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Profile: Richard Dawid (University of Vienna)
  1.  13
    Richard Dawid (forthcoming). A Philosophical Look at the Discovery the Higgs Boson. Synthese:1-5.
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  2.  19
    Richard Dawid (2013). String Theory and the Scientific Method. Cambridge University Press.
    String theory has played a highly influential role in theoretical physics for nearly three decades and has substantially altered our view of the elementary building principles of the Universe. However, the theory remains empirically unconfirmed, and is expected to remain so for the foreseeable future. So why do string theorists have such a strong belief in their theory? This book explores this question, offering a novel insight into the nature of theory assessment itself. Dawid approaches the topic from a unique (...)
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  3.  55
    Richard Dawid (2013). Theory Assessment and Final Theory Claim in String Theory. Foundations of Physics 43 (1):81-100.
    String theory has by now maintained a highly influential position in high energy physics for more than a quarter of a century. The present article analyses the reasons for the considerable trust exponents of string theory have in their theory even though it has neither found empirical confirmation nor a complete formulation up to this point. It is argued that this trust can be understood in terms of an emerging new conception of theory assessment that relies strongly on the identification (...)
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  4. Richard Dawid (2007). Scientific Realism in the Age of String Theory. Physics and Philosophy.
    String theory currently is the only viable candidate for a unified description of all known natural forces. This article tries to demonstrate that the fundamental structural and methodological differences that set string theory apart from other physical theories have important philosophical consequences. Focussing on implications for the realism debate in philosophy of science, it is argued that both poles of that debate face new problems in the context of string theory. On the one hand, the claim of underdetermination of scientific (...)
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  5.  65
    Richard Dawid, Stephan Hartmann & Jan Sprenger (2015). The No Alternatives Argument. British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 66 (1):213-234.
    Scientific theories are hard to find, and once scientists have found a theory, H, they often believe that there are not many distinct alternatives to H. But is this belief justified? What should scientists believe about the number of alternatives to H, and how should they change these beliefs in the light of new evidence? These are some of the questions that we will address in this article. We also ask under which conditions failure to find an alternative to H (...)
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  6.  49
    Richard Dawid (forthcoming). Bayesian Perspectives on the Discovery of the Higgs Particle. Synthese:1-18.
    It is argued that the high degree of trust in the Higgs particle before its discovery raises the question of a Bayesian perspective on data analysis in high energy physics in an interesting way that differs from other suggestions regarding the deployment of Bayesian strategies in the field.
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  7.  66
    Richard Dawid (2006). Underdetermination and Theory Succession From the Perspective of String Theory. Philosophy of Science 73 (3):298-322.
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  8. Richard Corry, Robert N. Brandon, H. Frederik Nijhout, Richard Dawid, Ron Mallon, Jonathan M. Weinberg & Hong Yu Wong (2006). Causal Realism and the Laws of Nature. In Borchert (ed.), Philosophy of Science. Macmillan 261-276.
    This paper proposes a revision of our understanding of causation that is designed to address what Hartry Field has suggested is the central problem in the metaphysics of causation today: reconciling Bertrand Russell’s arguments that the concept of causation can play no role in the advanced sciences with Nancy Cartwright’s arguments that causal concepts are essential to a scientific understanding of the world. The paper shows that Russell’s main argument is, ironically, very similar to an argument that Cartwright has put (...)
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  9.  26
    Richard Dawid & Stephan Hartmann, The No Miracles Argument Without the Base Rate Fallacy.
    According to an argument by Colin Howson, the no-miracles argument is contingent on committing the base-rate fallacy and is therefore bound to fail. We demonstrate that Howson's argument only applies to one of two versions of the no-miracles argument. The other, more considerate version is not adequately reconstructed in Howson's approach and thus remains unaffected by his line of reasoning. We provide a Bayesian reconstruction of this version of the no-miracles argument and show that it is valid. We then proceed (...)
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  10. Richard Dawid (2009). On the Conflicting Assessments of the Current Status of String Theory. Philosophy of Science 76 (5):984-996.
    The current status of string theory is assessed quite differently by most of the theory’s exponents than by the majority of physicists in other fields. While the former tend to have a high degree of trust in string theory’s viability, the latter largely share a substantially more skeptical point of view. This article argues that the controversy can be best understood in terms of a paradigmatic rift between the two sides over their understandings of theory assessment. An attempt is made (...)
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  11.  18
    Richard Dawid (2015). Higgs Discovery and the Look Elsewhere Effect. Philosophy of Science 82 (1):76-96.
    The discovery of the Higgs particle required a signal of 5σ significance. The rigid application of that condition is a convention that disregards more specific aspects of the given experiment. In particular, it does not account for the characteristics of the look elsewhere effect in the individual experimental context. The paper relates this aspect of data analysis to the question as to what extent theoretical reasoning should be admitted to play a role in the assessment of the significance of empirical (...)
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  12.  33
    Richard Dawid, Modelling Scientific Confirmation.
    The paper provides a presentation and motivation of the concept of non-empirical theory confirmation. Non-empirical theory confirmation is argued to play an important role in the scientific process that has not been adequately acknowledged so far. Its formalization within a Bayesian framework demonstrates that non-empirical confirmation does have the essential structural characteristics of theory confirmation.
