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Profile: Darrell Rowbottom (Lingnan University)
  1. Darrell Patrick Rowbottom, In Defence of Popper On the Logical Possibility of Universal Laws: A Reply to Contessa.
    This paper is a critique of Contessa’s (in the same issue). First, I show that Popper in The Logic of Scientific Discovery argues against the view that the logical probability of a hypothesis is identical to its degree of confirmation (or corroboration), rather than against Bayesianism. Second, I explain that his argument to this effect does not depend on the assumption that ‘the universe is infinite’. Third, and finally, I refine Popper’s case by developing an argument which requires only that (...)
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  2. Darrell Patrick Rowbottom, Kuhn Versus Popper on Science Education: A Response to Richard Bailey.
    In a recent contribution to Learning for Democracy, Richard Bailey argues that Thomas Kuhn advocated an indoctrinatory model of science education, which is fundamentally authority-based. While agreeing with Bailey’s conclusion, this article suggests that Kuhn was attempting to solve an important problem which Bailey only touches on – how to ensure that science students do not become hypercritical. It continues by offering a critical rationalist solution to this problem, arguing that paradigms qua exemplars should be historical problem-solving episodes, rather than (...)
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  3. Darrell Patrick Rowbottom, On the Significance of 'World 3' for the Depersonalization of Inquiry and the Democratization of Education.
    This article explores the practical significance of the notion of ‘World 3’ – a domain of abstract entities – for inquiry and education. First, it explains how ‘objectifying’ our thoughts and statements, viz. treating them as if they are objective, can help in inquiry to: promote impartiality towards ideas on the basis of their source and the manner in which they are presented; enable more effective communication; and encourage wider participation in debates. Second, the article examines how ‘objectification’ can be (...)
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  4. Darrell P. Rowbottom (forthcoming). Intuitions in Science: Thought Experiments as Argument Pumps. In Anthony R. Booth & Darrell P. Rowbottom (eds.), Intuitions.
    In this piece, I advocate and motivate a new understanding of thought experiments, which avoids problems with the rival accounts of Brown and Norton.
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  5. Darrell P. Rowbottom (forthcoming). Information Versus Knowledge in Confirmation Theory. Logique Et Analyse.
    I argue that so-called 'background knowledge' in confirmation theory has little, if anything, to do with 'knowledge' in the sense of mainstream epistemology. I argue that it is better construed as 'background information', which need not be believed in, justified, or true.
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  6. Anthony Robert Booth & Darrell P. Rowbottom (eds.) (2014). Intuitions. Oxford University Press.
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  7. Darrell P. Rowbottom (2014). Aimless Science. Synthese 191 (6):1211-1221.
    This paper argues that talk of ‘the aim of science’ should be avoided in the philosophy of science, with special reference to the way that van Fraassen sets up the difference between scientific realism and constructive empiricism. It also argues that talking instead of ‘what counts as success in science as such’ is unsatisfactory. The paper concludes by showing what this talk may be profitably replaced with, namely specific claims concerning science that fall into the following categories: descriptive, evaluative, normative, (...)
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  8. Darrell P. Rowbottom (2013). Bertrand's Paradox Revisited: Why Bertrand's 'Solutions' Are All Inapplicable. Philosophia Mathematica 21 (1):110-114.
    This paper shows that Bertrand's proposed 'solutions' to his own question, which generates his chord paradox, are inapplicable. It uses a simple analogy with cake cutting. The problem is that none of Bertrand's solutions considers all possible cuts. This is no solace for the defenders of the principle of indifference, however, because it emerges that the paradox is harder to solve than previously anticipated.
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  9. Darrell P. Rowbottom (2013). Empirical Evidence Claims Are a Priori. Synthese 190 (14):2821-2834.
    This paper responds to Achinstein’s criticism of the thesis that the only empirical fact that can affect the truth of an objective evidence claim such as ‘e is evidence for h’ (or ‘e confirms h to degree r’) is the truth of e. It shows that cases involving evidential flaws, which form the basis for Achinstein’s objections to the thesis, can satisfactorily be accounted for by appeal to changes in background information and working assumptions. The paper also argues that the (...)
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  10. Darrell P. Rowbottom (2013). Group Level Interpretations of Probability: New Directions. Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 94 (2):188-203.
