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Profile: Howard Sankey (University of Melbourne)
  1. Howard Sankey, Azande Witchcraft, Epistemological Relativism and the Problem of the Criterion.
    In this paper, I discuss the problem of epistemological relativism, which I take to be the problem of providing epistemic norms with an objective rational justification, rather than the problem of arguing for universality. I illustrate the idea of an alternative epistemic norm by means of Evans-Pritchard's discussion of the Azande poison-oracle. Though I take there to be a sharp distinction between relativism and scepticism, nevertheless I present an argument for relativism at the level of epistemic norms which employs the (...)
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  2. Howard Sankey, Draft.
    It is widely recognized that Kuhn and Feyerabend did not mean the same thing when they originally spoke of the incommensurability of competing theories. Feyerabend employed the term ‘incommensurability’ to refer to the absence of logical relations between theories due to semantic variance of the terms employed by theories. Kuhn employed the term to describe the obstacles to communication between advocates of rival paradigms which result from perceptual, methodological and semantic differences between paradigms. While Feyerabend’s use of the term remained (...)
     
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  3. Serge Latouche, David R. Roediger & Howard Sankey (forthcoming). Douglas Kellner is George Kneller Chair in Philosophy of Education at the University of California at Los Angeles. Among His Many Pub-Lications Are Camera Politica (with Michael Ryan)(Indiana Univer-Sity Press, 1988), Critical Theory, Marxism, and Modernity (Polity, 1989), Postmodern Theory and The Postmodern Turn (Both With. [REVIEW] Theoria.
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  4. Howard Sankey (forthcoming). Chisholm, scepticisme et relativisme. Bulletin d'Analyse Phenomenologique.
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  5. Howard Sankey (forthcoming). Revisiting Structure. [REVIEW] Metascience:1-5.
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  6. Howard Sankey (2013). How the Epistemic Relativist May Use the Sceptic's Strategy: A Reply to Markus Seidel. Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 44 (1):140-144.
    This paper is a response to an objection that Markus Seidel has made to my analysis of epistemic relativism. Seidel argues that the epistemic relativist is unable to base a relativist account of justification on the sceptical problem of the criterion in the way that I have suggested in earlier work. In response to Seidel, I distinguish between weak and strong justification, and argue that all the relativist needs is weak justification. In addition, I explain my reasons for employing the (...)
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  7. Howard Sankey (2013). Methodological Incommensurability and Epistemic Relativism. Topoi 32 (1):33-41.
    This paper revisits one of the key ideas developed in The Structure of Scientific Revolutions. In particular, it explores the methodological form of incommensurability which may be found in the original edition of Structure. It is argued that such methodological incommensurability leads to a form of epistemic relativism. In later work, Kuhn moved away from the original idea of methodological incommensurability with his idea of a set of epistemic values that provides a basis for rational theory choice, but do not (...)
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  8. Howard Sankey (2013). On Reason and Rationality. [REVIEW] Metascience 22 (3):677-679.
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  9. Howard Sankey (2013). On the Evolution of Criteria of Theory Choice. [REVIEW] Metascience 22 (1):169-172.
    This article is a book review of Anastasios Brenner's book Raison Scientifique et Valeurs Humaines.
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  10. Kim Sawyer, Howard Sankey & Ric Lombardo (2013). Measurability Invariance, Continuity and a Portfolio Representation. Measurement 46 (1):89-96.
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  11. Aaron C. T. Smith & Howard Sankey (2013). Thinking About Religion: Examining Progress in Religious Cognition. In Gregory W. Dawes & James Maclaurin (eds.), A New Science of Religion. Routledge.
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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. Howard Sankey (2012). Kuhn, Normativity and History and Philosophy of Science. Epistemologia:103-111.
    This paper addresses the relationship between the history and philosophy of science by way of the issue of epistemic normativity. After brief discussion of the relationship between history and philosophy of science in Kuhn’s own thinking, the paper focuses on the implications of the history of science for epistemic normativity. There may be historical evidence for change of scientific methodology, which may seem to support a position of epistemic relativism. However, the fact that the methods of science undergo variation does (...)
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  14. Howard Sankey (2012). Philosophical Fairytales From Feyerabend. [REVIEW] Metascience 21 (2):471-476.
    This article is a review of Paul Feyerabend's book, The Tyranny of Science.
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  15. Howard Sankey (2012). Reference, Success and Entity Realism. Kairos 5:31-42.
