Alexander James Bird Bristol University
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  • Faculty, Bristol University
  • PhD, Cambridge University, 1991.

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  1. Alexander Bird, Concepts and Definitions of Consciousness.
    in Encyclopedia of Consciousness, ed. William P. Banks, Amsterdam: Elsevier, forthcoming in 2009.
     
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  2. Alexander Bird & Johannes Persson (forthcoming). Synthese Vol 149 No. 3 Metaphysics in Science. Synthese.
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  3. Alexander Bird (2014). Laws and Lawmakers: Science, Metaphysics, and the Laws of Nature. Philosophical Review 123 (1):116-118.
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  4. Alexander Bird (2013). Fred Gifford (Ed.): Philosophy of Medicine. [REVIEW] Theoretical Medicine and Bioethics 34 (1):53-57.
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  5. A. Bird (2012). The Structure of Scientific Revolutions and its Significance: An Essay Review of the Fiftieth Anniversary Edition. [REVIEW] British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 63 (4):859-883.
    Kuhn’s Structure of Scientific Revolutions is one of the most cited books of the twentieth century. Its iconic and controversial nature has obscured its message. What did Kuhn really intend with Structure and what is its real significance? -/- 1 Introduction -/- 2 The Central Ideas of Structure -/- 3 The Philosophical Targets of Structure -/- 4 Interpreting and Misinterpreting Structure -/- 4.1 Naturalism -/- 4.2 World-change -/- 4.3 Incommensurability -/- 4.4 Progress and the nature of revolutionary change -/- 4.5 (...)
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  6. Alexander Bird (2012). 10 Kuhn, Naturalism, and the Social Study of Science. In Vasō Kintē & Theodore Arabatzis (eds.), Kuhn's the Structure of Scientific Revolutions Revisited. Routledge. 205.
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  7. Alexander Bird (2012). La filosofía de la historia de la ciencia de Thomas Kuhn. Discusiones Filosóficas 13 (21):167 - 185.
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  8. Alexander Bird (2012). Monastic Dispositional Essentialism. In Alexander Bird, B. D. Ellis & Howard Sankey (eds.), Properties, Powers, and Structures: Issues in the Metaphysics of Realism. Routledge. 35--41.
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  9. Alexander Bird (2012). Referring to Natural Kind Thingamajigs, and What They Are: A Reply to Needham. International Studies in the Philosophy of Science 26 (1):103 - 109.
    Natural kind terms appear to behave like singular terms. If they were genuine singular terms, appearing in true sentences, that would be some reason to believe that there are entities to which the terms refer, the natural kinds. Paul Needham has attacked my arguments that natural kind terms are singular, referring expressions. While conceding the correctness of some of his criticisms, I defend and expand on the underlying view in this paper. I also briefly sketch an account of what natural (...)
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  10. Alexander Bird (2012). The Philosophy of History of Science of Thomas Kuhn. Discusiones Filosóficas 13 (21):167 - 185.
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  11. Alexander Bird (2012). What Can Cognitive Science Tell Us About Scientific Revolutions? Theoria: Revista de Teoría, Historia y Fundamentos de la Ciencia 27 (3):293-321.
    Kuhn’s Structure of Scientific Revolutions is notable for the readiness with which it drew on the results of cognitive psychology. These naturalistic elements were not well received and Kuhn did not subsequently develop them in his published work. Nonetheless, in a philosophical climate more receptive to naturalism, we are able to give a more positive evaluation of Kuhn’s proposals. Recently, philosophers such as Nersessian, Nickles, Andersen, Barker, and Chen have used the results of work on case-based reasoning, analogical thinking, dynamic (...)
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  12. Alexander Bird, B. D. Ellis & Howard Sankey (eds.) (2012). Properties, Powers, and Structures: Issues in the Metaphysics of Realism. Routledge.
    While the phrase "metaphysics of science" has been used from time to time, it has only recently begun to denote a specific research area where metaphysics meets philosophy of science—and the sciences themselves. The essays in this volume demonstrate that metaphysics of science is an innovative field of research in its own right. The principal areas covered are: (1) The modal metaphysics of properties: What is the essential nature of natural properties? Are all properties essentially categorical? Are they all essentially (...)
     
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  13. Alexander Bird & James Ladyman (eds.) (2012). Arguing About Science. Routledge.
    Arguing About Science is an outstanding, engaging introduction to the essential topics in philosophy of science, edited by two leading experts in the field. This exciting and innovative anthology contains a selection of classic and contemporary readings that examine a broad range of issues, from classic problems such as scientific reasoning; causation; and scientific realism, to more recent topics such as science and race; forensic science; and the scientific status of medicine. The editors bring together some of the most influential (...)
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  14. Mark Newman, Raffaella Campaner, Maria Carla Galavotti, Open Biomedical Ontologies, Sabina Leonelli, Nathalie Gontier, Natural Kind Thingamajigs, Paul Needham & Alexander Bird (2012). International Studies in the Philosophy of Science. Philosophy of Science 26 (1).