    In this article, I present some new group level interpretations of probability, and champion one in particular: a consensus-based variant where group degrees of belief are construed as agreed upon betting quotients rather than shared personal degrees of belief. One notable feature of the account is that it allows us to treat consensus between experts on some matter as being on the union of their relevant background information. In the course of the discussion, I also introduce a novel distinction between (...)
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  11. Darrell P. Rowbottom (2013). Kuhn Vs. Popper on Criticism and Dogmatism in Science, Part II: How to Strike the Balance. Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 44 (2):161-168.
    This paper is a supplement to, and provides a proof of principle of, Kuhn vs. Popper on Criticism and Dogmatism in Science: A Resolution at the Group Level. It illustrates how calculations may be performed in order to determine how the balance between different functions in science—such as imaginative, critical, and dogmatic—should be struck, with respect to confirmation (or corroboration) functions and rules of scientific method.
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  12. Darrell P. Rowbottom (2013). Popper's Measure of Corroboration and P(H|B). British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 64 (4):axs029.
    This article shows that Popper’s measure of corroboration is inapplicable if, as Popper argued, the logical probability of synthetic universal statements is zero relative to any evidence that we might possess. It goes on to show that Popper’s definition of degree of testability, in terms of degree of logical content, suffers from a similar problem. 1 The Corroboration Function and P(h|b) 2 Degrees of Testability and P(h|b).
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  13. Darrell P. Rowbottom (2012). Identification in Games: Changing Places. Erkenntnis 77 (2):197-206.
    This paper offers a novel ‘changing places’ account of identification in games, where the consequences of role swapping are crucial. First, it illustrates how such an account is consistent with the view, in classical game theory, that only outcomes (and not pathways) are significant. Second, it argues that this account is superior to the ‘pooled resources’ alternative when it comes to dealing with some situations in which many players identify. Third, it shows how such a ‘changing places’ account can be (...)
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  14. Darrell P. Rowbottom (2012). Objective Bayesianism Defended? Metascience 21 (1):193-196.
    This is a review of Jon Williamson's 'In Defence of Objective Bayesianism'.
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  15. Darrell P. Rowbottom & R. McNeill Alexander (2012). The Role of Hypotheses in Biomechanical Research. Science in Context 25 (2):247-262.
    This paper investigates whether there is a discrepancy between the stated and actual aims in biomechanical research, particularly with respect to hypothesis testing. We present an analysis of one hundred papers recently published in The Journal of Experimental Biology and Journal of Biomechanics, and examine the prevalence of papers which (a) have hypothesis testing as a stated aim, (b) contain hypothesis testing claims that appear to be purely presentational (i.e. which seem not to have influenced the actual study), and (c) (...)
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  16. Darrell P. Rowbottom (2011). Approximations, Idealizations and 'Experiments' at the Physics-Biology Interface. Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences 42 (2):145-154.
    This paper, which is based on recent empirical research at the University of Leeds, the University of Edinburgh, and the University of Bristol, presents two difficulties which arise when condensed matter physicists interact with molecular biologists: (1) the former use models which appear to be too coarse-grained, approximate and/or idealized to serve a useful scientific purpose to the latter; and (2) the latter have a rather narrower view of what counts as an experiment, particularly when it comes to computer simulations, (...)
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  17. Darrell P. Rowbottom (2011). Kuhn Vs. Popper on Criticism and Dogmatism in Science: A Resolution at the Group Level. Studies in History and Philosophy of Science 42 (1):117-124.
    Popper repeatedly emphasised the significance of a critical attitude, and a related critical method, for scientists. Kuhn, however, thought that unquestioning adherence to the theories of the day is proper; at least for ‘normal scientists’. In short, the former thought that dominant theories should be attacked, whereas the latter thought that they should be developed and defended (for the vast majority of the time). -/- Both seem to have missed a trick, however, due to their apparent insistence that each individual (...)
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  18. Darrell P. Rowbottom (2011). Popper's Critical Rationalism: A Philosophical Investigation. Routledge.
    Popper’s Critical Rationalism presents Popper’s views on science, knowledge, and inquiry, and examines the significance and tenability of these in light of recent developments in philosophy of science, philosophy of probability, and epistemology. It develops a fresh and novel philosophical position on science, which employs key insights from Popper while rejecting other elements of his philosophy. -/- Central theses include: -/- Crucial questions about scientific method arise at the level of the group, rather than that of the individual. -/- Although (...)
