The systems studied in the specialsciences are often said to be causally autonomous, in the sense that their higher-level properties have causal powers that are independent of those of their more basic physical properties. This view was espoused by the British emergentists, who claimed that systems achieving a certain level of organizational complexity have distinctive causal powers that emerge from their constituent elements but do not derive from them.2 More recently, non-reductive physicalists have espoused a similar view (...) about the causal autonomy of specialscience properties. They argue that since these properties can typically have multiple physical realizations, they are not identical to physical properties, and further they possess causal powers that differ from those of their physical realizers.3 Despite the orthodoxy of this view, it is hard to find a clear exposition of its meaning or a defence of it in terms of a well-motivated account of causation. In this paper, we aim to address this gap in the literature by clarifying what is implied by the doctrine of the causal autonomy of special-science properties and by defending the doctrine using a prominent theory of causation from the philosophy of science. The theory of causation we employ is a simplified version of an “interventionist” theory advanced by James Woodward (2003, forthcoming a, b), according to which a cause makes a counterfactual difference to its effects. In terms of this theory, it is possible to show that a special-science property can make a difference to some effect while the physical property that realizes it does not. Although other philosophers have also used counterfactual analyses of causation to argue for the causal autonomy of special-science properties,4 the theory of causation we employ is able to establish this with an unprecedented level of precision.. (shrink)
An asymmetry between the demands at the computational and algorithmic levels of description furnishes the illusion that the abstract profile at the computational level can be multiply realized, and that something is actually being shared at the algorithmic one. A disembodied rendering of the situation lays the stress upon the different ways in which an algorithm can be implemented. However, from an embodied approach, things look rather different. The relevant pairing, I shall argue, is not between implementation and algorithm, but (...) rather between algorithm and computation. The autonomy of psychology is a result of the failure to appreciate this point. (shrink)
Some causal explanations are non-committal in that mention of a property in the explanans conveys information about the causal origin of the explanandum even if the property in question plays no causal role for the explanandum . Programme explanations are a variety of non-committal causal (NCC) explanations. Yet their interest is very limited since, as I will argue in this paper, their range of applicability is in fact quite narrow. However there is at least another variety of NCC explanations, causal (...) orientation explanations, which offer a plausible model for many explanations in the specialsciences. (shrink)
We examine the pros and cons of color realism, exposing some desiderata on a theory of color: the theory should render colors as scientifically legitimate and correctly individuated, and it should explain how we have veridical color experiences. We then show that these desiderata can by met by treating colors as properties of the specialsciences. According to our view, some of the major as properties of the specialsciences. According to our view, some of the (...) major disputes in the literature about color -- anti-realism versus dispositionalism versus reductionism -- are not well-founded at this stage of scientific inquiry. Our account of color is designed to be of use in the sciences and as such is driven largely by considerations of what the various sciences need in order to proceed appropriately. We argue that a scientific theory of colors need not regard colors as anything more than high-level statistical constructs built out of correlations between color experiences and other phenomena. (shrink)
The Kripkean conception of natural kinds (kinds are defined by essences that are intrinsic to their members and that lie at the microphysical level) indirectly finds support in a certain conception of a law of nature, according to which generalizations must have unlimited scope and be exceptionless to count as laws of nature. On my view, the kinds that constitute the subject matter of specialsciences such as biology may very well turn out to be natural despite the (...) fact that their essences fail to be microphysical or micro-based. On the causal conception of natural kinds I privilege, the naturalness of a kind is a function of the fact that it figures prominently in at least one causal law. However, there is a strong tendency prevailing among contemporary philosophers to assume that, in order to count as proper laws generalizations must be expectionless. Since most generalizations tracked down by the specialsciences turn out not to fulfill these criteria, what this conception of a law implies is that most of the generalizations the specialsciences trade in are not proper laws. It follows that, on this view, most if not all of the kinds the specialsciences dealing with turn out not to constitute natural kinds, understood as kinds to which bona fide laws apply. In order to