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  15. Alexander Bird (2011). Lange and Laws, Kinds, and Counterfactuals. In Joseph Keim Campbell, Michael O'Rourke & Matthew H. Slater (eds.), Carving Nature at its Joints. MIT Press.
    In this paper I examine and question Marc Lange’s account of laws, and his claim that the law delineating the range of natural kinds of fundamental particle has a lesser grade of necessity that the laws connecting the fundamental properties of those kinds with their derived properties.
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  16. Katherine Hawley & Alexander Bird (2011). What Are Natural Kinds?1. Philosophical Perspectives 25 (1):205-221.
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  17. Alexander Bird (2010). Causation and the Manifestation of Powers. In Anna Marmodoro (ed.), The Metaphysics of Powers: Their Grounding and Their Manifestations. Routledge.
    It is widely agreed that many causal relations can be regarded as dependent upon causal relations that are in some way more basic. For example, knocking down the first domino in a row of one hundred dominoes will be the cause of the hundredth domino falling. But this causal relation exists in virtue of the knocking of the first domino causing the falling of the second domino, and so forth. In such a case, A causes B in virtue of there (...)
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  18. Alexander Bird (2010). Discovering the Essences of Natural Kinds. In Helen Beebee & Nigel Sabbarton-Leary (eds.), The Semantics and Metaphysics of Natural Kinds. Routledge.
     
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  19. Alexander Bird (2010). Eliminative Abduction: Examples From Medicine. Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 41 (4):345-352.
    Peter Lipton argues that inference to the best explanation involves the selection of a hypothesis on the basis of its loveliness. I argue that in optimal cases, a form of eliminative induction takes place, which I call ‘Holmesian inference’. I illustrate Holmesian inference by reference to examples from the history of medicine.
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  20. Alexander Bird (2010). Social Knowing: The Social Sense of 'Scientific Knowledge'. Philosophical Perspectives 24 (1):23-56.
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  21. Alexander Bird (2010). The Epistemology of Science—a Bird's-Eye View. Synthese 175 (1):5 - 16.
    In this paper I outline my conception of the epistemology of science, by reference to my published papers, showing how the ideas presented there fit together. In particular I discuss the aim of science, scientific progress, the nature of scientific evidence, the failings of empiricism, inference to the best (or only) explanation, and Kuhnian psychology of discovery. Throughout, I emphasize the significance of the concept of scientific knowledge.
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  22. Lucy Allais, Louise Antony, Elizabeth Barnes, John Bigelow, Alexander Bird, Ross P. Cameron, John Campbell & Roberto Casati (2009). Notes on The. In Robin Le Poidevin (ed.), The Routledge Companion to Metaphysics. Routledge.
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  23. Alexander Bird (2009). … And Then Again, He Might Not Be. Australasian Journal of Philosophy 87 (3):517-521.
    In reply to Michael Bertrand, I clarify my view that the problem of physical evil is not an a priori problem but an a posteriori one.
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  24. Alexander Bird (2009). Essences and Natural Kinds. In Robin Le Poidevin (ed.), The Routledge Companion to Metaphysics. Routledge. 497--506.
    Essentialism as applied to individuals is the claim that for at least some individuals there are properties that those individuals possess essentially. What it is to possess a property essentially is a matter of debate. To possess a property essentially is often taken to be akin to possessing a property necessarily, but stronger, although this is not a feature of Aristotle’s essentialism, according to which essential properties are those thing could not lose without ceasing to exist. Kit Fine (1994) takes (...)
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  25. Alexander Bird (2009). Inductive Knowledge. In D. Pritchard (ed.), Routledge Companion to Epistemology. Routledge.
    The first obstacle that confronts the student of induction is that of defining the subject matter. One initial point is to note that much of the relevant subject matter goes under the description ‘the theory of confirmation’. The distinction is primarily that the study of induction concerns inference, i.e. cases where one takes the conclusion to be established by the evidence, whereas confirmation concerns the weight of evidence, which one may take to be something like the credibility of a hypothesis (...)
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  26. Alexander Bird (2009). Kripke. In Christopher Belshaw & Gary Kemp (eds.), 12 Modern Philosophers. Wiley-Blackwell. 153--72.
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  27. Alexander Bird (2009). Structural Properties Revisited. In Toby Handfield (ed.), Dispositions and Causes. Clarendon Press. 215--41.
    Those who hold that all fundamental sparse properties have dispositional essences face a problem with structural (e.g. geometrical) properties. In this paper I consider a further route for the dispositional monist that is enabled by the requirement that physical theories should be background-free. If this requirement is respected then we can see how spatial displacement can be a causally active relation and hence may be understood dispositionally.
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  28. Emma Tobin & Alexander Bird, Natural Kinds. Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
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  29. A. Bird & T. Handfield (2008). Dispositions, Rules and Finks. Philosophical Studies 140 (2):285-98.
    This paper discusses the prospects of a dispositional solution to the Kripke-Wittgenstein rule-following puzzle. Recent attempts to repair dispositional approaches to this puzzle have appealed to the ideas of finks and antidotes - interfering dispositions and conditions - to explain why the rule-following disposition is not always manifested. We argue that this approach fails: agents cannot be supposed to have straightforward dispositions to follow a rule which are in some fashion masked by other, contrary dispositions of the agent, because in (...)