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  19. Darrell P. Rowbottom (2011). Stances and Paradigms: A Reflection. Synthese 178 (1):111-119.
    This paper compares and contrasts the concept of a stance with that of a paradigm qua disciplinary matrix, in an attempt to illuminate both notions. First, it considers to what extent it is appropriate to draw an analogy between stances (which operate at the level of the individual) and disciplinary matrices (which operate at the level of the community). It suggests that despite first appearances, a disciplinary matrix is not simply a stance writ large. Second, it examines how we might (...)
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  20. Darrell P. Rowbottom (2011). The Instrumentalist's New Clothes. Philosophy of Science 78 (5):1200-1211.
    This paper develops a new version of instrumentalism, in light of progress in the realism debate in recent decades, and thereby defends the view that instrumentalism remains a viable philosophical position on science. The key idea is that talk of unobservable objects should be taken literally only when those objects are assigned properties (or described in terms of analogies involving things) with which we are experientially (or otherwise) acquainted. This is derivative from the instrumentalist tradition in so far as the (...)
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  21. Darrell P. Rowbottom (2011). What's at the Bottom of Scientific Realism? Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 42 (4):625-628.
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  22. Darrell P. Rowbottom & Sarah Jane Aiston (2011). The Use and Misuse of Taxpayers' Money: Publicly-Funded Educational Research. British Educational Research Journal 37 (4):631-655.
    How should educational research be contracted? And is there anything wrong with the way that public funding of educational research is currently administered? We endeavour to answer these questions by appeal to the work of two of the most prominent philosophers of science of the twentieth century, namely Popper and Kuhn. Although their normative views of science are radically different, we show that they would nonetheless agree on a number of key rules concerning the extent to which scientific practice should (...)
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  23. Darrell P. Rowbottom & Otávio Bueno (2011). How to Change It: Modes of Engagement, Rationality, and Stance Voluntarism. Synthese 178 (1):7-17.
    We have three goals in this paper. First, we outline an ontology of stance, and explain the role that modes of engagement and styles of reasoning play in the characterization of a stance. Second, we argue that we do enjoy a degree of control over the modes of engagement and styles of reasoning we adopt. Third, we contend that maximizing one’s prospects for change (within the framework of other constraints, e.g., beliefs, one has) also maximizes one’s rationality.
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  24. Darrell P. Rowbottom & Otávio Bueno (2011). Stance and Rationality: A Perspective. Synthese 178 (1):1-5.
    We offer an overview of some ways of examining the connections between stance and rationality, by surveying recent work on four central topics: (a) the very idea of a stance, (b) the relations between stances and voluntarism, (c) the metaphysics and epistemology that emerge once stances are brought to center stage, and (d) the role that emotions and phenomenology play in the empirical stance.
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  25. Darrell P. Rowbottom (2010). Corroboration and Auxiliary Hypotheses: Duhem's Thesis Revisited. Synthese 177 (1):139-149.
    This paper argues that Duhem’s thesis does not decisively refute a corroboration-based account of scientific methodology (or ‘falsificationism’), but instead that auxiliary hypotheses are themselves subject to measurements of corroboration which can be used to inform practice. It argues that a corroboration-based account is equal to the popular Bayesian alternative, which has received much more recent attention, in this respect.
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  26. Darrell P. Rowbottom (2010). Evolutionary Epistemology and the Aim of Science. Australasian Journal of Philosophy 88 (2):209-225.
    Both Popper and van Fraassen have used evolutionary analogies to defend their views on the aim of science, although these are diametrically opposed. By employing Price's equation in an illustrative capacity, this paper considers which view is better supported. It shows that even if our observations and experimental results are reliable, an evolutionary analogy fails to demonstrate why conjecture and refutation should result in: (1) the isolation of true theories; (2) successive generations of theories of increasing truth-likeness; (3) empirically adequate (...)
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  27. Darrell P. Rowbottom (2010). What Scientific Progress Is Not: Against Bird's Epistemic View. International Studies in the Philosophy of Science 24 (3):241-255.
    This paper challenges Bird’s view that scientific progress should be understood in terms of knowledge, by arguing that unjustified scientific beliefs (and/or changes in belief) may nevertheless be progressive. It also argues that false beliefs may promote progress.
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  28. Darrell P. Rowbottom & Nicholas Shackel (2010). Bangu's Random Thoughts on Bertrand's Paradox. Analysis 70 (4):689-692.