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  13.  23
    Richard Dawid & Karim P. Y. Thébault (2014). Against the Empirical Viability of the Deutsch–Wallace–Everett Approach to Quantum Mechanics. Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part B: Studies in History and Philosophy of Modern Physics 47:55-61.
    The subjective Everettian approach to quantum mechanics presented by Deutsch and Wallace fails to constitute an empirically viable theory of quantum phenomena. The decision theoretic implementation of the Born rule realized in this approach provides no basis for rejecting Everettian quantum mechanics in the face of empirical data that contradicts the Born rule. The approach of Greaves and Myrvold, which provides a subjective implementation of the Born rule as well but derives it from empirical data rather than decision theoretic arguments, (...)
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  14.  52
    Karim Thébault & Richard Dawid (2015). Many Worlds: Decoherent or Incoherent? Synthese 192 (5):1559-1580.
    We claim that, as it stands, the Deutsch–Wallace–Everett approach to quantum theory is conceptually incoherent. This charge is based upon the approach’s reliance upon decoherence arguments that conflict with its own fundamental precepts regarding probabilistic reasoning in two respects. This conceptual conflict obtains even if the decoherence arguments deployed are aimed merely towards the establishment of certain ‘emergent’ or ‘robust’ structures within the wave function: To be relevant to physical science notions such as robustness must be empirically grounded, and, on (...)
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  15.  17
    Richard Dawid (2015). Turning Norton’s Dome Against Material Induction. Foundations of Physics 45 (9):1101-1109.
    John Norton has proposed a position of “material induction” that denies the existence of a universal inductive inference schema behind scientific reasoning. In this vein, Norton has recently presented a “dome scenario” based on Newtonian physics that, in his understanding, is at variance with Bayesianism. The present note points out that a closer analysis of the dome scenario reveals incompatibilities with material inductivism itself.
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  16.  95
    Richard Dawid, Scientific Prediction and the Underdetermination of Scientific Theory Building.
    According to the no miracles argument, scientific realism provides the only satisfactory explanation of the predictive success of science. It is argued in the present article that a different explanatory strategy, based on the posit of limitations to the underdetermination of scientific theory building by the available empirical data, offers a more convincing understanding of scientific success.
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  17.  13
    Richard Dawid, Novel Confirmation and the Underdetermination of Scientific Theory Building.
    The extra value of novel confirmation over accommodation is explained based on an analysis of the underdetermination of scientific theory building. Novel confirmation can provide information on the number of possible scientific alternatives to a predictively successful theory. This information, in turn, can raise the probability that the given theory is true or will be empirically viable in the future.
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  18.  69
    Richard Dawid, Realism in the Age of String Theory.
    String theory currently is the only viable candidate for a unified description of all known natural forces. This article tries to demonstrate that the fundamental structural and methodological differences that set string theory apart from other physical theories have important philosophical consequences. Focussing on implications for the realism debate in philosophy of science, it is argued that both poles of that debate become untenable in the context of string theory. On one side the claim of underdetermination of scientific theories, which (...)
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  19.  29
    Richard Dawid (2010). High Energy Physics and the Marginalization of The Phenomena. Manuscrito 33 (1):165-206.
    It is argued that the evolution of fundamental microphysics throughout the twentieth century is characterised by two interrelated developments. On the one hand, the experimental signatures which confirm theoretical statements are moving towards the fringes of the phenomenal world and, at the same time, leave increasingly wide spaces for entirely theoretical reasoning with little or no empirical interference. On the other hand, assessments of limitations to scientific underdetermination gain importance within the theoretical process.
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  20.  7
    Richard Dawid, Moritz Schlick and Bas van Fraassen: Two Different Perspectives on Causality and Quantum Mechanics.
    Moritz Schlick’s interpretation of the causality principle is based on Schlick’s understanding of quantum mechanics and on his conviction that quantum mechanics strongly supports an empiricist reading of causation in his sense. The present paper compares the empiricist position held by Schlick with Bas van Fraassen’s more recent conception of constructive empiricism. It is pointed out that the development from Schlick’s understanding of logical empiricism to constructive empiricism reflects a difference between the understanding of quantum mechanics endorsed by Schlick and (...)
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  21.  27
    Richard Dawid, High Energy Physics and Constructive Empiricism.
    Progress in elementary particle physics in recent decades has changed the status of the visible phenomena in the context of scientific research. Empiricist positions in philosophy of science, which put particular emphasis on the pre-eminence of the visible regime, are affected by this development. In spite of its less radical claims, constructive empiricism turns out to run into more serious problems than straightforward instrumentalism. The constructive empiricist’s emphasis on the scientist’s aims makes it essential for her to provide a satisfactory (...)
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  22.  4
    Richard Dawid (2010). Marginalisation Of The Phenomena And The Limits Of Scientific Knowledge In High Energy Physics. Manuscrito 33 (1):165-206.
    It is argued that the evolution of fundamental microphysics throughout the twentieth century is characterised by two interrelated developments. On the one hand, the experimental signatures which confirm theoretical statements are moving towards the fringes of the phenomenal world and, at the same time, leave increasingly wide spaces for entirely theoretical reasoning with little or no empirical interference. On the other hand, assessments of limitations to scientific underdetermination gain importance within the theoretical process.
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