establish that the non-microstructurally defined kinds that fall within the domain of enquiry of the specialsciences are eligible for the status of natural kind, I must therefore establish that generalizations needn’t have unlimited scope and be exceptionless to count as laws of nature. This is precisely what I seek to do in this paper. I begin by arguing that the question “what is a law of nature?” is most naturally interpreted as the question “what features must generalizations exhibit in order to ground scientific explanations?” and by offering reasons to believe that generalizations needn’t be exceptionless and have unlimited scope to play the crucial role laws have been thought to play in scientific explanation. Drawing on Sandra Mitchell [Mitchell, S. (2000). Philosophy of Science, 67, 242–265] and James Woodward’s [Woodward, J. (1997). Philosophy of science, 64 (proceedings), 524–541; Woodward, J. (2000). British Journal for the philosophy of science, 51(2), 197–254; Woodward, J. (2001). Philosophy of science, 68, 1–20] work, I subsequently develop an alternative account of the criteria generalizations must satisfy in order to count as laws of nature, which at least some of the generalizations of the specialsciences turn out to fulfill. I thus give credence to the idea that at least some of the kinds that fall within the domain of the specialsciences figure in laws of nature, and I thereby restore the possibility that some special science kinds deserve to be deemed natural. (shrink)
An important obstacle to lawhood in the specialsciences is the worry that such laws would require metaphysically extravagant conspiracies among fundamental particles. How, short of conspiracy, is this possible? In this paper we'll review a number of strategies that allow for the projectibility of special science generalizations without positing outlandish conspiracies: non-Humean pluralism, classical MRL theories of laws, and Albert and Loewer's theory. After arguing that none of the above fully succeed, we consider the conspiracy problem (...) through the lens of our preferred view of laws, an elaboration of the MRL view that we call the Better Best System (BBS) theory. BBS offers a picture on which, although all events supervene on a fundamental level, there is no one unique locus of projectibility; rather there are a large number of loci corresponding to the different areas (ecology, economics, solid-state chemistry, etc.) in which there are simple and strong generalizations to be made. While we expect that some amount of conspiracy-fear-inducing special science projectibility is inevitable given BBS, we'll argue that this is unobjectionable. It follows from BBS that the laws of any particular special or fundamental science amount to a proper subset of the laws. From this vantage point, the existence of projectible special science generalizations not guaranteed by the fundamental laws is not an occasion for conspiracy fantasies, but a predictable fact of life in a complex world. (shrink)
In many of the specialsciences, mathematical models are used to provide information about specified target systems. For instance, population models are used in ecology to make predictions about the abundance of real populations of particular organisms. The status of mathematical models, though, is unclear and their use is hotly contested by some practitioners. A common objection levelled against the use of these models is that they ignore all the known, causally-relevant details of the often complex target systems. (...) Indeed, the objection continues, mathematical models, by their very nature, abstract away from what matters and thus cannot be relied upon to provide any useful information about the systems they are supposed to represent. In this paper, I will examine the role of some typical mathematical models in population ecology and elsewhere. I argue that while, in a sense, these models do ignore the causal details, this move can not only be justified, it is necessary. I will argue that idealising away from complicating causal details often gives a clearer view of what really matters. And often what really matters is not the push and shove of base-level causal processes, but higher-level predictions and (non-causal) explanations. (shrink)
This paper explores whether it is possible to reformulate or re-interpret Lewis’s theory of fundamental laws of nature—his “best system analysis”—in such a way that it becomes a useful theory for special science laws. One major step in this enterprise is to make plausible how law candidates within best system competitions can tolerate exceptions—this is crucial because we expect special science laws to be so called “ceteris paribus laws”. I attempt to show how this is possible and also (...) how we can thereby make the first step towards a solution for the infamous difficulties surrounding the troublesome ceteris paribus clause. The paper outlines the general ideas of the theory but also points out some of its difficulties and background assumptions. (shrink)
There is “something more” to money, as this incisive review shows. The target article's shortcoming is its overextension of the “drug” metaphor as a blend of features that do not fit the rationalistic economics and behavioral psychologies summarized as tool theories, but this may be resolved by viewing money as a particular case of the more general evolutionary phenomenon of emergent subsystem autonomy. (Published Online April 5 2006).
