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Profile: Karen R. Zwier (Drake University)
  1. Karen R. Zwier (2012). The Status of Laws of Nature in the Philosophy of Leibniz. Proceedings of the American Catholic Philosophical Association 85:149-160.
    Is it possible to take the enterprise of physics seriously while also holding the belief that the world contains an order beyond the reach of that physics? Is it possible to simultaneously believe in objective laws of nature and in miracles? Is it possible to search for the truths of physics while also acknowledging the limitations of that search as it is carried out by limited human knowers? As a philosopher, as a Christian, and as a participant in the (...)
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    Karen R. Zwier (2013). An Epistemology of Causal Inference From Experiment. Philosophy of Science 80 (5):660-671.
    The manipulationist account of causation provides a conceptual analysis of cause-effect relationships in terms of hypothetical experiments. It also explains why and how experiments are used for the empirical testing of causal claims. This paper attempts to apply the manipulationist account of causation to a broader range of experiments—a range that extends beyond experiments explicitly designed for the testing of causal claims. I aim to show that the set of causal inferences afforded by an experiment is determined solely on the (...)
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    Karen R. Zwier (2011). Dalton's Chemical Atoms Versus Duhem's Chemical Equivalents. Philosophy of Science 78 (5):842-853.
    Paul Needham has claimed in several recent papers that Dalton’s chemical atomism was not explanatory. I respond to his criticism of Dalton by arguing that explanation admits of degrees and that under a view that allows for a spectrum of explanatory value, it is possible to see ample worth in Dalton’s atomistic explanations. Furthermore, I argue that even Duhem, who rejected atomism, acknowledged the explanatory worth of Dalton’s atomism.
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    Karen R. Zwier (2011). John Dalton's Puzzles: From Meteorology to Chemistry. Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 42 (1):58-66.
    Historical research on John Dalton has been dominated by an attempt to reconstruct the origins of his so-called "chemical atomic theory". I show that Dalton's theory is difficult to define in any concise manner, and that there has been no consensus as to its unique content among his contemporaries, later chemists, and modern historians. I propose an approach which, instead of attempting to work backward from Dalton's theory, works forward, by identifying the research questions that Dalton posed to himself and (...)
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    Karen R. Zwier (2014). Interventionist Causation in Physical Science. Dissertation, University of Pittsburgh
    The current consensus view of causation in physics, as commonly held by scientists and philosophers, has several serious problems. It fails to provide an epistemology for the causal knowledge that it claims physics to possess; it is inapplicable in a prominent area of physics (classical thermodynamics); and it is difficult to reconcile with our everyday use of causal concepts and claims. In this dissertation, I use historical examples and philosophical arguments to show that the interventionist account of causation constitutes a (...)
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