    The paper discusses the version of entity realism presented by Ian Hacking in his book, Representing and Intervening. Hacking holds that an ontological form of scientific realism, entity realism, may be defended on the basis of experimental practices which involve the manipulation of unobservable entities. There is much to be said in favour of the entity realist position that Hacking defends, especially the pragmatist orientation of his approach to realism. But there are problems with the position. The paper explores two (...)
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  16. Howard Sankey (2012). Scepticism, Relativism and the Argument From the Criterion. Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 43 (1):182-190.
    This article explores the relationship between epistemic relativism and Pyrrhonian scepticism. It is argued that a fundamental argument for contemporary epistemic relativism derives from the Pyrrhonian problem of the criterion. Pyrrhonian scepticism is compared and contrasted with Cartesian scepticism about the external world and Humean scepticism about induction. Epistemic relativism is characterized as relativism due to the variation of epistemic norms, and is contrasted with other forms of cognitive relativism, such as truth relativism, conceptual relativism and ontological relativism. An argument (...)
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  17. Howard Sankey (2011). Epistemic Relativism and the Problem of the Criterion. Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 42 (4):562-570.
    This paper explores the relationship between scepticism and epistemic relativism in the context of recent history and philosophy of science. More specifically, it seeks to show that significant treatments of epistemic relativism by influential figures in the history and philosophy of science draw upon the Pyrrhonian problem of the criterion. The paper begins with a presentation of the problem of the criterion as it occurs in the work of Sextus Empiricus. It is then shown that significant treatments of epistemic relativism (...)
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  18. Howard Sankey (2011). El realismo cientifico y el punto de vista del Ojo de Dios. Revista Disertaciones 2:59-74.
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  19. Howard Sankey & Dimitri Ginev (2011). The Scope and Multidimensionality of the Scientific Realism Debate. Journal for General Philosophy of Science 42 (2):263-283.
    At stake in the classical realism-debate is the clash between realist and anti-realist positions. In recent years, the classical form of this debate has undergone a double transformation. On the one hand, the champions of realism began to pay more attention to the interpretative dimensions of scientific research. On the other hand, anti-realists of various sorts realized that the rejection of the hypostatization of a “reality out there” does not imply the denial of working out a philosophically adequate concept of (...)
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  20. Howard Sankey (2010). A View From Sydney: How to Stove the Enemies of Science. [REVIEW] Metascience 19 (2):289-292.
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  21. Howard Sankey (2010). Ciencia, sentido común y realidad. Discusiones Filosoficas 16 (16):41-58.
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  22. Howard Sankey (2010). Descartes's Language Test and Ape Language Research. Teorema 29 (2):111-123.
    Some philosophers (e.g. Descartes) argue that there is an evidential relationship between language and thought, such that presence of language is indicative of mind. Recent language acquisition research with apes such as chimpanzees and bonobos attempts to demonstrate the capacity of these primates to acquire at least rudimentary linguistic capacity. This paper presents a case study of the ape language research and explores the consequences of the research with respect to the argument that animals lack mind because they fail to (...)
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  23. Howard Sankey (2010). El cambio en el concepto de incommensurabilidad de Kuhn. Cuadernos de Epistemologia 4:11-31.
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  24. Howard Sankey (2010). Science, Common Sense and Reality. Discusiones Filosóficas 11:41-58.
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  25. Howard Sankey (2010). The Argument From Animal and Infant Perception. Teorema: Revista Internacional de Filosofía 29 (2):97-110.
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  26. Howard Sankey (2010). Witchcraft, Relativism and the Problem of the Criterion. Erkenntnis 72 (1):1 - 16.
    This paper presents a naturalistic response to the challenge of epistemic relativism. The case of the Azande poison oracle is employed as an example of an alternative epistemic norm which may be used to justify beliefs about everyday occurrences. While a distinction is made between scepticism and relativism, an argument in support of epistemic relativism is presented that is based on the sceptical problem of the criterion. A response to the resulting relativistic position is then provided on the basis of (...)
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  27. Howard Sankey (2009). A Curious Disagreement: Response to Hoyningen-Huene and Oberheim. Studies in History and Philosophy of Science A 40 (2):210-212.
    In this response, doubts are expressed relating to the treatment by Hoyningen-Huene and Oberheim of the relation between incommensurability and content comparison. A realist response is presented to their treatment of ontological replacement. Further questions are raised about the coherence of the neo-Kantian idea of the world-in-itself as well as the phenomenal worlds hypothesis. The notion of common sense is clarified. Meta-incommensurability is dismissed as a rhetorical device which obstructs productive discussion.