In the growing Prussian university system of the early nineteenth century, "Wissenschaft" (science) was seen as an endeavor common to university faculties, characterized by a rigorous methodology. On this view, history and jurisprudence are sciences, as much as is physics. Nineteenth century trends challenged this view: the increasing influence of materialist and positivist philosophies, profound changes in the relationships between university faculties, and the defense of Kant's classification of the sciences by neo-Kantians. Wilhelm Dilthey's defense of the independence (...) of the methodology of the human sciences (Geisteswissenschaften) from those of the natural sciences (Naturwissenschaften) is as much a return to the ideal of Wissenschaft as a cooperative endeavor as it is a defense of the autonomy of interpretive or hermeneutic methods. The debate between Dilthey and the neo-Kantian Wilhelm Windelband at the close of the century illuminates the development of this dialogue over the nineteenth century. (shrink)
Physicalism ? or roughly the view that the stuff that physics talks about is all the stuff there is ? has had a popular press in philosophical circles during the twentieth century. And yet, at the same time, it has become quite fashionable lately to believe that the mind matters in this world after all and that psychology is an autonomous science irreducible to physics. However, if (true, downward) mental causation implies non-reducibility and Physicalism implies the converse, it is hard (...) to see how these two views could be compatible. This paper reviews some classical arguments purportedly showing how the autonomy of the specialsciences can be upheld without violating the laws of physics or the principle that physics constitutes a complete and closed system. These arguments are presented in order of increasing strength, indicating how the more popular arguments in fact fall short of establishing anti-reductionism of the intended kind. New arguments are added which claim to demonstrate quite effectively how downward causation is possible compatibly with the reign of physics. The paper begins with a section which distinguishes various kinds of reductionism. (shrink)
John Earman and John T. Roberts advocate a challenging and radical claim regarding the semantics of laws in the specialsciences: the statistical account. According to this account, a typical special science law “asserts a certain precisely defined statistical relation among well-defined variables” (Earman and Roberts 1999) and this statistical relation does not require being hedged by ceteris paribus conditions. In this paper, we raise two objections against the attempt to cash out the content of special (...) science generalizations in statistical terms. (shrink)
It is widely held that disciplines are autonomous when their taxonomies are “substrate neutral” and when the events, states and processes that realize their descriptive vocabulary are heterogeneous. This will be particularly true in the case of disciplines whose taxonomy consists largely in terms that individuate by function. Having concluded that the multiple realization of functional kinds is far less widespread than assumed or argued for, Shapiro cannot avail himself of the argument for the autonomy of the special (...)sciences which relies on multiple realization. This makes urgent the question of whether we must “now give up the idea that functionalist taxonomies have any scientific value?” [p. 650]. He acknowledges that we must either deny that the specialsciences are autonomous, because higher level kinds have only a single realization and can thus be reduced, or else we must deny that there are empirical laws in the specialsciences. “In other words, either specialsciences have no ontological independence from lower level sciences or, worse, they have no empirical laws, which is to say that they are not empirical sciences at all. [p. 650]” Shapiro’s reductionist/eliminativist dilemma for the specialsciences is unreal. For he has not canvassed the most important source of multiple realization in nature, and this source obviates his dilemma for most of the specialsciences. Moreover, the route he offers between the horns of his dilemma leads pretty directly to impalement on its eliminativist horn. Or so I shall try to show in this comment. (shrink)
The autonomy of chemistry and the legitimacy of the philosophy of chemistry are usually discussed in the context of the issue of reduction of chemistry to physics, and defended making use of the failure of reductionistic claims. Until quite recent times a rather widespread viewpoint was, however, that the failure of reductionistic claims concerns actually epistemological aspect of reduction only, but the ontological reduction of chemistry to physics cannot be denied. The new problems of the autonomy of chemistry (...) in the context of reductionism seem to be ontological and metaphysical. In the present paper it is argued that there is no need for some kind of metaphysical-ontological underpinning for rejection of the secondary positions of chemistry and philosophy of chemistry with respect to physics and philosophy of physics. The issue can be elucidated in terms of the philosophy of science accepting practical realism (also known by other names). (shrink)
Tendo em vista o amplo debate que divide a opinião de pesquisadores hoje no Brasil em torno da complexa questão do “ensino religioso” na escola pública, este artigo busca situar o tema na perspectiva das ciências da religião. Busca-se apontar a possibilidade de um aporte singular desse novo campo disciplinar no “ensino do religioso”. Sem cair num proselitismo problemático, busca-se mostrar a pertinência e plausibilidade de uma reflexão que favoreça a aproximação e o conhecimento por parte dos alunos das distintas (...) manifestações do fenômeno religioso, bem como das plurais opções espirituais em curso no cenário mundial. Trata-se de uma aproximação que vem enriquecida com a dinâmica transversal e multidisciplinar das ciências da religião, movida também por uma distinta sensibilidade ao mundo do outro e da perspectiva dialogal, de forma a superar a dinâmica das afirmações identitárias e a buscar com sinceridade e abertura, o respeito