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  30. Alexander Bird (2008). Causal Exclusion and Evolved Emergent Properties. In Ruth Groff (ed.), Revitalizing Causality: Realism About Causality in Philosophy and Social Science. Routledge. 163--78.
    Emergent properties are intended to be genuine, natural higher level causally efficacious properties irreducible to physical ones. At the same time they are somehow dependent on or 'emergent from' complexes of physical properties, so that the doctrine of emergent properties is not supposed to be returned to dualism. The doctrine faces two challenges: (i) to explain precisely how it is that such properties emerge - what is emergence; (ii) to explain how they sidestep the exclusion problem - how it is (...)
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  31. Alexander Bird (2008). Lowe on a Posteriori Essentialism. Analysis 68 (4):336 - 344.
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  32. Alexander Bird (2008). Review of Alexander Bird, Nature's Metaphysics: Laws and Properties. [REVIEW] Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews 2008 (6).
    This is a rewarding book. In terms of area, it has one foot firmly planted in metaphysics and the other just as firmly set in the philosophy of science. Nature's Metaphysics is distinctive for its thorough and detailed defense of fundamental, natural properties as essentially dispositional and for its description of how these dispositional properties are thus suited to sustain the laws of nature as (metaphysically) necessary truths.
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  33. Alexander Bird (2008). Remarks on Our Knowledge of Modal Facts. Norsk Filosofisk Tidsskrift 43:54--60.
    Can we have a posteriori knowledge of modal facts? And if so, is that knowledge fundamentally a posteriori, or does a priori intuition provide the modal component of what is known? Though the latter view seems more straightforward, there are also reasons for taking the first option seriously.
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  34. Alexander Bird (2008). Review of Stephen Mumford, David Armstrong. [REVIEW] Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews 2008 (5).
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  35. Alexander Bird (2008). Scientific Progress as Accumulation of Knowledge: A Reply to Rowbottom. Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 39 (2):279-281.
    I defend my view that scientific progress is constituted by the accumulation of knowledge against a challenge from Rowbottom in favour of the semantic view that it is only truth that is relevant to progress.
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  36. Alexander Bird (2008). The Epistemological Argument Against Lewis's Regularity View of Laws. Philosophical Studies 138 (1):73–89.
    I argue for the claim that if Lewis’s regularity theory of laws were true, we could not know any positive law statement to be true. Premise 1: According to that theory, for any law statement true of the actual world, there is always a nearby world where the law statement is false (a world that differs with respect to one matter of particular fact). Premise 2: One cannot know a proposition to be true if it is false in a nearby (...)
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  37. Alexander Bird (2008). The Historical Turn in the Philosophy of Science. In Stathis Psillos & Martin Curd (eds.), Routledge Companion to the Philosophy of Science. Routledge. 67--77.
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  38. Alexander Bird, Thomas Kuhn. Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
    The Structure of Scientific Revolutions is one of the most cited academic books of all time. His contribution to the philosophy science marked not only a break with several key positivist doctrines but also inaugurated a new style of philosophy of science that brought it much closer to the history of science. His account of the development of science held that science enjoys periods of stable growth punctuated by revisionary revolutions, to which he added the controversial ‘incommensurability thesis’, that theories (...)
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  39. Alexander Bird & Emma Tobin (2008). Natural Kinds. In Edward N. Zalta (ed.), Standford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
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  40. Toby Handfield & Alexander Bird (2008). Dispositions, Rules, and Finks. Philosophical Studies 140 (2):285 - 298.
    This paper discusses the prospects of a dispositional solution to the Kripke–Wittgenstein rule-following puzzle. Recent attempts to employ dispositional approaches to this puzzle have appealed to the ideas of finks and antidotes—interfering dispositions and conditions—to explain why the rule-following disposition is not always manifested. We argue that this approach fails: agents cannot be supposed to have straightforward dispositions to follow a rule which are in some fashion masked by other, contrary dispositions of the agent, because in all cases, at least (...)
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  41. Alexander Bird (2007). A Posteriori Knowledge of Natural Kind Essences. Philosophical Topics 35 (1-2):293-312.
    I defend this claim that some natural essences can be known (only) a pos- teriori against two philosophers who accept essentialism but who hold that essences are known a priori: Joseph LaPorte, who argues from the use of kind terms in science, and E. J. Lowe, who argues from general metaphysical and epistemological principles.
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  42. Alexander Bird (2007). Incommensurability Naturalized. In L'ena Soler, Howard Sankey & Paul Hoyningen-Huene (eds.), Rethinking Scientific Change and Theory Comparison. Spinger. 21--39.
    In this paper I argue that we can understand incommensurability in a naturalistic, psychological manner. Cognitive habits can be acquired and so differ between individuals. Drawing on psychological work concerning analogical thinking and thinking with schemata, I argue that incommensurability arises between individuals with different cognitive habits and between groups with different shared cognitive habits.
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  43. Alexander Bird (2007). Inference to the Only Explanation. [REVIEW] Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 74 (2):424–432.
