Fifteen essays are contained in this collection, all relating to Heinz Post’s article ‘Correspondence, Invariance and Heuristics’ (Post, 1971), also reprinted. In this article, written in (...) class='Hi'>the heyday of the post-positivist movement, Post aims to convince his fellowphilosophers of science to bring the issue of heuristics back to the philosophical stage. Examining a wealth of theories and models from the physics and chemistry of the last 300 years, Post extracts several strategies of theory construction of which he considers the General Correspondence Principle to be the most important. According to this principle, any acceptable newtheory should explain the well-conﬁrmed part of its predecessor. Later Post states the General Correspondence Principle more precisely and uses it with what he considers its de facto validity to argue against incommensurability, Kuhn-losses,1 and relativism. Post himself seems to support (but does not explicitly advocate) a kind of convergent realism which is most notably expressed in his credo that science progresses linearly. (shrink)
Semi-realism offers a metaphysics of science based on causal properties. Insofar as these are understood in terms of dispositions for specific relations that comprise the concrete structure of the world it can be regarded as a form of structural realism. And insofar as these properties are 'sociable' and cohere into the groupings that comprise the particulars investigated by science, it captures the underlying intuition behind forms of entity realism. However, I shall raise concerns about both these features. I shall suggest (...) that dispositionalism is not an appropriate metaphysics for modern physics and that 'sociability' should be understood in terms of the coherence revealed by symmetry principles. I hope to show how we can retain the virtues of semi-realism while dispensing with the problematic elements by recasting it in more thoroughly structuralist terms. (shrink)
In this opinion piece, the authors offer their personal and idiosyncratic views of the future of the philosophy of science, focusing on its relationship with the history of science and metaphysics, respectively. With regard to the former, they suggest that the Kantian tradition might be drawn upon both to render the history and philosophy of science more relevant to philosophy as a whole and to overcome the challenges posed by naturalism. When it comes to the latter, they suggest both that (...) metaphysics has much to learn from the philosophy of science and that it offers an array of tools that philosophers of science can themselves appropriate. (shrink)
Batterman () raises a number of concerns for the inferential conception of the applicability of mathematics advocated by Bueno and Colyvan (). Here, we distinguish the various concerns, and indicate how they can be assuaged by paying attention to the nature of the mappings involved and emphasizing the significance of interpretation in this context. We also indicate how this conception can accommodate the examples that Batterman draws upon in his critique. Our conclusion is that ‘asymptotic reasoning’ can be straightforwardly accommodated (...) within the inferential conception. 1 Introduction2 Immersion, Inference and Partial Structures3 Idealization and Surplus Structure4 Renormalization and the Stability of Mathematical Representations5 Explanation and Eliminability6 Requirements for Explanation7 Interpretation and Idealization8 Explanation, Empirical Regularities and the Inferential Conception9 Conclusion. (shrink)
This paper addresses the concern that despite centuries of analysis of jus ad helium and jus in hello, the pernicious view persists that war is a separate and amoral sphere: "C'est la guerre!" In fact, there are and must be rules for armed conflicts, and foul offenses such as rape and murder are not excused by war. What individuals do beyond the bounds of jus in hello reveals and affects their character as much as actions taken in more peaceful contexts. (...) Traditional martial virtues such as loyalty and discipline, if they are not undermined by mixed signals from leadership or corrupted by an unethical command climate, can be used to bolster the warrior's commitment to exercising restraint in wartime. These virtues remain accessible to the warrior even when dehumanization of the enemy dampens the mind's capacity for empathy and produces moral callousness. (shrink)
A Brazilian perspective on philosophy and history of science Content Type Journal Article Category Book Review Pages 1-3 DOI 10.1007/s11016-011-9635-0 Authors Steven French, Department of Philosophy, University of Leeds, Leeds, LS2 9JT UK Journal Metascience Online ISSN 1467-9981 Print ISSN 0815-0796.
