added 2014-11-12
    Pedro Karczmarczyk (2013). La ruptura epsitemológica de Bachelard a Balibar y Pêcheux. Estudios de Epistemología 10:09-33.
    Resumen: En el presente trabajo intentaremos analizar cierta serie o tradi-ción de reflexiones sobre el conocimiento científico que lo caracteri-zan por su discontinuidad en relación al conocimiento ordinario osentido común. El origen de esta serie puede localizarse en la obrade Gaston Bachelard y su peculiar estudio de los actos epistemológicoscon los que se rompe con el pasado en una disciplina científica. Estosactos contrastan con lo que este autor califica como el “mitocontinuista” del empirismo. Esta posición será apropiada porAlthusser y desarrollada (...)
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  35. added 2014-11-11
    Shannon Spaulding (forthcoming). Phenomenology of Social Cognition. Erkenntnis.
    Can phenomenological evidence play a decisive role in accepting or rejecting social cognition theories? Is it the case that a theory of social cognition ought to explain and be empirically supported by our phenomenological experience? There is serious disagreement about the answers to these questions. This paper aims to determine the methodological role of phenomenology in social cognition debates. The following three features are characteristic of evidence capable of playing a substantial methodological role: novelty, reliability, and relevance. I argue that (...)
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  36. added 2014-11-08
    Marion Godman (forthcoming). The Special Science Dilemma and How Culture Solves It. Australasian Journal of Philosophy:1-18.
    I argue that there is a tension between the claim that at least some kinds in the special sciences are multiply realized and the claim that the reason kinds are prized by science is that they enter into a variety of different empirical generalizations. Nevertheless, I show that this tension ceases in the case of ‘cultural homologues’–such as specific ideologies, religions, and folk wisdom. I argue that the instances of such special science kinds do have several projectable properties in common (...)
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  37. added 2014-11-07
    C. Turner (forthcoming). Travels Without a Donkey: The Adventures of Bruno Latour. History of the Human Sciences.
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  38. added 2014-11-04
    Michael J. Shaffer (forthcoming). Approximate Truth, Quasi-Factivity and Evidence. Acta Analytica.
    The main question addressed in this paper is whether some false sentences can constitute evidence for the truth of other propositions. In this paper it is argued that there are good reasons to suspect that at least some false propositions can (at least some times) constitute evidence for the truth of certain other contingent propositions. The paper also introduces a novel condition concerning propositions that constitute evidence that explains a ubiquitous evidential practice and it contains a defense of a particular (...)
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  39. added 2014-11-02
    Machiel Keestra (2014). Mirrors of the Soul and Mirrors of the Brain? The Expression of Emotions as the Subject of Art and Science. In Gary Schwartz (ed.), Emotions. Pain and pleasure in Dutch painting of the Golden Age. nai010 publishers. 81-92.
    Is it not surprising that we look with so much pleasure and emotion at works of art that were made thousands of years ago? Works depicting people we do not know, people whose backgrounds are usually a mystery to us, who lived in a very different society and time and who, moreover, have been ‘frozen’ by the artist in a very deliberate pose. It was the Classical Greek philosopher Aristotle who observed in his Poetics that people could apparently be moved (...)
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  40. added 2014-10-31
    Amir Dastmalchian, Islam, Science, and Cognitive-Propositionalism. Social Epistemology Review and Reply Collective.
  41. added 2014-10-22
    Michael R. Matthews (ed.) (2014). International Handbook of Research in History, Philosophy and Science Teaching. Springer.
    This inaugural handbook documents the distinctive research field that utilizes history and philosophy in investigation of theoretical, curricular and pedagogical issues in the teaching of science and mathematics. It is contributed to by 130 researchers from 30 countries; it provides a logically structured, fully referenced guide to the ways in which science and mathematics education is, informed by the history and philosophy of these disciplines, as well as by the philosophy of education more generally. The first handbook to cover the (...)
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  42. added 2014-10-22
    Roberto Festa (1999). Bayesian Confirmation. In M. C. Galavotti & A. Pagnini (eds.), Experience, Reality, and Scientific Explanation. Kluwer. 55–87.
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  43. added 2014-10-16
    David Ellerman (forthcoming). On Double-Entry Bookkeeping: The Mathematical Treatment. Accounting Education: An International Journal.