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  28. Howard Sankey (2009). Review of Stathis Psillos, Philosophy of Science A–Z. [REVIEW] Philosophy of Science 76 (1):115-117.
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  29. Howard Sankey (2009). Scientific Realism and the Semantic Incommensurability Thesis. Studies in History and Philosophy of Science A 40 (2):196-202.
    This paper reviews the situation with respect to the referential approach to the problem of semantic incommensurability. It argues that the thesis of semantic incommensurability does not pose a significant threat to scientific realism. However, there exists a "non-realist" defence of incommensurability, according to which the referential approach begs the question against advocates of the incommensurability thesis. This defence is criticized, and the basis for a realist response to incommensurability is presented.
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  30. Howard Sankey (2008). Scientific Realism and the Inevitability of Science. Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 39 (2):259-264.
    This paper examines the question of whether scientific realism is committed to the inevitability of science or is consistent with claims of the contingency of science. In order to address this question, a general characterization of the position of scientific realism is presented. It is then argued that scientific realism has no evident implications with regard to the inevitability of science. A historical case study is presented in which contingency plays a significant role, and the appropriate realist response to this (...)
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  31. Howard Sankey (2008). Scientific Realism and the Rationality of Science. Ashgate.
    Scientific realism is the position that the aim of science is to advance on truth and increase knowledge about observable and unobservable aspects of the mind-independent world which we inhabit. This book articulates and defends that position. In presenting a clear formulation and addressing the major arguments for scientific realism Sankey appeals to philosophers beyond the community of, typically Anglo-American, analytic philosophers of science to appreciate and understand the doctrine. The book emphasizes the epistemological aspects of scientific realism and contains (...)
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  32. Lena Soler, Howard Sankey & Paul Hoyningen-Huene (2008). Rethinking Scientific Change and Theory Comparison. Springer.
    The volume is a collection of essays devoted to the analysis of scientific change and stability. It explores the balance and tension that exist between commensurability and continuity on the one hand, and incommensurability and discontinuity on the other. Moreover, it discusses some central epistemological consequences regarding the nature of scientific progress, rationality and realism. In relation to these topics, it investigates a number of new avenues, and revisits some familiar issues, with a focus on the history and philosophy of (...)
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  33. Howard Sankey (2007). Tracking Truth. Review of Metaphysics 61 (1):158-159.
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  34. Howard Sankey (2007). Review of Sherrin Roush, Tracking Truth: Knowledge, Evidence, and Science. [REVIEW] Review of Metaphysics 61 (1):158-159.
     
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  35. Mikael Karlsson, Andre Kukla, Jarrett Leplin, David Papineau, Stathis Psillos & Howard Sankey (2006). Scientific Realism. In Patrick Greenough & Michael P. Lynch (eds.), Truth and Realism. Oxford University Press.
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  36. Howard Sankey (2006). Why is It Rational to Believe Scientific Theories Are True? In Colin Cheyne & John Worrall (eds.), Rationality and Reality: Conversations with Alan Musgrave. Springer. 109--132.
    Alan Musgrave is one of the foremost contemporary defenders of scientific realism. He is also one of the leading exponents of Karl Popper’s critical rationalist philosophy. In this paper, my main focus will be on Musgrave’s realism. However, I will emphasize epistemological aspects of realism. This will lead me to address aspects of his critical rationalism as well.
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  37. Howard Sankey (2004). Humans and Other Animals. Australasian Journal of Philosophy 82 (2):367 – 368.
    Book Information Humans and Other Animals. Humans and Other Animals John Dupré , Oxford: Oxford University Press , 2002 , 272 , £17.99 ( cloth ) By John Dupré. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Pp. 272. £17.99 (cloth:).
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  38. Howard Sankey (2004). Scientific Realism and the God's Eye Point of View. Epistemologia 27 (2):211-226.
    According to scientific realism, the aim of science is to discover the truth about both observable and unobservable aspects of the mind-independent, objective reality, which we inhabit. It has been objected by Putnam and others that such a metaphysically realist position presupposes a God’s Eye point of view, of which no coherent sense can be made. In this paper, I will argue for two claims. First, scientific realism does not require the adoption of a God’s Eye point of view. Instead, (...)
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  39. Howard Sankey (2003). Review of Thomas Nickles, (Ed.), Thomas Kuhn. [REVIEW] Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews 2003 (3).
