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Profile: Sheldon Smith (University of California, Los Angeles)
  1. Robert W. McGee & Sheldon R. Smith, Ethics and Tax Evasion: A Comparative Study of Utah and Florida Opinion.
    The ethics of tax evasion has been discussed sporadically in the theological and philosophical literature for at least 500 years. Martin Crowe wrote a doctoral thesis that reviewed much of that literature in 1944. The debate revolved around about 15 issues. Over the centuries, three main views evolved on the topic. But the business ethics literature has paid scant attention to this issue, perhaps because of the belief that tax evasion is always unethical. This paper reports the results of an (...)
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  2. Robert W. McGee & Sheldon R. Smith, Opinions on the Ethics of Tax Evasion: A Comparative Study of Utah and New Jersey.
    The ethics of tax evasion has been discussed sporadically in the theological and philosophical literature for at least 500 years. Martin Crowe wrote a doctoral thesis that reviewed much of that literature in 1944. The debate revolved around about 15 issues. Over the centuries, three main views evolved on the topic. But the business ethics literature has paid scant attention to this issue, perhaps because of the belief that tax evasion is always unethical. This paper reports the results of an (...)
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  3. Sheldon R. Smith (2014). The Mystery of Applied Mathematics?: A Case Study in Mathematical Development Involving the Fractional Derivative. Philosophia Mathematica 22 (1):35-69.
    I discuss the applicability of mathematics via a detailed case study involving a family of mathematical concepts known as ‘fractional derivatives.’ Certain formulations of the mystery of applied mathematics would lead one to believe that there ought to be a mystery about the applicability of fractional derivatives. I argue, however, that there is no clear mystery about their applicability. Thus, via this case study, I think that one can come to see more clearly why certain formulations of the mystery of (...)
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  4. Sheldon R. Smith (2013). Causation in Classical Mechanics. In Robert Batterman (ed.), The Oxford Handbook of Philosophy of Physics. Oup Usa. 107.
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  5. Sheldon R. Smith (2013). Does Kant Have a Pre-Newtonian Picture of Force in the Balance Argument? An Account of How the Balance Argument Works. Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 44 (3):470-480.
  6. Sheldon R. Smith (2010). Elementary Classical Mechanics and the Principle of the Composition of Causes. Synthese 173 (3):353 - 373.
    In this paper, I explore whether elementary classical mechanics adheres to the Principle of Composition of Causes as Mill claimed and as certain contemporary authors still seem to believe. Among other things, I provide a proof that if one reads Mill’s description of the principle literally (as I think many do), it does not hold in any general sense. In addition, I explore a separate notion of Composition of Causes and note that it too does not hold in elementary classical (...)
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  7. Sheldon R. Smith (2008). Symmetries and the Explanation of Conservation Laws in the Light of the Inverse Problem in Lagrangian Mechanics. Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part B 39 (2):325-345.
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  8. Sheldon R. Smith (2007). Causation and Its Relation to 'Causal Laws'. British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 58 (4):659 - 688.
    Many have found attractive views according to which the veracity of specific causal judgements is underwritten by general causal laws. This paper describes various variants of that view and explores complications that appear when one looks at a certain simple type of example from physics. To capture certain causal dependencies, physics is driven to look at equations which, I argue, are not causal laws. One place where physics is forced to look at such equations (and not the only place) is (...)
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  9. Sheldon R. Smith (2007). Continuous Bodies, Impenetrability, and Contact Interactions: The View From the Applied Mathematics of Continuum Mechanics. British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 58 (3):503 - 538.
    Many philosophers have claimed that there is a tension between the impenetrability of matter and the possibility of contact between continuous bodies. This tension has led some to claim that impenetrable continuous bodies could not ever be in contact, and it has led others to posit certain structural features to continuous bodies that they believe would resolve the tension. Unfortunately, such philosophical discussions rarely borrow much from the investigation of actual matter. This is probably largely because actual matter is not (...)
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  10. Sheldon R. Smith (2003). Are Instantaneous Velocities Real and Really Instantaneous?: An Argument for the Affirmative. Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part B 34 (2):261-280.
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  11. Sheldon R. Smith (2001). Models and the Unity of Classical Physics: Nancy Cartwright's Dappled World. Philosophy of Science 68 (4):456-475.
    In this paper, I examine the claim that any physical theory will have an extremely limited domain of application because 1) we have to use distinct theories to model different situations in the world and 2) no theory has enough textbook models to handle anything beyond a highly simplified situation. Against the first claim, I show that many examples used to bolster it are actually instances of application of the very same classical theory rather than disjoint theories. Thus, there is (...)
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  12. Sheldon R. Smith (2000). Resolving Russell's Anti-Realism About Causation. The Monist 83 (2):274-295.
    In "On the Notion of Cause," Bertrand Russell expressed an eliminativist view about causation driven by an examination of the contents of mathematical physics. Russell's primary reason for thinking that the notion of causation is absent in physics was that laws of nature are mere "functional dependencies" and not "causal laws." In this paper, I show that several ordinary notions of causation can be found within the functional dependencies of physics. Not only does this show that Russell's eliminitivism was misguided, (...)
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