27 found
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  1.  41
    Stanford P. Kyle (2006). Exceeding Our Grasp: Science, History, and the Problem of Unconceived Alternatives. Oxford University Press.
    The incredible achievements of modern scientific theories lead most of us to embrace scientific realism: the view that our best theories offer us at least roughly accurate descriptions of otherwise inaccessible parts of the world like genes, atoms, and the big bang. In Exceeding Our Grasp, Stanford argues that careful attention to the history of scientific investigation invites a challenge to this view that is not well represented in contemporary debates about the nature of the scientific enterprise. The historical record (...)
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  2.  33
    P. Kyle Stanford (forthcoming). Unconceived Alternatives and Conservatism in Science: The Impact of Professionalization, Peer-Review, and Big Science. Synthese:1-18.
    Scientific realists have suggested that changes in our scientific communities over the course of their history have rendered those communities progressively less vulnerable to the problem of unconcieved alternatives over time. I argue in response not only that the most fundamental historical transformations of the scientific enterprise have generated steadily mounting obstacles to revolutionary, transformative, or unorthodox scientific theorizing, but also that we have substantial independent evidence that the institutional apparatus of contemporary scientific inquiry fosters an exceedingly and increasingly theoretically (...)
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  3.  83
    P. Kyle Stanford (2009). Scientific Realism, the Atomic Theory, and the Catch-All Hypothesis: Can We Test Fundamental Theories Against All Serious Alternatives? British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 60 (2):253-269.
    Sherri Roush ([2005]) and I ([2001], [2006]) have each argued independently that the most significant challenge to scientific realism arises from our inability to consider the full range of serious alternatives to a given hypothesis we seek to test, but we diverge significantly concerning the range of cases in which this problem becomes acute. Here I argue against Roush's further suggestion that the atomic hypothesis represents a case in which scientific ingenuity has enabled us to overcome the problem, showing how (...)
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  4. P. Kyle Stanford & Philip Kitcher (2000). Refining the Causal Theory of Reference for Natural Kind Terms. Philosophical Studies 97 (1):97-127.
  5.  92
    P. Kyle Stanford (2001). Refusing the Devil's Bargain: What Kind of Underdetermination Should We Take Seriously? Proceedings of the Philosophy of Science Association 2001 (3):S1-.
    Advocates have sought to prove that underdetermination obtains because all theories have empirical equivalents. But algorithms for generating empirical equivalents simply exchange underdetermination for familiar philosophical chestnuts, while the few convincing examples of empirical equivalents will not support the desired sweeping conclusions. Nonetheless, underdetermination does not depend on empirical equivalents: our warrant for current theories is equally undermined by presently unconceived alternatives as well-confirmed merely by the existing evidence, so long as this transient predicament recurs for each theory and body (...)
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  6. P. Kyle Stanford (2000). An Antirealist Explanation of the Success of Science. Philosophy of Science 67 (2):266-284.
    I develop an account of predictive similarity that allows even Antirealists who accept a correspondence conception of truth to answer the Realist demand (recently given sophisticated reformulations by Musgrave and Leplin) to explain the success of particular scientific theories by appeal to some intrinsic feature of those theories (notwithstanding the failure of past efforts by van Fraassen, Fine, and Laudan). I conclude by arguing that we have no reason to find truth a better (i.e., more plausible) explanation of a theory's (...)
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  7. P. Kyle Stanford (2003). Pyrrhic Victories for Scientific Realism. Journal of Philosophy 100 (11):553 - 572.
  8.  40
    P. Kyle Stanford (2015). "Atoms Exist" Is Probably True, and Other Facts That Should Not Comfort Scientific Realists. Journal of Philosophy 112 (8):397-416.
    Critics who use historical evidence to challenge scientific realism have deployed a perfectly natural argumentative strategy that has created a profoundly misguided conception of what would be required to vindicate that challenge. I argue that the question fundamentally in dispute in such debates is neither whether particular terms in contemporary scientific theories will be treated as referential nor whether particular existential commitments will be held true by future scientific communities, but whether the future of science will exhibit the same broad (...)