Book notice Content Type Journal Article Pages 1-1 DOI 10.1007/s11016-011-9591-8 Authors Steven French, Department of Philosophy, University of Leeds, Leeds, LS2 9JT UK Journal Metascience Online ISSN 1467-9981 Print ISSN 0815-0796.
Howard argues that the existence of unitarily inequivalent representations in Quantum Field Theory presents a problem for structural realism in this context. I consider two potential ways round this problem: 1), follow Wallace in adopting the 'naive' Lagrangian form of QFT with cut-offs; 2), adapt Ruetsche's 'Swiss Army Knife' approach. The first takes us into the current debate between Wallace and Fraser on conventional vs. algebraic QFT. The second involves consideration of the role of inequivalent representations in understanding spontaneous symmetry (...) breaking and quantum statistics. In both cases, I suggest, the structural realist has sufficient room to manoeuvre. (shrink)
An account of scientific representation in terms of partial structures and partial morphisms is further developed. It is argued that the account addresses a variety of difficulties and challenges that have recently been raised against such formal accounts of representation. This allows some useful parallels between representation in science and art to be drawn, particularly with regard to apparently inconsistent representations. These parallels suggest that a unitary account of scientific and artistic representation is possible, and our article can be viewed (...) as laying the groundwork for such an account—although, as we shall acknowledge, significant differences exist between these two forms of representation. (shrink)
The ontological status of theories themselves has recently re-emerged as a live topic in the philosophy of science. We consider whether a recent approach within the philosophy of art can shed some light on this issue. For many years philosophers of aesthetics have debated a paradox in the (meta)ontology of musical works (e.g. Levinson ). Taken individually, there are good reasons to accept each of the following three propositions: (i) musical works are created; (ii) musical works are abstract objects; (iii) (...) abstract objects cannot be created. However it seems clear that, if one wants to avoid inconsistency, one cannot commit to all three. Following up recent developments courtesy of Cameron ([2008a]), we consider how one might respond to the corresponding set of propositions in the (meta)ontology of scientific theories. (shrink)
Various forms of underdetermination that might threaten the realist stance are examined. That which holds between different 'formulations' of a theory (such as the Hamiltonian and Lagrangian formulations of classical mechanics) is considered in some detail, as is the 'metaphysical' underdetermination invoked to support 'ontic structural realism'. The problematic roles of heuristic fruitfulness and surplus structure in attempts to break these forms of underdetermination are discussed and an approach emphasizing the relevant structural commonalities is defended.
Em Science and Partial Truth (da Costa and French 2003) argumentamos que inconsistências no raciocínio científico podem ser acomodadas pela combinação de estruturas parciais e quase-verdade, junto com uma noção de ‘crença representacional’. Neste artigo, examino se isso pode ser estendido aos raciocínios e crenças de outras culturas, focando em particular nas crenças de feitiçaria dos Azande. Argumento que tais crenças são similares às crenças teóricas da ciência ocidental, mas que o modo mais apropriado de representar esta última — e (...) portanto também a primeira — é através de estruturas parciais e quase-verdade. Dessa maneira, espero encontrar um caminho plausível entre as abordagens ‘imperialista’ e ‘relativista’. DOI: 10.5007/1808-1711.2011v15n1p77. (shrink)
Within the philosophy of science, the realism debate has been revitalised by the development of forms of structural realism. These urge a shift in focus from the object oriented ontologies that come and go through the history of science to the structures that remain through theory change. Such views have typically been elaborated in the context of theories of physics and are motivated by, first of all, the presence within such theories of mathematical equations that allow straightforward representation of the (...) relevant structures; and secondly, the implications of such theories for the individuality and identity of putative objects. My aim in this talk is to explore the possibility of extending such views to biological theories. An obvious concern is that within the context of the latter it is typically insisted that we cannot find the kinds of highly mathematised structures that structural realism can point to in physics. I shall indicate how the model-theoretic approach to theories might help allay such concerns. Furthermore, issues of identity and individuality also arise within biology. Thus Dupre has recently noted that there exists a ‘General Problem of Biological Individuality’ which relates to the issue of how one divides ‘massively integrated and interconnected’ systems into discrete components. In response Dupre advocates a form of ‘Promiscuous Realism’ that holds, for example, that there is no unique way of dividing the phylogenetic tree into kinds. Instead I shall urge serious consideration of those aspects of the work of Dupre and others that lean towards a structuralist interpretation. By doing so I hope to suggest possible ways in which a structuralist stance might be extended to biology. (shrink)
Welcome to the jumble Content Type Journal Article DOI 10.1007/s11016-010-9496-y Authors Steven French, Department of Philosophy, University of Leeds, Leeds, LS2 9JT UK Journal Metascience Online ISSN 1467-9981 Print ISSN 0815-0796.