    Bangu (2010) claims that Bertrand’s paradox rests on a hitherto unrecognized assumption, which assumption is sufficiently dubious to throw the burden of proof back onto ‘objectors to [the principle of indifference]’ (2010: 31). We show that Bangu’s objection to the assumption is ill-founded and that the assumption is provably true.
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  29. Robin Findlay Hendry & Darrell P. Rowbottom (2009). Dispositional Essentialism and the Necessity of Laws. Analysis 69 (4):668-677.
    We argue that the inference from dispositional essentialism about a property (in the broadest sense) to the metaphysical necessity of laws involving it is invalid. Let strict dispositional essentialism be any view according to which any given property’s dispositional character is precisely the same across all possible worlds. Clearly, any version of strict dispositional essentialism rules out worlds with different laws involving that property. Permissive dispositional essentialism is committed to a property’s identity being tied to its dispositional profile or causal (...)
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  30. Darrell P. Rowbottom (2009). Images of van Fraassen. Metascience 18 (2):307-312.
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  31. Darrell P. Rowbottom (2009). Models in Biology and Physics: What's the Difference? Foundations of Science 14 (4):281-294.
    In Making Sense of Life , Keller emphasizes several differences between biology and physics. Her analysis focuses on significant ways in which modelling practices in some areas of biology, especially developmental biology, differ from those of the physical sciences. She suggests that natural models and modelling by homology play a central role in the former but not the latter. In this paper, I focus instead on those practices that are importantly similar, from the point of view of epistemology and cognitive (...)
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  32. Darrell P. Rowbottom (2009). No Dilemma for Pancritical Rationalism: In Response to Hauptli. Philosophy of the Social Sciences 39 (3):490-494.
    Hauptli (1991) presents a putative dilemma for Bartley’s (1984) pancritical rationalism that has remained unchallenged. This note sets the record straight by exposing two lacunae in Hauptli’s argument.
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  33. Darrell P. Rowbottom & Peter Baumann (2009). To Thine Own Self Be Untrue: A Diagnosis of the Cable Guy Paradox. Logique Et Analyse 51 (204):355-364.
    Hájek has recently presented the following paradox. You are certain that a cable guy will visit you tomorrow between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m. but you have no further information about when. And you agree to a bet on whether he will come in the morning interval (8, 12] or in the afternoon interval (12, 4). At first, you have no reason to prefer one possibility rather than the other. But you soon realise that there will definitely be a future (...)
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  34. Darrell P. Rowbottom & Otávio Bueno (2009). Why Advocate Pancritical Rationalism? In R. S. Cohen & Z. Parusniková (eds.), Rethinking Popper, Boston Studies in the Philosophy of Science. Springer. 81--89.
    This paper provides a rationale for advocating pancritical rationalism. First, it argues that the advocate of critical rationalism may accept (but not be internally justified in accepting) that there is ‘justification’ in an externalist sense, specifically that certain procedures can track truth, and suggest that this recognition should inform practice; that one should try to determine which sources and methods are appropriate for various aspects of inquiry, and to what extent they are. Second, it argues that if there is external (...)
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  35. Darrell P. Rowbottom (2008). An Alternative Account of Epistemic Reasons for Action: In Response to Booth. Grazer Philosophische Studien 76 (1):191-198.
    In a recent contribution to Grazer Philosophische Studien, Booth argues that for S to have an epistemic reason to ψ means that if S ψ's then he will have more true beliefs and less false beliefs than if he does not ψ. After strengthening this external account in response to the objection that one can improve one's epistemic state in other fashions, e.g. by having a gain in true beliefs which outweighs one's gain in false beliefs, I provide a challenge (...)
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  36. Darrell P. Rowbottom (2008). Intersubjective Corroboration. Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 39 (1):124-132.
    How are we to understand the use of probability in corroboration functions? Popper says logically, but does not show we could have access to, or even calculate, probability values in a logical sense. This makes the logical interpretation untenable, as Ramsey and van Fraassen have argued. -/- If corroboration functions only make sense when the probabilities employed therein are subjective, however, then what counts as impressive evidence for a theory might be a matter of convention, or even whim. So isn’t (...)
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  37. Darrell P. Rowbottom (2008). N-Rays and the Semantic View of Scientific Progress. Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 39 (2):277-278.