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  9. P. Kyle Stanford (2003). No Refuge for Realism: Selective Confirmation and the History of Science. Philosophy of Science 70 (5):913-925.
    Realists have responded to challenges from the historical record of successful but ultimately rejected theories with what I call the selective confirmation strategy: arguing that only idle parts of past theories have been rejected, while truly success‐generating features have been confirmed by further inquiry. I argue first, that this strategy is unconvincing without some prospectively applicable criterion of idleness for theoretical posits, and second, that existing efforts to provide one either convict all theoretical posits of idleness (Kitcher) or stand refuted (...)
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  10.  68
    Cailin O'Connor, Nathan Fulton, Elliott Wagner & P. Kyle Stanford (2012). Deus Ex Machina: A Cautionary Tale for Naturalists. Analyse & Kritik 34 (1):51-62.
    In this paper we critically examine and seek to extend Philip Kitcher’s Ethical Project to weave together a distinctive naturalistic conception of how ethics came to occupy the place it does in our lives and how the existing ethical project should be revised and extended into the future. Although we endorse his insight that ethical progress is better conceived of as the improvement of an existing state than an incremental approach towards a fixed endpoint, we nonetheless go on to argue (...)
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  11. P. Kyle Stanford (2003). No Refuge for Realism: Selective Confirmation and the History of Science. Philosophy of Science 70 (5):913-925.
    Realists respond to Laudan's Pessimistic Induction with what I call the selective confirmation strategy: arguing that only idle parts of past theories have been rejected, while truly success-generating features have been confirmed by further inquiry. I argue first that this strategy is unconvincing without some prospectively applicable criterion of idleness for theoretical posits, and second, that existing efforts to provide one either convict all theoretical posits of idleness (Kitcher) or stand refuted by detailed consideration of the very examples (optical/electromagnetic ether, (...)
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  12.  23
    P. Kyle Stanford (2011). Damn the Consequences: Projective Evidence and the Heterogeneity of Scientific Confirmation. Philosophy of Science 78 (5):887-899.
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  13.  66
    P. Kyle Stanford (1995). For Pluralism and Against Realism About Species. Philosophy of Science 62 (1):70-91.
    I argue for accepting a pluralist approach to species, while rejecting the realism about species espoused by P. Kitcher and a number of other philosophers of biology. I develop an alternative view of species concepts as divisions of organisms into groups for study which are relative to the systematic explanatory interests of biologists at a particular time. I also show how this conception resolves a number of difficult puzzles which plague the application of particular species concepts.
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  14.  55
    P. Kyle Stanford (1998). Reference and Natural Kind Terms: The Real Essence of Locke's View. Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 79 (1):78–97.
    J. L. Mackie's famous claim that Locke ‘anticipates’ Kripke's Causal Theory of Reference rests, I suggest, upon a pair of important misunderstandings. Contra Mackie, as well as the more recent accounts of Paul Guyer and Michael Ayers, Lockean Real Essences consist of those features of an entity from which all of its experienceable properties can be logically deduced; thus a substantival Real Essence consists of features of a Real Constitution plus logically necessary objective connections between them and features of some (...)
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  15. P. Kyle Stanford (2006). Francis Galton's Theory of Inheritance and the Problem of Unconceived Alternatives. Biology and Philosophy 21 (4):523-536.
    Elsewhere I have argued that the most significant threat to scientific realism arises from what I call the problem of unconceived alternatives: the repeated failure of past scientists and scientific communities to even conceive of alternatives to extant scientific theories, even when such alternatives were both (1) well-confirmed by the evidence available at the time and (2) sufficiently scientifically serious as to be actually embraced in the course of further investigation. In this paper I explore Francis Galton’s development and defense (...)
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  16.  43
    P. Kyle Stanford, Paul Humphreys, Katherine Hawley, James Ladyman & Don Ross (2010). Protecting Rainforest Realism. Metascience 19 (2):161-185.
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  17.  18
    P. Kyle Stanford (2015). Catastrophism, Uniformitarianism, and a Scientific Realism Debate That Makes a Difference. Philosophy of Science 82 (5):867-878.
