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Michael Weisberg [36]Michael Craig Weisberg [1]
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Profile: Michael Weisberg (University of Pennsylvania)
  1.  63
    Michael Weisberg (2013). Simulation and Similarity: Using Models to Understand the World. Oxford University Press.
    one takes to be the most salient, any pair could be judged more similar to each other than to the third. Goodman uses this second problem to showthat there can be no context-free similarity metric, either in the trivial case or in a scientifically ...
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  2. Michael Weisberg (2007). Who is a Modeler? British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 58 (2):207 - 233.
    Many standard philosophical accounts of scientific practice fail to distinguish between modeling and other types of theory construction. This failure is unfortunate because there are important contrasts among the goals, procedures, and representations employed by modelers and other kinds of theorists. We can see some of these differences intuitively when we reflect on the methods of theorists such as Vito Volterra and Linus Pauling on the one hand, and Charles Darwin and Dimitri Mendeleev on the other. Much of Volterra's and (...)
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  3. Michael Weisberg (2007). Three Kinds of Idealization. Journal of Philosophy 104 (12):639-659.
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  4. Michael Weisberg (2006). Robustness Analysis. Philosophy of Science 73 (5):730-742.
    Modelers often rely on robustness analysis, the search for predictions common to several independent models. Robustness analysis has been characterized and championed by Richard Levins and William Wimsatt, who see it as central to modern theoretical practice. The practice has also been severely criticized by Steven Orzack and Elliott Sober, who claim that it is a nonempirical form of confirmation, effective only under unusual circumstances. This paper addresses Orzack and Sober's criticisms by giving a new account of robustness analysis and (...)
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  5. Michael Weisberg & Ryan Muldoon (2009). Epistemic Landscapes and the Division of Cognitive Labor. Philosophy of Science 76 (2):225-252.
    Because of its complexity, contemporary scientific research is almost always tackled by groups of scientists, each of which works in a different part of a given research domain. We believe that understanding scientific progress thus requires understanding this division of cognitive labor. To this end, we present a novel agent-based model of scientific research in which scientists divide their labor to explore an unknown epistemic landscape. Scientists aim to climb uphill in this landscape, where elevation represents the significance of the (...)
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  6. John Matthewson & Michael Weisberg (2009). The Structure of Tradeoffs in Model Building. Synthese 170 (1):169 - 190.
    Despite their best efforts, scientists may be unable to construct models that simultaneously exemplify every theoretical virtue. One explanation for this is the existence of tradeoffs: relationships of attenuation that constrain the extent to which models can have such desirable qualities. In this paper, we characterize three types of tradeoffs theorists may confront. These characterizations are then used to examine the relationships between parameter precision and two types of generality. We show that several of these relationships exhibit tradeoffs and discuss (...)
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  7. Michael Weisberg & Kenneth Reisman (2008). The Robust Volterra Principle. Philosophy of Science 75 (1):106-131.
    Theorizing in ecology and evolution often proceeds via the construction of multiple idealized models. To determine whether a theoretical result actually depends on core features of the models and is not an artifact of simplifying assumptions, theorists have developed the technique of robustness analysis, the examination of multiple models looking for common predictions. A striking example of robustness analysis in ecology is the discovery of the Volterra Principle, which describes the effect of general biocides in predator-prey systems. This paper details (...)
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  8. Michael Weisberg (2006). Forty Years of 'the Strategy': Levins on Model Building and Idealization. [REVIEW] Biology and Philosophy 21 (5):623-645.
    This paper is an interpretation and defense of Richard Levins’ “The Strategy of Model Building in Population Biology,” which has been extremely influential among biologists since its publication 40 years ago. In this article, Levins confronted some of the deepest philosophical issues surrounding modeling and theory construction. By way of interpretation, I discuss each of Levins’ major philosophical themes: the problem of complexity, the brute-force approach, the existence and consequence of tradeoffs, and robustness analysis. I argue that Levins’ article is (...)
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  9. Michael Weisberg (2007). Three Kinds of Idealization. Journal of Philosophy 104 (12):639-659.
    Philosophers of science increasingly recognize the importance of idealization: the intentional introduction of distortion into scientific theories. Yet this recognition has not yielded consensus about the nature of idealization. e literature of the past thirty years contains disparate characterizations and justifications, but little evidence of convergence towards a common position.
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  10.  57
    Michael Weisberg (2012). Getting Serious About Similarity. Philosophy of Science 79 (5):785-794.
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  11.  37
    Ryan Muldoon, Tony Smith & Michael Weisberg (2012). Segregation That No One Seeks. Philosophy of Science 79 (1):38-62.
    This paper examines a series of Schelling-like models of residential segregation, in which agents prefer to be in the minority. We demon- strate that as long as agents care about the characteristics of their wider community, they tend to end up in a segregated state. We then investigate the process that causes this, and conclude that the result hinges on the similarity of informational states amongst agents of the same type. This is quite di erent from Schelling-like behavior, and sug- (...)