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  40. Paul Hoyningen-Huene & Howard Sankey (2002). Review of T.S. Kuhn, The Road Since ‘Structure’: Philosophical Essays, 1970–1993, with an Autobiographical Interview. [REVIEW] British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 53 (1):137-142.
  41. Howard Sankey (2002). Qu'est-ce que le realisme scientifique? Reseaux 94:69-82.
    Les tables, les chaises, les gens assis sur des chaises, à des tables sont des objets composés de matière. Selon la science, la matière se compose principalement d'atomes. Les atomes sont faits d'électrons, de neutrons et de protons. Les neutrons et les protons forment un noyau autour duquel orbitent les électrons. Outre ces particules, les physiciens en ont découvert un grand nombre d'autres, comme les photons, les quarks et les neutrinos.
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  42. Howard Sankey (2002). Realism, Method and Truth. In Michele Marsonet (ed.), The Problem of Realism. Ashgate. 64.
    But while it is evident that there is a close relation between method and rational justification, substantive questions remain about the relation between method and truth. For example, are scientists whom method licenses in accepting a theory or experimental result thereby licensed in accepting the theory or result as true? Does use of scientific method lead scientists to discover the truth about the world? Questions such as these are questions about the truth-conduciveness of method. While they relate directly to the (...)
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  43. Paul Hoyningen-Huene & Howard Sankey (eds.) (2001). Incommensurability and Related Matters. Kluwer.
  44. Howard Sankey (2001). Scientific Realism: An Elaboration and a Defence. Theoria: A Journal of Social and Political Theory 98 (98):35-54.
    This paper describes the position of scientific realism and presents the basic lines of argument for the position. Simply put, scientific realism is the view that the aim of science is knowledge of the truth about observable and unobservable aspects of a mind-independent, objective reality. Scientific realism is supported by several distinct lines of argument. It derives from a non-anthropocentric conception of our place in the natural world, and it is grounded in the epistemology and metaphysics of common sense. Further, (...)
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  45. Howard Sankey & Paul Hoyningen-Huene (2001). In the Introduction To: Incommensurability and Related Matters. Boston Studies in the Philosophy of Science 216.
     
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  46. Robert Nola & Howard Sankey (eds.) (2000). After Popper, Kuhn, and Feyerabend: Recent Issues in Theories of Scientific Method. Kluwer Academic Publishers.
    Some think that issues to do with scientific method are last century's stale debate; Popper was an advocate of methodology, but Kuhn, Feyerabend, and others are alleged to have brought the debate about its status to an end. The papers in this volume show that issues in methodology are still very much alive. Some of the papers reinvestigate issues in the debate over methodology, while others set out new ways in which the debate has developed in the last decade. The (...)
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  47. Howard Sankey (2000). Est-il rationnel de chercher la vérité? Revue Philosophique De Louvain 98 (3):589-602.
    This paper addresses the question of whether it is rational for scientists to pursue the realist aim of truth. The point of departure is a pair of objections to the aim of truth due to the anti-realist author, Larry Laudan: first, it is not rational to pursue an aim such as truth which we cannot know we have reached; second, truth is not a legitimate aim for science because it cannot be shown to be attained. Against Laudan, it is argued (...)
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  48. Howard Sankey (2000). Kuhn's Ontological Relativism. Science and Education 9 (1-2):59--75.
  49. Howard Sankey (2000). Methodological Pluralism, Normative Naturalism and the Realist Aim of Science. In Howard Sankey & Robert Nola (eds.), After Popper, Kuhn and Feyerabend: Recent Issues in Theories of Scientific Method.
    There are two chief tasks which confront the philosophy of scientific method. The first task is to specify the methodology which serves as the objective ground for scientific theory appraisal and acceptance. The second task is to explain how application of this methodology leads to advance toward the aim(s) of science. In other words, the goal of the theory of method is to provide an integrated explanation of both rational scientific theory choice and scientific progress.
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  50. Howard Sankey (2000). The Language of Science: Meaning Variance and Theory Comparison. Language Sciences 22 (2):117-136.
    The paper gives an overview of key themes of twentieth century philosophical treatment of the language of science, with special emphasis on the meaning variance of scientific terms and the comparison of alternative theories. These themes are dealt with via discussion of the topics of: (a) the logical positivist principle of verifiability and the problem of the meaning of theoretical terms, (b) the postpositivist thesis of semantic incommensurability, and (c) the scientific realist response to incommensurability based on the causal theory (...)
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