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General Philosophy of Science

Assistant editor: Justin Bzovy (University of Western Ontario)
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  1. Garth J. O. Fletcher & Patrick S. G. Kerr (2009). Why Dispositions Won't Go Away. Behavior and Philosophy 37:119 - 125.
    This commentary discusses the major claims and arguments presented by Field and Hineline (2008) against the general use of dispositional causal explanations in science and psychology and in favor of an alternative account that applies to cases in which causes and behavioral effects are separated over time. We conclude that their central claims and arguments are weak or implausible, and that the dispositional explanatory strategy emerges unscathed.
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    Scientific Method
     Evidence
     Confirmation
     Induction
     Probabilistic Reasoning
     Scientific Change
     Inference to the Best Explanation
     Theoretical Virtues
     Scientific Method, Misc
    Explanation
     Theories of Explanation
     Varieties of Explanation
     Explanation in the Sciences
     Explanation, Misc
    History of Science
     History of Psychology
     History of Neuroscience
     History of Biology
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     History of Cognitive Science
     History of Chemistry
     History of Science, Misc
    Laws of Nature
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     Best-Systems Analyses
     Ceteris Paribus Laws
     Humeanism and Nonhumeanism about Laws
     Lawlikeness
     Laws as Relations between Universals
     Necessitarianism about Laws
     Nomological Necessity
     Probabilistic Laws
     Special Science Laws
     Laws of Nature, Misc
     Explanation and Laws
     Causation and Laws
     Dispositions and Laws
    General Phil of Science, Miscellaneous
     Logical Empiricism
     Nature of Science
     Science and Religion
     General Phil of Science, Misc
    Interlevel Relations in Science
     Emergence
     Reduction
     Interlevel Metaphysics
     Metaphysics of Mind
     Physicalism
     Realization
     Supervenience
     Unity of Science
     Interlevel Relations in Biology
     Interlevel Relations in Cognitive Science
     Interlevel Relations in Physical Science
     Interlevel Relations in Science, Misc
    Scientific Change
     Evolutionary Epistemology
     Conceptual Change in Science
     Convergent Realism
     Incommensurability in Science
     Research Programs
     Science and Values
     Scientific Change, Misc
     Scientific Progress
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     Theory Change
    Scientific Language
     Cognitive Significance in Science
     Conceptual Change in Science
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     Ramsey Sentences
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    Scientific Practice
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     Arguments For and Against Scientific Realism
     Truth and Verisimilitude
     Scientific Realism, Misc
    Sociology of ScienceTheories and Models
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  2. Lawrence E. Fraley (1994). Uncertainty About Determinism: A Critical Review of Challenges to the Determinism of Modern Science. Behavior and Philosophy 22 (2):71 - 83.
    Contemporary scientific determinism is a grand induction from scientific experience. Limitations on measurement of the kind represented by the Heisenberg uncertainty principle have thrown doubt on deterministic philosophy. But the case against determinism does not stand examination. Scientific support for deterministic philosophy continues to be justified.
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    Scientific Method
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     Theoretical Virtues
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    Explanation
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     Explanation in the Sciences
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    History of Science
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    Laws of Nature
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     Best-Systems Analyses
     Ceteris Paribus Laws
     Humeanism and Nonhumeanism about Laws
     Lawlikeness
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     Nomological Necessity
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     Laws of Nature, Misc
     Explanation and Laws
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    General Phil of Science, Miscellaneous
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    Interlevel Relations in Science
     Emergence
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     Unity of Science
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    Sociology of ScienceTheories and Models
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  3. Peter R. Killeen (2003). The Yins and the Yangs of Science. Behavior and Philosophy 31:251 - 258.
    Like the Tai Chi of the title, effective action is a blend of two modalities, the yang of science, the yin of desire. Without yang we are blind, without yin we don't look. Signal Detection Theory takes a line from this ancient book of changes. It clarifies why scientists—mavens of society's knowledge—must resist the temptation to arrogate their community's desire; and politicians—personifications of society's will—must resist the temptation to corrupt their community's data. Each can help the other understand, on the (...)
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    Explanation
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    History of Science
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    Laws of Nature
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     Lawlikeness
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     Explanation and Laws
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     Dispositions and Laws
    General Phil of Science, Miscellaneous
     Logical Empiricism
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    Interlevel Relations in Science
     Emergence
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    Sociology of ScienceTheories and Models
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     Models and Idealization
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  4. J. J. McDowell (1990). An Historical Fable About a New Form of Scholarship. Behavior and Philosophy 18 (1):55 - 57.
    The widespread outbreak of cognitive prefixism in psychology and related disciplines may be one manifestation of an heretofore unrecognized development in intellecual history, namely, the application of empirical argumentation to propositions about nonmaterial entities.
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    Scientific Method
     Evidence
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     Inference to the Best Explanation
     Theoretical Virtues
     Scientific Method, Misc
    Explanation
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     Explanation in the Sciences
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    History of Science
     History of Psychology
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    Laws of Nature
     Anti-Realism about Laws
     Best-Systems Analyses
     Ceteris Paribus Laws
     Humeanism and Nonhumeanism about Laws
     Lawlikeness
     Laws as Relations between Universals
     Necessitarianism about Laws
     Nomological Necessity
     Probabilistic Laws
     Special Science Laws
     Laws of Nature, Misc
     Explanation and Laws
     Causation and Laws
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    General Phil of Science, Miscellaneous
     Logical Empiricism
     Nature of Science
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    Interlevel Relations in Science
     Emergence
     Reduction
     Interlevel Metaphysics
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     Realization
     Supervenience
     Unity of Science
     Interlevel Relations in Biology
     Interlevel Relations in Cognitive Science
     Interlevel Relations in Physical Science
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    Scientific Change
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    Scientific Realism
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     Arguments For and Against Scientific Realism
     Truth and Verisimilitude
     Scientific Realism, Misc
    Sociology of ScienceTheories and Models
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  5. William O'Donohue & Jeffrey A. Buchanan (2001). The Weaknesses of Strong Inference. Behavior and Philosophy 29:1 - 20.