    Philosophy and Phenomenological Research (forthcoming).
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  44. Alexander Bird (2007). Inference to the Only Explanation. [REVIEW] Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 74 (2):424--32.
    I propose that in some cases we may infer the truth of an hypothesis, since it is the only hypothesis left unrefuted by the evidence (a la Sherlock Holmes). Peter Lipton's description of the Semmelweis case seems to provide an example of this. But he takes it to be a case of interence to the best (loveliest) explanation. I locate this source of difference of opinion in Lipton's equation of evidence with (non-factive) observation. This equation gives us too little evidence; (...)
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  45. Alexander Bird (2007). Justified Judging. Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 74 (1):81–110.
    When is a belief or judgment justified? One might be forgiven for thinking the search for single answer to this question to be hopeless. The concept of justification is required to fulfil several tasks: to evaluate beliefs epistemically, to fill in the gap between truth and knowledge, to describe the virtuous organization of one’s beliefs, to describe the relationship between evidence and theory (and thus relate to confirmation and probabilification). While some of these may be held to overlap, the prospects (...)
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  46. Alexander Bird (2007). Justified Judging. Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 74 (1):81-110.
    Traditional approaches to epistemology have sought, unsuccessfully, to define knowledge in terms of justification. I follow Timothy Williamson in arguing that this is misconceived and that we should take knowledge as our fundamental epistemological notion. We can then characterise justification as a certain sort of approximation to knowledge. A judgement is justified if and only if the reason (if there is one) for a failure to know is to be found outside the subject's mental states; that is, justified judging is (...)
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  47. Alexander Bird (2007). Nature's Metaphysics: Laws and Properties. Oxford University Press.
    Professional philosophers and advanced students working in metaphysics and the philosophy of science will find this book both provocative and stimulating.
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  48. Alexander Bird (2007). Scientific and Theological Realism. In A. Moore & M. Scott (eds.), Realism and Religion. Ashgate. 61-81.
  49. Alexander Bird (2007). The Regress of Pure Powers? Philosophical Quarterly 57 (229):513–534.
    Dispositional monism is the view that natural properties and relations are ‘pure powers’. It is objected that dispositional monism involves some kind of vicious or otherwise unpalatable regress or circularity. I examine ways of making this objection precise. The most pressing interpretation is that is fails to make the identities of powers determinate. I demonstrate that this objection is in error. It does however puts certain constraints on what the structure of fundamental properties is like. I show what a satisfactory (...)
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  50. Alexander Bird (2007). Underdetermination and Evidence. In Bradley John Monton (ed.), Images of Empiricism: Essays on Science and Stances, with a Reply From Bas C. Van Fraassen. Oxford University Press.
    I present an argument that encapsulates the view that theory is underdetermined by evidence. I show that if we accept Williamson's equation of evidence and knowledge, then this argument is question-begging. I examine ways of defenders of underdetermination may avoid this criticism. I also relate this argument and my critique to van Fraassen's constructive empiricism.
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  51. Alexander Bird (2007). What is Scientific Progress? Noûs 41 (1):64–89.
    I argue that scientific progress is precisely the accumulation of scientific knowledge.
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  52. N. Belnap, A. Bird, E. Cogan, F. Dechesne, H. P. van Ditmarsch, I. Douven, K. Hawley, M. P. Lynch, P. McBurney & W. Meijs (2006). van Otterloo, S., 255. Synthese 149:579.
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  53. A. Bird (2006). Defending Science -- Within Reason: Between Scientism and Cynicism. Philosophical Review 115 (1):131-133.
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  54. Alexander Bird (2006). Looking for Laws. Metascience 15:441-54.
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  55. Alexander Bird (2006). Potency and Modality. Synthese 149 (3):447-52.
    Let us call a property that is essentially dispositional a potency.1 David Armstrong thinks that potencies do not exist. All sparse properties are essentially categorical, where sparse properties are the explanatory properties of the type science seeks to discover. An alternative view, but not the only one, is that all sparse properties are potencies or supervene upon them. In this paper I shall consider the differences between these views, in particular the objections Armstrong raises against potencies.
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  56. Alexander Bird (ed.) (2006). Rethinking Explanation.
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  57. Alexander Bird (2006). Selection and Explanation. In , Rethinking Explanation. Springer. 131--136.
    Selection explanations explain some non-accidental generalizations in virtue of a selection process. Such explanations are not particulaizable - they do not transfer as explanations of the instances of such generalizations. This is unlike many explanations in the physical sciences, where the explanation of the general fact also provides an explanation of its instances (i.e. standard D-N explanations). Are selection explanations (e.g. in biology) therefore a different kind of explanation? I argue that to understand this issue, we need to see that (...)
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  58. Alexander Bird & Johannes Persson (2006). Introduction. Synthese 149 (3):445-450.
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  59. Alexander Bird (2005). Abductive Knowledge and Holmesian Inference. In Tamar Szabo Gendler & John Hawthorne (eds.), Oxford Studies in Epistemology. Oxford University Press. 1--31.