    Double-entry bookkeeping (DEB) implicitly uses a specific mathematical construction, the group of differences using pairs of unsigned numbers ("T-accounts"). That construction was only formulated abstractly in mathematics in the 19th century—even though DEB had been used in the business world for over five centuries. Yet the connection between DEB and the group of differences (here called the "Pacioli group") is still largely unknown both in mathematics and accounting. The precise mathematical treatment of DEB allows clarity on certain conceptual questions and (...)
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  44. added 2014-10-14
    Simon Fitzpatrick (forthcoming). Nativism, Empiricism, and Ockham’s Razor. Erkenntnis:1-28.
    This paper discusses the role that appeals to theoretical simplicity (or parsimony) have played in the debate between nativists and empiricists in cognitive science. Both sides have been keen to make use of such appeals in defence of their respective positions about the structure and ontogeny of the human mind. Focusing on the standard simplicity argument employed by empiricist-minded philosophers and cognitive scientists—what I call “the argument for minimal innateness”—I identify various problems with such arguments—in particular, the apparent arbitrariness of (...)
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  45. added 2014-10-09
    Achille C. Varzi (2014). Because. In Anne Reboul (ed.), Mind, Values, and Metaphysics. Philosophical Essays in Honor of Kevin Mulligan, Volume 1. Springer-Verlag. 253–256.
    There is a natural philosophical impulse (and, correspondingly, a great deal of pressure) to always ask for explanations, for example, explanations of why we act as we do. Kevin Mulligan has gone a very long way in disentangling the many different because’s, and the many senses of ‘because’, that tend to clutter our efforts to manage that impulse. This short dialogue is meant as a humble tribute to his work in this area.
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  46. added 2014-10-08
    Horacio Tignanelli & Yann Benétreau-Dupin (2014). Perspectives of History and Philosophy on Teaching Astronomy. In Michael R. Matthews (ed.), International Handbook of Research in History, Philosophy and Science Teaching. Springer. 603-640.
    The didactics of astronomy is a relatively young field with respect to that of other sciences. Historical issues have most often been part of the teaching of astronomy, although that often does not stem from a specific didactics. The teaching of astronomy is often subsumed under that of physics. One can easily consider that, from an educational standpoint, astronomy requires the same mathematical or physical strategies. This approach may be adequate in many cases but cannot stand as a general principle (...)
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  47. added 2014-10-05
    Carlos Zednik (forthcoming). Heuristics, Descriptions and the Scope of Mechanistic Explanation. In P. Braillard & C. Malaterre (eds.), Explanation in Biology. An Enquiry into the Diversity of Explanatory Patterns in the Life Sciences. Springer.
    The philosophical conception of mechanistic explanation is grounded on a limited number of canonical examples. These examples provide an overly narrow view of contemporary scientific practice, because they do not reflect the extent to which the heuristic strategies and descriptive practices that contribute to mechanistic explanation have evolved beyond the well-known methods of decomposition, localization, and pictorial representation. Recent examples from evolutionary robotics and network approaches to biology and neuroscience demonstrate the increasingly important role played by computer simulations and mathematical (...)
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  48. added 2014-10-02
    Leszek Wroński (forthcoming). Reichenbach's Paradise. De Gruyter Open.
    Since its introduction by Hans Reichenbach, many philosophers have claimed to refute the idea – known as the common cause principle – that any surprising correlation between any two factors that do not directly influence one another is due to some common cause. For example, falsity of the principle is frequently inferred from falsifiability of Bell’s inequalities. The author demonstrates, however, that the situation is not so straightforward. There is more than one version of the principle formulated with the use (...)
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  49. added 2014-09-29
    Howard Sankey (2014). Scientific Realism and Basic Common Sense. Kairos 10:11-24.
    This paper considers the relationship between science and common sense. It takes as its point of departure, Eddington’s distinction between the table of physics and the table of common sense, as well as Eddington’s suggestion that science shows common sense to be false. Against the suggestion that science shows common sense to be false, it is argued that there is a form of common sense, basic common sense, which is not typically overthrown by scientific research. Such basic common sense is (...)
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  50. added 2014-09-28
    Timothy Perrine (2015). Undermining Truthmaker Theory. Synthese 192 (1):185-200.
    Truthmaker theorists hold that there is a metaphysically explanatory relation that holds between true claims and what exists. While some critics try to provide counterexamples to truthmaker theory, that response quickly leads to a dialectical standoff. The aim of this paper is to move beyond that standoff by attempting to undermine some standard arguments for truthmaker theory. Using realism about truth and a more pragmatic account of explanation, I show how some of those arguments can be undermined.
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