The physics and metaphysics of identity and individuality Content Type Journal Article DOI 10.1007/s11016-010-9463-7 Authors Don Howard, Department of Philosophy and Graduate Program in History and Philosophy of Science, University of Notre Dame, Notre Dame, IN 46556, USA Bas C. van Fraassen, Philosophy Department, San Francisco State University, 1600 Holloway Avenue, San Francisco, CA 94132, USA Otávio Bueno, Department of Philosophy, University of Miami, Coral Gables, FL 33124, USA Elena Castellani, Department of Philosophy, University of Florence, Via Bolognese 52, 50139 (...) Florence, Italy Laura Crosilla, Department of Pure Mathematics, School of Mathematics, University of Leeds, Leeds, LS2 9JT UK Steven French, Department of Philosophy, University of Leeds, Leeds, UK Décio Krause, Department of Philosophy, Federal University of Santa Catarina, 88040-900 Campus Trindade, Florianópolis, SC Brazil Journal Metascience Online ISSN 1467-9981 Print ISSN 0815-0796. (shrink)
Stein once urged us not to confuse the means of representation with that which is being represented. Yet that is precisely what philosophers of science appear to have done at the meta-level when it comes to representing the practice of science. Proponents of the so-called ‘syntactic’ view identify theories as logically closed sets of sentences or propositions and models as idealised interpretations, or ‘theoruncula, as Braithwaite called them. Adherents of the ‘semantic’ approach, on the other hand, are typically characterised as (...) taking them to be families of models that are set-theoretic, according to Suppes and others, or abstract, as Giere has argued. da Costa and French (Science and Partial Truth. OUP, Oxford, 2003) suggested that we should refrain from ontological speculation as to the nature of scientific theories and models and focus on their appropriate representation for various purposes within the philosophy of science. Such an approach allows both linguistic and non-linguistic resources to play their appropriate role (see also French and Saatsi, Philosophy of Science, Proceedings of the 2004 PSA Meeting, 78:548–559, 2006) and can be supported by recent case studies illustrating the heterogeneity of scientific practice. My aim in this paper is to further develop this ‘quietist’ view, and to indicate how it offers a fruitful way forward for the philosophy of science. (shrink)
According to 'Ontic Structural Realism' (OSR), physical objects—qua metaphysical entities—should be reconceptualised, or, more strongly, eliminated in favour of the relevant structures. In this paper I shall attempt to articulate the relationship between these putative objects and structures in terms of certain accounts of metaphysical dependence currently available. This will allow me to articulate the differences between the different forms of OSR and to argue in favour of the 'eliminativist' version. A useful context is provided by Floridi's account of the (...) relationship between 'ontic' and 'epistemic' structural realisms and I shall conclude with some brief remarks on possible extensions of OSR into other scientific domains. (shrink)
Quasi-set theory has been proposed as a means of handling collections of indiscernible objects. Although the most direct application of the theory is quantum physics, it can be seen per se as a non-classical logic (a non-reflexive logic). In this paper we revise and correct some aspects of quasi-set theory as presented in , so as to avoid some misunderstandings and possible misinterpretations about the results achieved by the theory. Some further ideas with regard to quantum field theory are also (...) advanced in this paper. (shrink)