    The usual, comparative, conception of inference to the best explanation (IBE) takes it to be ampliative. In this paper I propose a conception of IBE ('Holmesian inference') that takes it to be a species of eliminative induction and hence not ampliative. This avoids several problems for comparative IBE (for example, how could it be reliable enough to generate knowledge?). My account of Holmesian inference raises the suspicion that it could never be applied, on the grounds that scientific hypotheses are inevitably (...)
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  60. Alexander Bird (2005). Explanation and Metaphysics. Synthese 143 (1-2):89-107.
    Is the nature of explanation a metaphysical issue? Or has it more to do with psychology and pragmatics? To put things in a different way: what are primary relata in an explanation? What sorts of thing explain what other sorts of thing? David Lewis identifies two senses of ‘explanation’ (Lewis 1986, 217–218). In the first sense, an explanation is an act of explaining. I shall call this the subjectivist sense, since its existence depends on some subject doing the explaining. Hence (...)
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  61. Alexander Bird (2005). Abductive Knowledge and Holmesian Inference. In Tamar Szabo Gendler John Hawthorne (ed.), Oxford Studies in Epistemology. Oxford University Press. 1--31.
    The usual, comparative, conception of Inference to the Best Explanation (IBE) takes it to be ampliative. In this paper I propose a conception of IBE (‘Holmesian inference’) that takes it to be a species of eliminative induction and hence not ampliative. This avoids several problems for comparative IBE (e.g. how could it be reliable enough to generate knowledge?). My account of Holmesian inference raises the suspicion that it could never be applied, on the grounds that scientific hypotheses are inevitably underdetermined (...)
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  62. Alexander Bird (2005). Laws and Essences. Ratio 18 (4):437–461.
    Those who favour an ontology based on dispositions are thereby able to provide a dispositional essentialist account of the laws of nature. In part 1 of this paper I sketch the dispositional essentialist conception of properties and the concomitant account of laws. In part 2, I characterise various claims about the modal character of properties that fall under the heading ‘quidditism’ and which are consequences of the categoricalist view of properties, which is the alternative to the dispositional essentialist view. I (...)
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  63. Alexander Bird (2005). The Dispositionalist Conception of Laws. Foundations of Science 10 (4):353-70.
    This paper sketches a dispositionalist conception of laws and shows how the dispositionalist should respond to certain objections. The view that properties are essentially dispositional is able to provide an account of laws that avoids the problems that face the two views of laws (the regularity and the contingent nomic necessitation views) that regard properties as categorical and laws as contingent. I discuss and reject the objections that (i) this view makes laws necessary whereas they are contingent; (ii) this view (...)
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  64. Alexander Bird (2005). The Ultimate Argument Against Armstrong's Contingent Necessitation View of Laws. Analysis 65 (286):147-55.
    I show that Armstrong’s view of laws as second-order contingent relations of ‘necessitation’ among categorical properties faces a dilemma. The necessitation relation confers a relation of extensional inclusion (‘constant conjunction’) on its relata. It does so either necessarily or contingently. If necessarily, it is not a categorical relation (in the relevant sense). If contingently, then an explanation is required of how it confers extensional inclusion. That explanation will need to appeal to a third-order relation between necessitation and extensional inclusion. The (...)
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  65. Alexander Bird (2005). Unexpected a Posteriori Necessary Laws of Nature. Australasian Journal of Philosophy 83 (4):533 – 548.
    In this paper I argue that it is not a priori that all the laws of nature are contingent. I assume that the fundamental laws are contingent and show that some non-trivial, a posteriori, non-basic laws may nonetheless be necessary in the sense of having no counterinstances in any possible world. I consider a law LS (such as 'salt dissolves in water') that concerns a substance S. Kripke's arguments concerning constitution show that the existence of S requires that a certain (...)
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  66. Alexander Bird (2005). V *-Naturalizing Kuhn. Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society 105 (1):99-117.
    I argue that the naturalism of Thomas Kuhn's "The Structure of Scientific Revolutions," which he himself later ignored, is worthy of rehabilitation. A naturalistic conception of paradigms is ripe for development with the tools of cognitive science. As a consequence a naturalistic understanding of world-change and incommensurability is also viable.
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  67. A. Bird (2004). Kuhn and Twentietch Century Philosophy of Science. Annals of the Japan Association for Philosophy of Science 12:1-14.
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  68. Alexander Bird (2004). Antidotes All the Way Down? Theoria 19 (3):259-269.
    This paper concerns the relationship between dispositions and ceteris paribus laws. Dispositions are related to conditionals. Typically a fragile glass will break if struck with force. But possession of the disposition does not entail the corresponding simple (subjunctive or counterfactual) conditional. The phenomena of finks and antidotes show that an object may possess the disposition without the conditional being true. Finks and antidotes may be thought of as exceptions to the straightforward relation between disposition and conditional. The existence of these (...)
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  69. Alexander Bird (2004). Antidotes All the Way Down? Theoria 19 (3):259–69.
