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Profile: Bert Leuridan (University of Antwerp)
  1. Brendan Clarke, Bert Leuridan & Jon Williamson (2013). Modelling Mechanisms with Causal Cycles. Synthese:1-31.
    Mechanistic philosophy of science views a large part of scientific activity as engaged in modelling mechanisms. While science textbooks tend to offer qualitative models of mechanisms, there is increasing demand for models from which one can draw quantitative predictions and explanations. Casini et al. (Theoria 26(1):5–33, 2011) put forward the Recursive Bayesian Networks (RBN) formalism as well suited to this end. The RBN formalism is an extension of the standard Bayesian net formalism, an extension that allows for modelling the hierarchical (...)
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  2. José Díez, Kareem Khalifa & Bert Leuridan (2013). General Theories of Explanation: Buyer Beware. Synthese 190 (3):379-396.
    We argue that there is no general theory of explanation that spans the sciences, mathematics, and ethics, etc. More specifically, there is no good reason to believe that substantive and domain-invariant constraints on explanatory information exist. Using Nickel (Noûs 44(2):305–328, 2010 ) as an exemplar of the contrary, generalist position, we first show that Nickel’s arguments rest on several ambiguities, and then show that even when these ambiguities are charitably corrected, Nickel’s defense of general theories of explanation is inadequate along (...)
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  3. Bert Leuridan & Erik Weber (2013). Causality and Explanation in the Sciences: The Rest of the Best. [REVIEW] Erkenntnis 78 (2):147-151.
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  4. Bert Leuridan (2012). Three Problems for the Mutual Manipulability Account of Constitutive Relevance in Mechanisms. British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 63 (2):399-427.
    In this article, I present two conceptual problems for Craver's mutual manipulability account of constitutive relevance in mechanisms. First, constitutive relevance threatens to imply causal relevance despite Craver (and Bechtel)'s claim that they are strictly distinct. Second, if (as is intuitively appealing) parthood is defined in terms of spatio-temporal inclusion, then the mutual manipulability account is prone to counterexamples, as I show by a case of endosymbiosis. I also present a methodological problem (a case of experimental underdetermination) and formulate two (...)
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  5. Bert Leuridan (2012). What Are Mechanisms in Social Science? Metascience 21 (2):395-398.
    What are mechanisms in social science? Content Type Journal Article Category Book Review Pages 1-4 DOI 10.1007/s11016-011-9610-9 Authors Bert Leuridan, Centre for Logic and Philosophy of Science, Ghent University, Blandijnberg 2, Room 2.03, 9000 Ghent, Belgium Journal Metascience Online ISSN 1467-9981 Print ISSN 0815-0796.
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  6. Bert Leuridan & Anton Froeyman (2012). On Lawfulness in History and Historiography. History and Theory 51 (2):172-192.
    The use of general and universal laws in historiography has been the subject of debate ever since the end of the nineteenth century. Since the 1970s there has been a growing consensus that general laws such as those in the natural sciences are not applicable in the scientific writing of history. We will argue against this consensus view, not by claiming that the underlying conception of what historiography is—or should be—is wrong, but by contending that it is based on a (...)
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  7. Bert Leuridan & Erik Weber (2012). Causality and Explanation in the Sciences. Theoria: Revista de Teoría, Historia y Fundamentos de la Ciencia 27 (2):133-136.
    Editors’ introduction to the special issue on the Causality and Explanation in the Sciences conference, held at the University of Ghent in September 2011.Presentación del número monográfico sobre el congreso Causality and Explanation in the Sciences, celebrado en la Universidad de Gante en septiembre de 2011.
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  8. Maarten Boudry & Bert Leuridan (2011). Where the Design Argument Goes Wrong: Auxiliary Assumptions and Unification. Philosophy of Science 78 (4):558-578.
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  9. Bert Leuridan & Erik Weber (2011). The IARC and Mechanistic Evidence. In Phyllis Illari, Federica Russo & Jon Williamson (eds.), Causality in the Sciences. Oxford University Press. 91--109.
    The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) is an organization which seeks to identify the causes of human cancer. Per agent, such as betel quid or Human Papillomaviruses, they review the available evidence deriving from epidemiological studies, animal experiments and information about mechanisms (and other data). The evidence of the different groups is combined such that an overall assessment of the carcinogenicity of the agent in question is obtained. In this paper, we critically review the IARC’s carcinogenicity evaluations. First (...)
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  10. Bert Leuridan (2010). Can Mechanisms Really Replace Laws of Nature? Philosophy of Science 77 (3):317-340.
    Today, mechanisms and mechanistic explanation are very popular in philosophy of science and are deemed a welcome alternative to laws of nature and deductive‐nomological explanation. Starting from Mitchell's pragmatic notion of laws, I cast doubt on their status as a genuine alternative. I argue that (1) all complex‐systems mechanisms ontologically must rely on stable regularities, while (2) the reverse need not hold. Analogously, (3) models of mechanisms must incorporate pragmatic laws, while (4) such laws themselves need not always refer to (...)
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  11. Bert Leuridan (2009). Causal Discovery and the Problem of Ignorance. An Adaptive Logic Approach. Journal of Applied Logic 7 (2):188-205.
    In this paper, I want to substantiate three related claims regarding causal discovery from non-experimental data. Firstly, in scientific practice, the problem of ignorance is ubiquitous, persistent, and far-reaching. Intuitively, the problem of ignorance bears upon the following situation. A set of random variables V is studied but only partly tested for (conditional) independencies; i.e. for some variables A and B it is not known whether they are (conditionally) independent. Secondly, Judea Pearl’s most meritorious and influential algorithm for causal discovery (...)
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  12. Bert Leuridan, Erik Weber & Maarten Van Dyck (2008). The Practical Value of Spurious Correlations: Selective Versus Manipulative Policy. Analysis 68 (4):298 - 303.
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  13. Bert Leuridan, Erik Weber & Maarten Van Dyck (2008). The Practical Value of Spurious Correlations: Selective Versus Manipulative Policy. Analysis 68 (300):298-303.
    In the past 25 years, many philosophers have endorsed the view that the practical value of causal knowledge lies in the fact that manipulation of causes is a good way to bring about a desired change in the effect. This view is intuitively very plausible. For instance, we can predict a storm on the basis of a barometer reading, but we cannot avoid the storm by manipulating the state of the barometer (barometer status and storm are effects of a common (...)
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  14. Erik Weber & Bert Leuridan (2008). Counterfactual Causality, Empirical Research and the Role of Theory in the Social Sciences (Review Essay). [REVIEW] Historical Methods 41 (4):197-201.
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  15. Bert Leuridan (2007). Galton's Blinding Glasses. Modern Statistics Hiding Causal Structure in Early Theories of Inheritance. In Federica Russo & Jon Williamson (eds.), Causality and Probability in the Sciences. 243--262.
  16. Bert Leuridan (2007). Supervenience: Its Logic and its Inferential Role in Classical Genetics. Logique Et Analyse 198:147-171.