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  12.  48
    Michael Weisberg (2004). Qualitative Theory and Chemical Explanation. Philosophy of Science 71 (5):1071-1081.
    Roald Hoffmann and other theorists claim that we ought to use highly idealized chemical models (“qualitative models”) in order to increase our understanding of chemical phenomena, even though other models are available which make more highly accurate predictions. I assess this norm by examining one of the tradeoffs faced by model builders and model users—the tradeoff between precision and generality. After arguing that this tradeoff obtains in many cases, I discuss how the existence of this tradeoff can help us defend (...)
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  13.  57
    Alkistis Elliott‐Graves & Michael Weisberg (2014). Idealization. Philosophy Compass 9 (3):176-185.
    This article reviews the recent literature on idealization, specifically idealization in the course of scientific modeling. We argue that idealization is not a unified concept and that there are three different types of idealization: Galilean, minimalist, and multiple models, each with its own justification. We explore the extent to which idealization is a permanent feature of scientific representation and discuss its implications for debates about scientific realism.
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  14. Ryan Muldoon & Michael Weisberg (2011). Robustness and Idealization in Models of Cognitive Labor. Synthese 183 (2):161-174.
    Scientific research is almost always conducted by communities of scientists of varying size and complexity. Such communities are effective, in part, because they divide their cognitive labor: not every scientist works on the same project. Philip Kitcher and Michael Strevens have pioneered efforts to understand this division of cognitive labor by proposing models of how scientists make decisions about which project to work on. For such models to be useful, they must be simple enough for us to understand their dynamics, (...)
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  15. Michael Weisberg, Models for Modeling.
    Contemporary literature in philosophy of science has begun to emphasize the practice of modeling, which differs in important respects from other forms of representation and analysis central to standard philosophical accounts. This literature has stressed the constructed nature of models, their autonomy, and the utility of their high degrees of idealization. What this new literature about modeling lacks, however, is a comprehensive account of the models that figure in to the practice of modeling. This paper offers a new account of (...)
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  16.  79
    Brian Leiter & Michael Weisberg (2010). Why Evolutionary Biology is (so Far) Irrelevant to Legal Regulation. Law and Philosophy 29 (1):31-74.
    Evolutionary biology – or, more precisely, two (purported) applications of Darwin's theory of evolution by natural selection, namely, evolutionary psychology and what has been called human behavioral biology – is on the cusp of becoming the new rage among legal scholars looking for interdisciplinary insights into the law. We argue that as the actual science stands today, evolutionary biology offers nothing to help with questions about legal regulation of behavior. Only systematic misrepresentations or lack of understanding of the relevant biology, (...)
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  17.  76
    Michael Weisberg (2008). Challenges to the Structural Conception of Chemical Bonding. Philosophy of Science 75 (5):932-946.
    The covalent bond, a difficult concept to define precisely, plays a central role in chemical predictions, interventions, and explanations. I investigate the structural conception of the covalent bond, which says that bonding is a directional, submolecular region of electron density, located between individual atomic centers and responsible for holding the atoms together. Several approaches to constructing molecular models are considered in order to determine which features of the structural conception of bonding, if any, are robust across these models. Key components (...)
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  18.  21
    Michael Weisberg (2014). Understanding the Emergence of Population Behavior in Individual-Based Models. Philosophy of Science 81 (5):785-797.
    Proponents of individual-based modeling in ecology claim that their models explain the emergence of population-level behavior. This article argues that individual-based models have not, as yet, provided such explanations. Instead, individual-based models can and do demonstrate and explain the emergence of population-level behaviors from individual behaviors and interactions.
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  19.  71
    Michael Weisberg, Samir Okasha & Uskali Mäki (2011). Modeling in Biology and Economics. Biology and Philosophy 26 (5):613-615.
  20.  28
    Michael Weisberg (2010). Target Directed Modeling. Modern Schoolman 87 (3-4):251-266.
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  21. Michael Weisberg, Water is Not H2O.
    In defending semantic externalism, philosophers of language have often assumed that there is a straightforward connection between scientific kinds and the natural kinds recognized by ordinary language users.1 For example, the claim that water is H2O assumes that the ordinary language kind water corresponds to a chemical kind, which contains all the molecules with molecular formula H2O as its members. This assumption about the coordination between ordinary language kinds and scientific kinds is important for the externalist program, because it is (...)
     
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  22.  73
    Michael Weisberg (2009). The Structure of Tradeoffs in Model Building. Synthese 170 (1):169 - 190.
    Despite their best efforts, scientists may be unable to construct models that simultaneously exemplify every theoretical virtue. One explanation for this is the existence of tradeoffs: relationships of attenuation that constrain the extent to which models can have such desirable qualities. In this paper, we characterize three types of tradeoffs theorists may confront. These characterizations are then used to examine the relationships between parameter precision and two types of generality. We show that several of these relationships exhibit tradeoffs and discuss (...)
