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Profile: Aidan Lyon (University of Maryland, College Park)
  1. Aidan Lyon (2014). Why Are Normal Distributions Normal? British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 65 (3):621-649.
    It is usually supposed that the central limit theorem explains why various quantities we find in nature are approximately normally distributed—people's heights, examination grades, snowflake sizes, and so on. This sort of explanation is found in many textbooks across the sciences, particularly in biology, economics, and sociology. Contrary to this received wisdom, I argue that in many cases we are not justified in claiming that the central limit theorem explains why a particular quantity is normally distributed, and that in some (...)
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  2. Aidan Lyon (2012). Mathematical Explanations Of Empirical Facts, And Mathematical Realism. Australasian Journal of Philosophy 90 (3):559 - 578.
    A main thread of the debate over mathematical realism has come down to whether mathematics does explanatory work of its own in some of our best scientific explanations of empirical facts. Realists argue that it does; anti-realists argue that it doesn't. Part of this debate depends on how mathematics might be able to do explanatory work in an explanation. Everyone agrees that it's not enough that there merely be some mathematics in the explanation. Anti-realists claim there is nothing mathematics can (...)
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  3. Aidan Lyon (2010). Deterministic Probability: Neither Chance nor Credence. Synthese 182 (3):413-432.
    Some have argued that chance and determinism are compatible in order to account for the objectivity of probabilities in theories that are compatible with determinism, like Classical Statistical Mechanics (CSM) and Evolutionary Theory (ET). Contrarily, some have argued that chance and determinism are incompatible, and so such probabilities are subjective. In this paper, I argue that both of these positions are unsatisfactory. I argue that the probabilities of theories like CSM and ET are not chances, but also that they are (...)
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  4. Aidan Lyon (2010). Philosophy of Probablilty. In Fritz Allhoff (ed.), Philosophies of the Sciences: A Guide. Wiley-Blackwell.
    In the philosophy of probability there are two central questions we are concerned with. The first is: what is the correct formal theory of probability? Orthodoxy has it that Kolmogorov’s axioms are the correct axioms of probability. However, we shall see that there are good reasons to consider alternative axiom systems. The second central question is: what do probability statements mean? Are probabilities “out there”, in the world as frequencies, propensities, or some other objective feature of reality, or are probabilities (...)
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  5. Aidan Lyon (2010). Philosophy of the Exact Sciences: Philosophy of Logic / Otávio Bueno. Philosophy of Mathematics / Otávio Bueno. Philosophy of Probablilty. In Fritz Allhoff (ed.), Philosophies of the Sciences. Wiley-Blackwell.
  6. Aidan Lyon & Mark Colyvan (2008). The Explanatory Power of Phase Spaces. Philosophia Mathematica 16 (2):227-243.
    David Malament argued that Hartry Field's nominalisation program is unlikely to be able to deal with non-space-time theories such as phase-space theories. We give a specific example of such a phase-space theory and argue that this presentation of the theory delivers explanations that are not available in the classical presentation of the theory. This suggests that even if phase-space theories can be nominalised, the resulting theory will not have the explanatory power of the original. Phase-space theories thus raise problems for (...)
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