    This paper challenges a recent argument of Bird’s, which involves imagining that Réné Blondlot’s belief in N-rays was true, in favour of the view that scientific progress should be understood in terms of knowledge rather than truth. By considering several variants of Bird’s thought-experiment, it shows that the semantic account of progress cannot be so easily vanquished. A key possibility is that justification is only instrumental in, and not partly constitutive of, progress.
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  38. Darrell P. Rowbottom (2008). On the Proximity of the Logical and 'Objective Bayesian' Interpretations of Probability. Erkenntnis 69 (3):335-349.
    In his Bayesian Nets and Causality, Jon Williamson presents an ‘Objective Bayesian’ interpretation of probability, which he endeavours to distance from the logical interpretation yet associate with the subjective interpretation. In doing so, he suggests that the logical interpretation suffers from severe epistemological problems that do not affect his alternative. In this paper, I present a challenge to his analysis. First, I closely examine the relationship between the logical and ‘Objective Bayesian’ views, and show how, and why, they are highly (...)
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  39. Darrell P. Rowbottom (2008). Permissibility and Violable Rules. Philosophia 36 (3):367-374.
    From a logical point of view, permissibility can be reduced to possibility by introducing demands which can be met. The alleged reduction is circular from a philosophical perspective, however, because demands are fundamentally deontic. This paper solves this problem by replacing demands which can be met with rules which can be satisfied and violated.
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  40. Darrell P. Rowbottom (2008). The Big Test of Corroboration. International Studies in the Philosophy of Science 22 (3):293 – 302.
    This paper presents a new 'discontinuous' view of Popper's theory of corroboration, where theories cease to have corroboration values when new severe tests are devised which have not yet been performed, on the basis of a passage from The Logic of Scientific Discovery . Through subsequent analysis and discussion, a novel problem for Popper's account of corroboration, which holds also for the standard ('continuous') view, emerges. This is the problem of the Big Test: that the severest test of (...)
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  41. Darrell P. Rowbottom (2007). A Refutation of Foundationalism? Analysis 67 (296):345–346.
  42. Darrell P. Rowbottom (2007). Demystifying Threshold Concepts. Journal of Philosophy of Education 41 (2):263–270.
    This paper shows that so-called ‘threshold concepts’ have been defined in a way that makes it impossible, even in principle, to empirically isolate them. It continues by proposing an alternative theoretical framework, and argues: (1) that concepts are not reducible to abilities; (2) that acquisition of a given concept can be necessary, but not sufficient, for the possession of an ability; and (3) that being ‘threshold’ is an extrinsic property, such that what is threshold for one person is not for (...)
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  43. Darrell P. Rowbottom (2007). 'In Between Believing' and Degrees of Belief. Teorema 26 (1):131-137.
    Schwitzgebel (2001) — henceforth 'S' — offers three examples in order to convince us that there are situations in which individuals are neither accurately describable as believing that p or failing to so believe, but are rather in 'in-between states of belief'. He then argues that there are no 'Bayesian' or representational strategies for explicating these, and proposes a dispositional account. I do not have any fundamental objection to the idea that there might be 'in-between states of belief'. What I (...)
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  44. Darrell P. Rowbottom (2007). The Insufficiency of the Dutch Book Argument. Studia Logica 87 (1):65 - 71.
    It is a common view that the axioms of probability can be derived from the following assumptions: (a) probabilities reflect (rational) degrees of belief, (b) degrees of belief can be measured as betting quotients; and (c) a rational agent must select betting quotients that are coherent. In this paper, I argue that a consideration of reasonable betting behaviour, with respect to the alleged derivation of the first axiom of probability, suggests that (b) and (c) are incorrect. In particular, I show (...)
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  45. Darrell P. Rowbottom & Sarah Jane Aiston (2006). The Myth of 'Scientific Method' in Contemporary Educational Research. Journal of Philosophy of Education 40 (2):137–156.
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  46. Darrell P. Rowbottom (2005). The Empirical Stance Vs. The Critical Attitude. South African Journal of Philosophy 24 (3):200-223.
    Van Fraassen has recently argued that empiricism can be construed as a stance, involving commitments, attitudes, values, and goals, in addition to beliefs and opinions. But this characterisation emerges from his recognition that to be an empiricist can not be to believe, or decide to commit to belief in, a foundational proposition, without removing any basis for a non-dogmatic empiricist critique of other philosophical approaches, such as materialism. However, noticeable by its absence in Van Fraassen's discussions is any mention of (...)
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