e o aprendizado diante do patrimônio religioso do outro. Palavras-chave : Educação. Ensino Religioso. Ciências da Religião. Pluralismo.Taking into account the wider debate that involves opposing views of researchers in Brazil on the complex issue of religious education at public schools, this essay situates this thematic from the standpoint of sciences of religion. This article reflects on the possibility of a singular approach to this new problematic concerning the “religious education” in public schools. It is necessary to show the possibility of a reflection that helps students to learn about different manifestations of religious phenomenon, as well as the plurality of religious spiritual experiences nowadays available, without falling in a questionable proselytise. This experience can be enriched by transversal and multidisciplinary approaches in sciences of religion. This means to take a dialogic perspective with a special sensibility to the others’ worldview in such a way that allows us to overcome the tendency to affirm one’s own identity rather than the identity of the other. In this way, we are sincerely open to respect the religious experience of the other. Keywords : Education. Religious Education. Sciences of Religion. Pluralism. (shrink)
Laws of nature seem to take two forms. Fundamental physics discovers laws that hold without exception, ‘strict laws’, as they are sometimes called; even if some laws of fundamental physics are irreducibly probabilistic, the probabilistic relation is thought not to waver. In the nonfundamental, or special, sciences, matters differ. Laws of such sciences as psychology and economics hold only ceteris paribus – that is, when other things are equal. Sometimes events accord with these ceteris paribus laws (c.p. (...) laws, hereafter), but sometimes the laws are not manifest, as if they have somehow been placed in abeyance: the regular relation indicative of natural law can fail in circumstances where an analogous outcome would effectively refute the assertion of strict law. Many authors have questioned the supposed distinction between strict laws and c.p. laws. The brief against it comprises various considerations: from the complaint that c.p. clauses are void of meaning to the claim that, although understood well enough, they should appear in all law-statements. These two concerns, among others, are addressed in due course, but first, I venture a positive proposal. I contend that there is an important contrast between strict laws and c.p. laws, one that rests on an independent distinction between combinatorial and noncombinatorial nomic principles.2 Instantiations of certain properties, e.g., mass and charge, nomically produce individual forces, or more generally, causal influences,3 in accordance with noncombinatorial.. (shrink)
In aesthetics a misleading idea of autonomy prevails: art is autonomous because it does not serve any heteronomous purposes. This conviction is deeply rooted in the philosophy of art from Romanticism to Heidegger and Adorno. However, it is not convincing because art is functional in various ways. It can have a variety of very different purposes – including some that the artist does not approve. Against this background, the article focuses on a peculiarity of modern aesthetics which has not (...) been noticed so far: the development of the modern concept of art has made the category of the mistake almost disappear. Works of art are taken to be something given which is not supposed to be examined for mistakes but to be explained and made understandable by the artistic decisions they are based on. By reflecting this peculiarity, the author develops an understanding of the autonomy of art as a normative artistic competence, which is compatible with the functionality of works of art and can help to clarify the social importance of art. (shrink)
Chemistry as the special science of the elements Content Type Journal Article DOI 10.1007/s11016-010-9458-4 Authors Klaus Ruthenberg, Faculty of Science, Coburg University of Applied Sciences, 96406 Coburg, Germany Journal Metascience Online ISSN 1467-9981 Print ISSN 0815-0796.
There is the general philosophical question concerning the relationship between physics, which is often taken to be our fundamental and all-encompassing science, on one hand and the specialsciences, such as biology and psychology, each of which deals with phenomena in some specially restricted domain, on the other. This paper deals with a narrower question: Are there laws in the specialsciences, laws like those we find, or expect to find, in basic physics? Three arguments that (...) are intended to show that there are no such laws are presented and examined. The paper ends with brief remarks concerning the implications of these arguments for explanation and causation in the specialsciences. (shrink)
Research carried out in Lithuania shows that the system of expert bodies has already prepared for change. Such opinion is supported by the Lithuanian Government working group meeting concerning the improvement of experts’ performance. In our opinion, Lithuania should ensure strategic, integrated multi-level forensic analysis, rational and potential use of material by not only dealing with a variety of forensic issues, but also by the interpretation of criminal investigation and prevention on scientific, methodological, didactic and organisational levels. The article presents (...) the concept of research that is accomplishing in scientific project ‘Special scientific knowledge of the investigation of crime: the concept and its realisation mechanism” and first intermediary results of the research. The purpose of the project is to formulate the scientific concept and realisation of special knowledge in the investigation of crimes and administrative offences in the direction of legal system reform. (shrink)
In the present commentary on Jaegwon Kim's Laws, Causation, and Explanation in the SpecialSciences, I first give a short summary of the global problem. In a second step, I go on to sum up and comment on the three arguments which Kim gives to the disadvantage of 'strict' special-science laws. In so doing, I shall focus on the question whether ceteris paribus laws can still apply in specialsciences.