    Some scientific realists suggest that scientific communities have improved in their ability to discover alternative theoretical possibilities and that the problem of unconceived alternatives therefore poses a less significant threat to contemporary scientific communities than it did to their historical predecessors. I first argue that the most profound and fundamental historical transformations of the scientific enterprise have actually increased rather than decreased our vulnerability to the problem. I then argue that whether we are troubled by even the prospect of increasing (...)
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  18.  19
    P. Kyle Stanford (2005). August Weismann's Theory of the Germ-Plasm and the Problem of Unconceived Alternatives. History and Philosophy of the Life Sciences 27 (2):163 - 199.
    I have argued elsewhere that scientific realism is most significantly challenged neither by traditional arguments from underdetermination of theories by the evidence, nor by the traditional pessimistic induction, but by a rather different historical pattern: our repeated failure to conceive of alternatives to extant scientific theories, even when those alternatives were both (1) well-confirmed by the evidence available at the time and (2) sufficiently scientifically serious as to be later embraced by actual scientific communities. Here I use August Weismann's defense (...)
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  19.  87
    P. Kyle Stanford (2012). The Eyes Don’T Have It: Fracturing the Scientific and Manifest Images. Humana.Mente 21:19-44.
    Wilfrid Sellars famously argued that we find ourselves simultaneously presented with the scientific and manifest images and that the primary aim of philosophy is to reconcile the competing conceptions of ourselves and our place in the world they offer. I first argue that Sellars’ own attempts at such a reconciliation must be judged a failure. I then go on to point out that Sellars has invited us to join him in idealizing and constructing the manifest and scientific images by conflating (...)
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  20.  49
    P. Kyle Stanford (2002). The Manifest Connection: Causation, Meaning, and David Hume. Journal of the History of Philosophy 40 (3):339-360.
    P. Kyle Stanford - The Manifest Connection: Causation, Meaning, and David Hume - Journal of the History of Philosophy 40:3 Journal of the History of Philosophy 40.3 339-360 The Manifest Connection: Causation, Meaning, and David Hume P. Kyle Stanford 1. Introduction exciting recent hume scholarship has challenged the traditional view that Hume's theory of meaning leads him to deny the very intelligibility or coherence of supposing that there are objective causal powers or intrinsic necessary connections between causally related entities. Influential (...)
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  21.  1
    P. Kyle Stanford (2001). Refusing the Devil's Bargain: What Kind of Underdetermination Should We Take Seriously? Philosophy of Science 68 (S3):S1-S12.
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  22.  70
    P. Kyle Stanford (forthcoming). Underdetermination. Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
    At the heart of the underdetermination of scientific theory by evidence is the simple idea that the evidence available to us at a given time may fail to determine what beliefs we should hold in response to it. In a textbook example, if I all I know is that you spent $10 on apples and oranges and that apples cost $1 while oranges cost $2, then I know that you did not buy six oranges, but I do not know whether (...)
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  23.  30
    P. Kyle Stanford (2010). Getting Real. Modern Schoolman 87 (3-4):219-243.
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  24.  1
    P. Kyle Stanford (2008). Hanne Andersen, Peter Barker and Xiang Chen, The Cognitive Structure of Scientific Revolutions. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2006. Pp. Xvii+199. ISBN 978-0-521-85575-4. £45.00. [REVIEW] British Journal for the History of Science 41 (1).
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  25.  5
    P. Kyle Stanford (2001). Unto Others. Journal of Philosophy 98 (1):43-47.
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  26.  9
    P. Kyle Stanford (2001). The Units of Selection and the Causal Structure of the World. Erkenntnis 54 (2):215-233.
    Genic selectionism holds that all selection can be understood as operating on particular genes. Critics (and conventional biological wisdom) insist that this misrepresents the actual causal structure of selective phenomena at higher levels of biological organization, but cannot convincingly defend this intuition. I argue that the real failing of genic selectionism is pragmatic – it prevents us from adopting the most efficient corpus of causal laws for predicting and intervening in the course of affairs – and I offer a Pragmatic (...)
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  27. P. Kyle Stanford (2001). Unto Others: The Evolution and Psychology of Unselfish Behavior. [REVIEW] Journal of Philosophy 98 (1):43-47.