    Dispositions are related to conditionals. Typically a fragile glass will break if struck with force. But possession of the disposition does not entail the corresponding simple (subjunctive or counterfactual) conditional. The phenomena of finks and antidotes show that an object may possess the disposition without the conditional being true. Finks and antidotes may be thought of as exceptions to the straightforward relation between disposition and conditional. The existence of these phenomena are easy to demonstrate at the macro-level. But do they (...)
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  70. Alexander Bird (2004). Can Scientific Practices Put Norms Back Into Nature? Metascience 13 (1):106-108.
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  71. Alexander Bird (2004). First Page Preview. International Studies in the Philosophy of Science 18 (2-3).
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  72. Alexander Bird (2004). Is Evidence Non-Inferential? Philosophical Quarterly 54 (215):252–265.
    Evidence is often taken to be foundational, in that while other propositions may be inferred from our evidence, evidence propositions are themselves not inferred from anything. I argue that this conception is false, since the non-inferential propositions on which beliefs are ultimately founded may be forgotten or undermined in the course of enquiry.
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  73. Alexander Bird (2004). Is Knowledge Non-Inferential? Philosophical Quarterly:252-65.
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  74. Alexander Bird (2004). Kuhn, Naturalism and the Positivist Legacy. Studies in History and Philosophy of Science 35 (2):337-56.
    I defend against criticism the following claims concening Thomas Kuhn: (i) there is a strong naturalist streak in The structure of scientific revolutions, whereby Kuhn used the results of a posteriori enquiry in addressing philosophical questions; (ii) as Kuhn's career as a philosopher of science developed he tended to drop the naturalistic elements and to replace them with more traditionally philosophical a prior approaches; (iii) at the same there is a significant residue of positivist thought in Kuhm, which Kuhn did (...)
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  75. Alexander Bird (2004). Kuhn on Reference and Essence. Philosophia Scientiae 8 (1):39-71.
    Kuhn's incommensurability thesis seems to challenge scientific realism. One response to that challenge is to focus on the continuity of reference. The casual theory of reference in particular seems to offer the possibility of continuity of reference that woud provide a basis for the sort of comparability between theories that the realist requires. In "Dubbing and Redubbing: the vulnerability of rigid designation" Kuhn attacks the causal theory and the essentialism to which is is related. Kuhn's view is defended by Rupert (...)
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  76. Alexander Bird (2004). Naturalizing Kuhn. Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society 105 (1):99–117.
    I argue that the naturalism of Thomas Kuhn’s The Structure of Scientific Revolutions, which he himself later ignored, is worthy of rehabilitation. A naturalistic conception of paradigms is ripe for development with the tools of cognitive science. As a consequence a naturalistic understanding of world-change and incommensurability is also viable.
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  77. Alexander Bird (2004). Oof! Foundations of Science 152:1-18.
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  78. Alexander Bird (2004). Strong Necessitarianism: The Nomological Identity of Possible Worlds. Ratio 17 (3):256–276.
    Dispositional essentialism, a plausible view about the natures of (sparse or natural) properties, yields a satisfying explanation of the nature of laws also. The resulting necessitarian conception of laws comes in a weaker version, which allows differences between possible worlds as regards which laws hold in those worlds and a stronger version that does not. The main aim of this paper is to articulate what is involved in accepting the stronger version, most especially the consequence that all possible properties exist (...)
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  79. M. Suárez & A. Bird (2004). Dispositions, Causes and Propensities in Science, Special Monographic Issue Of. Theoria 51.
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  80. A. Bird (2003). Dictionary of Literary Biography.
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  81. A. Bird (2003). Fundamentals of Philosophy. Routledge.
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  82. A. Bird (2003). Nozick's Fourth Condition. Facta Philosophica 4:141-51.
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  83. A. Bird (2003). Thomas Samuel Kuhn. In Dictionary of Literary Biography.
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  84. Alexander Bird (2003). Kuhn, Nominalism, and Empiricism. Philosophy of Science 70 (4):690-719.
    In this paper I draw a connection between Kuhn and the empiricist legacy, specifically between his thesis of incommensurability, in particular in its later taxonomic form, and van Fraassen's constructive empiricism. I show that if it is the case the empirically equivalent but genuinely distinct theories do exist, then we can expect such theories to be taxonomically incommensurable. I link this to Hacking's claim that Kuhn was a nominalist. I also argue that Kuhn and van Fraassen do not differ as (...)
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  85. Alexander Bird (2003). Resemblance Nominalism and Counterparts. Analysis 63 (3):221–228.
    In his (2002) Gonzalo Rodriguez-Pereyra provides a powerful articulation of the claim that Resemblance Nominalism provides the best answer to the so-called Problem of Universals. Resemblance Nominalism has not been popular for some time, and one influential reason for this is the widespread belief that Resemblance Nominalism cannot dispense with all universals. The realist critics appeal to what is known as Russell’s Regress (cf. Russell 1997). If properties are to be explained in terms of one object’s resembling another, then this (...)
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  86. Alexander Bird (2003). Review: Science, Truth, and Democracy. [REVIEW] Mind 112 (448):746-749.
  87. Alexander Bird (2003). Structural Properties. In Gonzalo Rodriguez-Pereyra & Hallvard Lillehammer (eds.), Real Metaphysics. Routledge. 155-68.