The view that special science properties are multiply realizable has been attacked in recent years by Shapiro, Bechtel and Mundale, Polger, and others. Focusing on psychological and neuroscientific properties, I argue that these attacks are unsuccessful. By drawing on interspecies physiological comparisons I show that diverse physical mechanisms can converge on common functional properties at multiple levels. This is illustrated with examples from the psychophysics and neuroscience of early vision. This convergence is compatible with the existence of general constraints (...) on the evolution of cognitive systems, and does not involve any ad hoc typing of coarse-grained higher level properties. The mechanisms that realize these common higher level properties are really distinct by the criteria laid down by critics of multiple readability. Finally, I present an account of how such functional properties might constitute special science kinds by playing a central explanatory role in a range of cognitive models. Behavioral science kinds in particular are the functionally defined constituents picked out by our most successful models of the multilevel systems and mechanisms that explain cognitive capacities. (shrink)
This paper discusses the proposal made by Lombardi and Labarca (Found Chem 7:125–148, 2005) that internal realism can secure the ontological autonomy of chemistry. I argue that internal realism is not, by itself, sufficient to accomplish this task. The fact that conceptual schemes may differ with respect to their theoretical virtues, and the possibility that the relations between them may be reductive undermine the premise that each conceptual scheme has an equal right to define its own ontology, which is (...) a key premise in Lombardi and Labarca’s proposal. (shrink)
The European Union’s policies regarding genetically modified food (GMF hereafter) are based on the precautionary principle and the requirement of respecting consumers’ autonomy. We ask whether the requirement of respecting consumers’ autonomy regarding GMF implies that both GMF and non-GMF products should be available in the market. According to one line of thought, consumers’ choices may be autonomous even when the both types of products are not available. A food market with only GMF or only non-GMF products does (...) not strictly speaking compel people to buy the type of products available, and a possibility to refuse to buy is enough for consumers’ choice to be autonomous. According to another line of thought, the unavailability of GMF or non-GMF products restricts the autonomy of those consumers who are unwilling to use the only type of products (GMF or non-GMF) available in the market. From the point of view of autonomy, a food market with only GMF or only non-GMF products does not offer enough alternatives for consumers. Moreover, the whole point of the European Union’s requirement of respecting consumers’ autonomy is to enable an autonomous choice between GMF and non-GMF—not just to give a possibility to refrain from buying. However, this does not imply that producers, processors, wholesalers, retailers, or public authorities have a moral duty to see that there are both GMF and non-GMF products available in the market. The requirement to respect autonomy is prima facie in nature, and in the context of GMF, other prima facie requirements are often stronger and override it. Not only the consumers’ autonomy of choice but also environmental values, other people’s well-being, and the autonomous choice of farmers, retailers, and other relevant parties should be respected. Thus, according to the both lines of thought, the requirement to respect consumers’ autonomy of choice does not imply that there should be both GMF and non-GMF products available in the market. (shrink)
Individuals’ food choices are intimately connected to their self-images and world views. Some dietary choices adopted by consumers pose restrictions on their use of genetically modified food (GMF). It is quite generally agreed that some kind of labeling is necessary for respecting consumers’ autonomy of choice regarding GMF. In this paper, we ask whether the current practice of mandatory labeling of GMF products in the European Union is a sufficient administrative procedure for respecting consumers’ autonomy. Three issues concerning (...) this question are discussed. First, we argue that labeling needs to be accompanied by relevant and understandable information on genetic modification, genetically modified food, and the European practice of GMF labeling. Second, we claim that this type of informing makes it less likely that consumers start to avoid GMF products just because labels make them suspicious of the products. It is further noted that even though some consumers may react to labels this way, labels do not restrict their autonomy of choice. Third, a need for more precise labels indicating the source of the transferred gene is considered. It is found out that such labels are not morally necessary when also non-GMF products are available and no relevant differences (such as differences in price and healthiness) exist between them and GMF products. However, in some other cases more precise labels may be needed for respecting consumers’ autonomy of choice. (shrink)