    Platt's 1964 paper "Strong Inference" (SI), published in Science, has had considerable influence upon the conception of the nature of the scientific method held in both the social and physical sciences. Platt suggests that a four-step method of specifying hypotheses and conducting critical experiments that systematically eliminate alternatives has been responsible for progress in the history of the successful sciences and, if adopted, will allow the less successful sciences to make greater progress. This paper criticizes SI on a number of (...)
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    Scientific Method
     Evidence
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     Scientific Change
     Inference to the Best Explanation
     Theoretical Virtues
     Scientific Method, Misc
    Explanation
     Theories of Explanation
     Varieties of Explanation
     Explanation in the Sciences
     Explanation, Misc
    History of Science
     History of Psychology
     History of Neuroscience
     History of Biology
     History of Physics
     History of Cognitive Science
     History of Chemistry
     History of Science, Misc
    Laws of Nature
     Anti-Realism about Laws
     Best-Systems Analyses
     Ceteris Paribus Laws
     Humeanism and Nonhumeanism about Laws
     Lawlikeness
     Laws as Relations between Universals
     Necessitarianism about Laws
     Nomological Necessity
     Probabilistic Laws
     Special Science Laws
     Laws of Nature, Misc
     Explanation and Laws
     Causation and Laws
     Dispositions and Laws
    General Phil of Science, Miscellaneous
     Logical Empiricism
     Nature of Science
     Science and Religion
     General Phil of Science, Misc
    Interlevel Relations in Science
     Emergence
     Reduction
     Interlevel Metaphysics
     Metaphysics of Mind
     Physicalism
     Realization
     Supervenience
     Unity of Science
     Interlevel Relations in Biology
     Interlevel Relations in Cognitive Science
     Interlevel Relations in Physical Science
     Interlevel Relations in Science, Misc
    Scientific Change
     Evolutionary Epistemology
     Conceptual Change in Science
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     Scientific Progress
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    Sociology of ScienceTheories and Models
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  6. David C. Palmer (2009). How Shall We Account for Variance? Behavior and Philosophy 37:151 - 155.
    Field and Hineline have shown how pervasive and insidious is the tendency to make dispositional attributions, even among those who criticize the practice, and they identify a bias for models of contiguous causation as one reason for this tendency. They argue that order can be found at multiple scales of analysis and that in some cases a translation to a model of contiguous causation is impossible. I suggest that pragmatic considerations are sufficient to justify a particular scale of analysis and (...)
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     Theoretical Virtues
     Scientific Method, Misc
    Explanation
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     Explanation in the Sciences
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    History of Science
     History of Psychology
     History of Neuroscience
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    Laws of Nature
     Anti-Realism about Laws
     Best-Systems Analyses
     Ceteris Paribus Laws
     Humeanism and Nonhumeanism about Laws
     Lawlikeness
     Laws as Relations between Universals
     Necessitarianism about Laws
     Nomological Necessity
     Probabilistic Laws
     Special Science Laws
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     Explanation and Laws
     Causation and Laws
     Dispositions and Laws
    General Phil of Science, Miscellaneous
     Logical Empiricism
     Nature of Science
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    Interlevel Relations in Science
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     Interlevel Metaphysics
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     Supervenience
     Unity of Science
     Interlevel Relations in Biology
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     Interlevel Relations in Physical Science
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     Scientific Realism, Misc
    Sociology of ScienceTheories and Models
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  7. Stephanie C. Petrusz & Michael T. Turvey (2009). Dispositioning and the Sciences of Complexity. Behavior and Philosophy 37:135 - 140.
    Field and Hineline use the term dispositioning to refer to the tendency to privilege spatially and temporally local entities in psychological explanation. In our commentary we offer reasons for agreeing with their claim that dispositioning is overly prevalent and should be avoided. Drawing on lessons from the sciences of complexity and the ecological approach to perception and action, we suggest some directions for a new approach to explanation in psychology and in science generally.
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     Scientific Realism, Misc
    Sociology of ScienceTheories and Models
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     Underdetermination of Theory by Data
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  8. William A. Rottschaefer (2003). Assessing the Role of Non-Epistemic Feminist Values in Scientific Inquiry. Behavior and Philosophy 31:225 - 249.
    In this paper I examine the feminist claim that non-epistemic values ought to play a role in scientific inquiry. I examine four holist arguments that non-epistemic values ought to play a role not only in the external aspects of scientific inquiry such as problem selection and the ethics of experimentation but also in its internal aspects, those that have to do with epistemic justification. In supporting their conclusion, I argue that they establish that the traditional external/internal distinction has served as (...)
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    Explanation
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    History of Science
     History of Psychology
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    Laws of Nature
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     Lawlikeness
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     Dispositions and Laws
    General Phil of Science, Miscellaneous
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    Interlevel Relations in Science
     Emergence
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    Sociology of ScienceTheories and Models
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