    Dispositional essentialists claim that dispositional properties are essentially dispositional: a property would not be the property it is unless it carried with it certain dispositional powers. Categoricalists about dispositional properties deny this, asserting that the same properties might have had different dispositional powers, had the contingent laws of nature been otherwise.
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  88. Alexander Bird (2003). Science, Truth, and Democracy. Mind 112 (448):746-749.
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  89. Alexander Bird (2003). Three Conservative Kuhns. Social Epistemology 17 (2 & 3):127 – 133.
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  90. A. Bird (2002). What is in a Paradigm? Richmond Journal of Philosophy 1:11-20.
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  91. Alexander Bird (2002). Illocutionary Silencing. Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 83 (1):1–15.
    Rae Langton and Jennifer Hornsby have argued that pornography might create a climate whereby a woman’s ability to refuse sex is literally silenced or removed. Their central argument is that a failure of ‘uptake’ of the woman’s intention means that the illocutionary speech act of refusal has not taken place. In this paper, I challenge the claims from the Austinian philosophy of language which feature in this argument. I argue that uptake is not in general required for illocution, nor is (...)
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  92. Alexander Bird (2002). Kuhn's Wrong Turning. Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 33 (3):443-463.
    Why, despite his enormous influence in the latter part of the twentieth century, has Kuhn left no distinctively Kuhnian legacy? I argue that this is because the development of Kuhn’s own thought was in a direction opposite to that of the mainstream of the philosophy of science. In the 1970s and 1980s the philosophy of science took on board the lessons of externalism as regards reference and knowledge, and became more sympathetic to a naturalistic approach to philosophical problems. Kuhn, on (...)
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  93. Alexander Bird (2002). Laws and Criteria. Canadian Journal of Philosophy 32 (4):511-42.
    Debates concerning the analysis of the concept of law of nature must address the following problem. On the one hand, our grasp of laws of nature is via our knowledge of their instances. And this seems not only an epistemological truth but also a semantic one. The concept of a law of nature must be explicated in terms of the things that instantiate the law. It is not simply that a piece of metal that conducts electricity is evidence for a (...)
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  94. Alexander Bird (2002). On Whether Some Laws Are Necessary. Analysis 62 (3):257–270.
    In 'Necessarily, salt dissolves in water' (Analysis 61 (2001)), I argued that because the laws required for the existence of salt entail the laws that ensure dissolving in water, there is no possible world in which salt exists but fails to dissolve in water. In this paper I respond to criticisms from Helen Beebee and Stathis Psillos (Analysis 62 (2002)). I also introduce the 'down-and-up' structure, generalising the case. Whether or not this structure is instantiated is a matter for a (...)
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  95. Alexander Bird & James Robert Brown (2002). Reviews-Thomas Kuhn. British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 53 (1):143-150.
     
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  96. Alexander Bird (2001). David Armstrong, Charlie Martin, and Ullin Place, Edited by Tim Crane Dispositions: A Debate; Stephen Mumford Dispositions. British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 52 (1):137-149.
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  97. Alexander Bird (2001). Necessarily, Salt Dissolves in Water. Analysis 61 (4):267–274.
    In this paper I aim to show that a certain law of nature, namely that common salt (sodium chloride) dissolves in water, is metaphysically necessary. The importance of this result is that it conflicts with a widely shared intuition that the laws of nature (most if not all) are contingent. There have been debates over whether some laws, such as Newton’s second law, might be definitional of their key terms and hence necessary. But the law that salt dissolves in water (...)
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  98. Alexander Bird (2001). Scepticism and Contrast Classes. Analysis 61 (2):97–107.
    1. Contextualism seeks to acknowledge the power of sceptical arguments while permitting to be true at least some of the assertions of knowledge and justification we commonly make. It seems to me now just as if I am in an office in Edinburgh. According to the sceptic the claim that I am in fact in an office in Edinburgh is unjustified, since there is no reason I can give for this belief that is not also consistent with (or undermined by) (...)
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  99. A. Bird (2000). Il Concetto di Metodo Scientifico E Spegazione. Interpretare:116-49.
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  100. Alexander Bird (2000). Further Antidotes: A Response to Gundersen. Philosophical Quarterly 50 (199):229-233.
    In my 'Dispositions and Antidotes', The Philosophical Quarterly, 48 (1998), I raise an objection to the conditional analysis of dispositions, both in its simple formulation and in a more sophisticated version due to David Lewis, The Philosophical Quarterly, 47 (1997). The objection suggests that a disposition may be continuously present and the appropriate stimulus occur without the manifestation occurring, because some outside influence, an antidote, interferes. Gundersen in The Philosophical Quarterly, 50 (2000), argues that my objection rests on an equivocation (...)
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  101. Alexander Bird (2000). Thomas Kuhn. Acumen.
     
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  102. Alexander Bird (1999). Explanation and Laws. Synthese 120 (1):1--18.
    In this paper I examine two aspects of Hempel’s covering-law models of explanation. These are (i) nomic subsumption and (ii) explication by models. Nomic subsumption is the idea that to explain a fact is to show how it falls under some appropriate law. This conception of explanation Hempel explicates using a pair of models, where, in this context, a model is a template or pattern such that if something fits it, then that thing is an explanation. A range of well-known (...)
