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  1. Jeffry L. Ramsey (2014). Defining Sustainability. Journal of Agricultural and Environmental Ethics 27 (6):1049-1054.
    Heather M. Farley and Zachary A. Smith, Sustainability: If It’s Everything, Is It Nothing? xiv + 176 pp., index. New York: Routledge, 2014. $39.95 Leslie Paul Thiele, Sustainability. viii + 234 p., bibl., index. New York: Polity Press, 2013. $22.95 The authors of both of these books offer new definitions of sustainability. They do so in order to battle “faux interpretations” or “hypocritical” or “unsupported endorsements” of sustainability. While I think many people, including I expect many readers of this journal, (...)
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  2. Jeffry L. Ramsey (2008). Mechanisms and Their Explanatory Challenges in Organic Chemistry. Philosophy of Science 75 (5):970-982.
    Chemists take mechanisms to be an important way of explaining chemical change. I examine the usefulness of the mechanism approach in the recent philosophical literature in explicating the explanatory use of mechanisms by organic chemists. I argue that chemists consider a mechanism to be explanatory because it accounts for the “dynamic process of bringing about” (Tabery 2004 , 10) chemical change. For chemists, mechanisms are causal explanations based on interventions that show “how some possibilities depend on others” (Woodward 2003 , (...)
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  3. Jeffry L. Ramsey (2007). Calibrating and Constructing Models of Protein Folding. Synthese 155 (3):307 - 320.
    Prediction is more than testing established theory by examining whether the prediction matches the data. To show this, I examine the practices of a community of scientists, known as threaders, who are attempting to predict the final, folded structure of a protein from its primary structure, i.e., its amino acid sequence. These scientists employ a careful and deliberate methodology of prediction. A key feature of the methodology is calibration. They calibrate in order to construct better models. The construction leads to (...)
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  4. Jeffry L. Ramsey (2004). Straining to Explain Strain and Synthesis. Foundations of Chemistry 6 (1):81-91.
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  5. Jeffry L. Ramsey (2003). P.J.T. Morris and O.T. Benfey (Eds.): Robert Burns Woodward: Architect and Artist in the World of Molecules (History of Modern Chemical Sciences Series). [REVIEW] Foundations of Chemistry 5 (2):175-178.
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  6. Jeffry L. Ramsey (2003). U. Klein (Ed.): Tools and Modes of Representation in the Laboratory Sciences. [REVIEW] Foundations of Chemistry 5 (1):93-97.
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  7. Jeffry L. Ramsey (2001). Hegel's Philosophy of Nature. Foundations of Chemistry 3 (3):263-268.
  8. Jeffry L. Ramsey (2000). Joachim Schummer, Realismus Und Chemie: Philosophische Untersuchungen der Wissenschaft Von den Stoffen. [REVIEW] Foundations of Chemistry 2 (1):79-84.
  9. Jeffry L. Ramsey & Rosenfeld Bhushan (2000). Realism, Essentialism, and Intrinsic Properties. In Nalini Bhushan & Stuart Rosenfeld (eds.), Of Minds and Molecules: New Philosophical Perspectives on Chemistry. New York: Oxford University Press. 117.
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  10. Jeffry L. Ramsey (1998). Recent Work in the History and Philosophy of Chemistry. Perspectives on Science 6 (4):409-427.
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  11. Jeffry L. Ramsey (1997). Between the Fundamental and the Phenomenological: The Challenge of 'Semi-Empirical' Methods. Philosophy of Science 64 (4):627-653.
    Philosophers disagree how abstract, theoretical principles can be applied to instances. This paper generates a puzzle for law theorists, causal theorists and inductivists alike. Intractability can force scientists to use a "semi-empirical" method, in which some of an equation's theoretically-determinable parameters are replaced with values taken directly from the data. This is not a purely deductive or inductive process, nor does it involve causes and capacities in any simple way (Humphreys 1995). I argue the predictive successes of such methods require (...)
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  12. Jeffry L. Ramsey (1997). Molecular Shape, Reduction, Explanation and Approximate Concepts. Synthese 111 (3):233-251.
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  13. Jeffry L. Ramsey (1995). Construction by Reduction. Philosophy of Science 62 (1):1-20.
    Scientists employ a variety of procedures to eliminate degrees of freedom from computationally and/or analytically intractable equations. In the process, they often construct new models and discover new concepts, laws and functional relations. I argue these procedures embody a central notion of reduction, namely, the containment of one structure within another. However, their inclusion in the philosophical concept of reduction necessitates a reevaluation of many standard assumptions about the ontological, epistemological and functional features of a reduction. On the basis of (...)
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  14. Jeffry L. Ramsey (1994). Ideal Reaction Types and the Reactions of Real Alloys. PSA: Proceedings of the Biennial Meeting of the Philosophy of Science Association 1994:149 - 159.
    Research on the oxidation of alloys supports the claim that natural scientists can and do use ideal type concepts when confronted with analytical or computational intractability. In opposition to those who collapse ideal types into 'standard' theoretical concepts, I argue ideal types possess a unique structure, function and axiology. In phenomenologically complex situations, scientists use these features to articulate experiment with theory generally and in particular to discover new boundary conditions. This conceptual articulation is achieved using models rather than objective (...)
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  15. Jeffry L. Ramsey (1993). When Reduction Leads to Construction: Design Considerations in Scientific Methodology. International Studies in the Philosophy of Science 7 (3):241 – 253.
    Abstract Philosophers have paid little attention to the kind of reduction involved in transforming an analytically intractable equation into solvable form. I argue that this practice is important because it involves the design of a basic level theory for use in a specific domain. The design process can lead to the construction of a new theory. As a result of my analysis, theory design emerges as an important category of analysis for scientific methodology. Similarities between design in technology and science (...)
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  16. Jeffry L. Ramsey (1992). On Refusing to Be an Epistemologically Black Box: Instruments in Chemical Kinetics During the 1920s and '30s. Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 23 (2):283-304.
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  17. Jeffry L. Ramsey (1992). Towards an Expanded Epistemology for Approximations. PSA: Proceedings of the Biennial Meeting of the Philosophy of Science Association 1992:154 - 164.
    By stressing the act rather than the relation of approximation, I argue that the magnitude of the error introduced should not be used as the sole criterion for judging the worth of the approximation. Magnitude is a necessary but not sufficient condition for such a judgement. Controllability, the absence of cancelling errors, and the approximation's justification are also important criteria to consider when praising or blaming an approximation. Boltzmann's discussion of the types of approximations used in the kinetic theory of (...)
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  18. Jeffry L. Ramsey (1990). Beyond Numerical and Causal Accuracy: Expanding the Set of Justificational Criteria. PSA: Proceedings of the Biennial Meeting of the Philosophy of Science Association 1990:485 - 499.
    I argue that numerical and causal accuracy arguments can be successful only if: (1) the theories in use are known to be true, (2) computational difficulties do not exist, and (3) the experimental data are stable and resolved. When any one or more of these assumptions are not satisfied, additional justificational considerations must be invoked. I illustrate the need for range of validity and intelligibility claims with examples drawn from chemical kinetics. My arguments suggest that the realist and anti-realist accounts (...)
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