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  23.  36
    Michael Weisberg (2006). Richard Levins' Philosophy of Science. Biology and Philosophy 21 (5):603-605.
  24. Michael Weisberg (2010). New Approaches to the Division of Cognitive Labor. In P. D. Magnus & Jacob Busch (eds.), New Waves in Philosophy of Science. Palgrave Macmillan
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  25. Michael Weisberg (2006). The Intelligent Design Controversy: Lessons From Psychology and Education. Trends in Cognitive Sciences 10 (2):56-57.
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  26.  24
    Michael Weisberg (2015). Biology and Philosophy Symposium on Simulation and Similarity: Using Models to Understand the World. Biology and Philosophy 30 (2):299-310.
    Simulation and Similarity: Using Models to Understand the World is an account of modeling in contemporary science. Modeling is a form of surrogate reasoning where target systems in the natural world are studied using models, which are similar to these targets. My book develops an account of the nature of models, the practice of modeling, and the similarity relation that holds between models and their targets. I also analyze the conceptual tools that allow theorists to identify the trustworthy aspects of (...)
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  27.  19
    Rega Wood & Michael Weisberg (2004). Interpreting Aristotle on Mixture: Problems About Elemental Composition From Philoponus to Cooper. Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 35 (4):681-706.
    Aristotle’s On generation and corruption raises a vital question: how is mixture, or what we would now call chemical combination, possible? It also offers an outline of a solution to the problem and a set of criteria that a successful solution must meet. Understanding Aristotle’s solution and developing a viable peripatetic theory of chemical combination has been a source of controversy over the last two millennia. We describe seven criteria a peripatetic theory of mixture must satisfy: uniformity, recoverability, potentiality, equilibrium, (...)
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  28.  19
    Carlos Santana & Michael Weisberg (2014). Group-Level Traits Are Not Units of Selection. Behavioral and Brain Sciences 37 (3):271-272.
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  29.  42
    Michael Weisberg, Paul Needham & Robin Hendry (2011). Philosophy of Chemistry. Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
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  30.  39
    Michael Weisberg & Paul Needham (2010). Matter, Structure, and Change: Aspects of the Philosophy of Chemistry. Philosophy Compass 5 (10):927-937.
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  31.  19
    Michael Weisberg (2004). Interpreting Aristotle on Mixture: Problems About Elemental Composition From Philoponus to Cooper. Studies in the History and Philosophy of Science 35 (4):681–706.
    Aristotle’s On generation and corruption raises a vital question: how is mixture, or what we would now call chemical combination, possible? It also offers an outline of a solution to the problem and a set of criteria that a successful solution must meet. Understanding Aristotle’s solution and developing a viable peripatetic theory of chemical combination has been a source of controversy over the last two millennia. We describe seven criteria a peripatetic theory of mixture must satisfy: uniformity, recoverability, potentiality, equilibrium, (...)
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  32.  7
    Michael Weisberg (2013). Modeling Herding Behavior and its Risks. Journal of Economic Methodology 20 (1):6 - 18.
    (2013). Modeling herding behavior and its risks. Journal of Economic Methodology: Vol. 20, Methodology, Systemic Risk, and the Economics Profession, pp. 6-18. doi: 10.1080/1350178X.2013.774843.
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  33. Thomas Boyer-Kassem, Conor Mayo-Wilson & Michael Weisberg (eds.) (forthcoming). Scientific Collaboration and Collective Knowledge. Oxford University Press.
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  34. J. Christopher Hunt, Kareem Khalifa, Ryan Muldoon, Tony Smith, Michael Weisberg, Michelle G. Gibbons, Elliott O. Wagner, Andreas Wagner, Angela Potochnik & Brian McGill (2012). 1. On Ad Hoc Hypotheses On Ad Hoc Hypotheses (Pp. 1-14). Philosophy of Science 79 (1).
     
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  35. Jeffrey Kovac & Michael Weisberg (eds.) (2014). Roald Hoffmann on the Philosophy, Art, and Science of Chemistry. Oxford University Press Usa.
    Nobel laureate Roald Hoffmann's contributions to chemistry are well known. Less well known, however, is that over a career that spans nearly fifty years, Hoffmann has thought and written extensively about a wide variety of other topics, such as chemistry's relationship to philosophy, literature, and the arts, including the nature of chemical reasoning, the role of symbolism and writing in science, and the relationship between art and craft and science. In Roald Hoffmann on the Philosophy, Art, and Science of Chemistry, (...)
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  36. Michael Weisberg (2013). Simulation and Similarity: Using Models to Understand the World. Oxford University Press Usa.
    Simulation and Similarity is an account of modeling and idealization in modern scientific practice, focusing on concrete, mathematical, and computational models.
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