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  103. Alexander Bird (1999). Scientific Revolutions and Inference to the Best Explanation. Danish Yearbook of Philosophy 34:25--42.
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  104. Alexander Bird (1998). Dispositions and Antidotes. Philosophical Quarterly 48 (191):227-234.
    In ‘Finkish Dispositions’1 David Lewis proposes an analysis of dispositions which improves on the simple conditional analysis. In this paper I show that Lewis’ analysis still fails. I also argue that repairs are of no avail, and suggest why this is so.
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  105. Alexander Bird (1998). Philosophy of Science. University College London Press.
    The third volume in McGill-Queen's University Press's Fundamentals of Philosophy series, Philosophy of Science is an engaging and accessible introduction to the main themes of contemporary philosophy of science.
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  106. A. Bird (1997). Review. The Metaphysics of Science. C Dilworth. British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 48 (2):284-286.
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  107. Alexander Bird (1997). Review. [REVIEW] British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 48 (2):149-151.
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  108. Alexander Bird (1997). The Logic in Logicism. Dialogue 36 (02):341--60.
    Frege's logicism consists of two theses: (1) the truths of arithmetic are truths of logic; (2) the natural numbers are objects. In this paper I pose the question: what conception of logic is required to defend these theses? I hold that there exists an appropriate and natural conception of logic in virtue of which Hume's principle is a logical truth. Hume's principle, which states that the number of Fs is the number of Gs iff the concepts F and G are (...)
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  109. Craig Dilworth & Alexander Bird (1997). The Metaphysics of Science. British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 48 (2):284-286.
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  110. A. Bird (1996). Review: Karl Popper. The Myth of the Framework. Knowledge and the Body-Mind Problem. [REVIEW] British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 47 (1):149-151.
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  111. Alexander Bird (1996). Review. [REVIEW] British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 47 (1):149-151.
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  112. Alexander Bird (1996). Squaring the Circle: Hobbes on Philosophy and Geometry. Journal of the History of Ideas 57 (2):217–31.
    Hobbes' geometrical disputes are significant since they highlight several important strands in his thought - issues concerning the right to make definitions, his anti-clericalism, the maker's knowledge argument and his objections to algebra. These are examined, and the foundational position, according to Hobbes, of geomentry in relation to philosophy, science and technology, explained and discussed.
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  113. Alexander Bird (1996). The Logical Status of Diagrams. Philosophical Books 37 (1):50-51.
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  114. Karl Popper & Alexander Bird (1996). The Myth of the Framework Knowledge and the Body-Mind Problem. British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 47 (1):149-151.
     
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  115. Alexander Bird (1994). European Review of Philosophy, Volume 1: Philosophy of Mind. Stanford: CSLI Publications.
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  116. Alexander Bird (1994). Naming and Reference. Philosophical Books 35 (1):49-51.
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  117. Alexander Bird (1994). Rationality and the Structure of Self-Deception. In European Review of Philosophy, Volume 1: Philosophy of Mind. Stanford: CSLI Publications. 19-38.
     
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  118. Alexander Bird (1991). Pursuit of Truth. Philosophical Books 32 (4):235-237.
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  119. Alexander Bird, Are Natural Kinds Reducible?
    We talk as if there are natural kinds and in particular we quantify over them. We can count the number of elements discovered by Sir Humphrey Davy, or the number of kinds of particle in the standard model. Consequently, it looks at first sight at least, that natural kinds are entities of a sort. In the light of this we may ask certain questions: is the apparent existence of natural kinds real or an illusion? And if real, what sort of (...)
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  120. Alexander Bird, Book Reviews. [REVIEW]
    This book is part of the Fundamentals in Philosophy series, edited by John Shand, offering introductions to core areas of philosophy which are “not mere bland expositions, and as such are original pieces of philosophy in their own right”. Alexander Bird’s book meets this remit admirably. In my review I shall concentrate on the philosophical argument of the work and set aside its merits as a student text though they compare well with rivals currently on offer.
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  121. Alexander Bird, (For Routledge Companion to Epistemology).
    In this article I take a loose, functional approach to defining induction: Inductive forms of reasoning include those prima facie reasonable inference patterns that one finds in science and elsewhere that are not clearly deductive. Inductive inference is often taken to be reasoning from the observed to the unobserved. But that is incorrect, since the premises of inductive inferences may themselves be the results of prior inductions. A broader conception of inductive inference regards any ampliative inference as inductive, where an (...)
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  122. Alexander Bird, Kuhn and Philosophy of Science in the Twentieth Century.
    Thomas Kuhn was undoubtedly the strongest influence on the philosophy of science in the last third of the twentieth century. Yet today, at the beginning of the twenty-first century it is unclear what his legacy really is. In the philosophy of science there is no characteristically Kuhnian school. This could be because we are all Kuhnians now. But it might also be because Kuhn’s thought, although revolutionary in its time, has since been superseded. In a sense both may be true. (...)
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