The detailed analysis allows to discern seven kinds of integration, namely: I₁ consisting in the synthesis of scientific disciplines from their elements, including disciplinary unification I₁; I₂ inclusion of a science in (reduction to) another, more general; I₃ - links between different sciences, especially establishing of common elements; I₄ - interdisciplines bridging various sciences; I₅ - combination of two (or more) disciplines into a new (complex) science; I₆ - a general approach to several domains or multidisciplinary unification; I₇ (...) - transdisciplinary sciences about relations of the same type in various traditional domains. These kinds of integration are interwoven with processes of differentiation, viz. D₁ - internal differentiation of the sciences resulting of I₁; D₂ - interdisciplinary differentiation concomitant I₄, and D₃ - specialization of I₇ sciences in several sections. As a result integration and differentiation are combined in the pairs I₁ - D₁, I₇ - D₃, and D₂ - I₄. The processes of integration (and differentiation) may be presented schematically in the following (not strictly isolated one of another) sequence: in the 17th century started I₁ followed by D₁, and in the last decades by I₁'; during the 18th and the 19th c. cases of I₂ and I₃ appear; I₄ (together with D₂) is unfolding since the late 19th century. Finally, I₇ (and D₃), as well as I₅ and I₆ pertain to the latter half of our century. Representative are for one thing I₁, I₄, and I₇ outlining the main stages of integration and at the same time connected with respective kinds of differentiation. (shrink)
Summary From the following discussion, we conclude that: (a) the homogeneity of space implies (in special relativity) the homogeneity of time, and vice versa; (b) the assumption of homogeneity of space (or time) implies that the transformation formulae must be linear (see Equations (10) and (17)).
Using sheaves of special groups, we show that a general local-global principle holds for every reduced special group whose associated space of orderings only has a finite number of accumulation points. We also compute the behaviour of the Boolean hull functor applied to sheaves of special groups.
The paper addresses the problem of the delay of the social sciences with respect to the natural sciences. It is argued that there are no special differences between them from a methodological point of view. The methodology of both can be understood in terms of the idealizational conception of science. Nor is the subject-matter the source of the problems. It is argued that it is the social placement of the social sciences within wider communities that is (...) responsible for the delay. (shrink)
A basic naturalistic epistemological intuition that Theo Kuipers and I share is the idea that the differences between the natural and the social sciences do not stand in the way of co-operative, integrative, and perhaps even reductive relations between them. In several papers I have offered a teleofunctional argument against interpretationalist autonomy claims and Kuipers (2001), Chapter 6 seems to favor this type of rebuttal. However, within the last 15 years or so, there has been a revival of (...) another kind of "verstehende," or rather "einfühlende," approach, which differs in some significant respects from the interpretationalist view. In this paper I investigate whether this so-called simulation theory might cause trouble for our naturalistic view of the relation between the natural and the social sciences. (shrink)
In this paper we briefly examine and evaluate Quine’s physicalism. On the supposition, in accordance with Quine’s views, that there can be no change of any sort without a physical change, we argue that this point leaves plenty of room to understand and accept a limited autonomy of the specialsciences and of other domains of disciplinary and common-sense inquiry and discourse. The argument depends on distinguishing specific, detailed programs of reduction from the general Quinean strategy of (...) reduction by explication. We argue that the details of the relations of particular sciences, disciplines and domains of discourse depend on empirical evidence and empirical-theoretical developments and that the generalized approach of reduction by explication is also subject to related empirical-theoretical constraints. So understood, physicalism lacks much of the controversial force and many of the implications sometimes associated with it. (shrink)
The few extant arguments concerning the autonomy of science in the rational acceptance of hypotheses are examined. It is concluded that science is not morally autonomous, and that the attendant notion of rationality in science decisionmaking is inadequate. A more comprehensive notion of scientific rationality, which encompasses the old one, is proposed as a replacement. The general idea is that scientists qua scientist ought, in their acceptance decisions, to take into account the ethical consequences of acceptance as well as (...) the consequences with regard to the attainment of "purely scientific" or "epistemic" objectives. The result constitutes an argument for a (presumably cooperative) game theoretic treatment of inductive logic. (shrink)
The primacy of physics generates a philosophical problem that the naturalist must solve in order to be entitled to an egalitarian acceptance of the ontological commitments he or she inherits from the specialsciences and fundamental physics. The problem is the generalized causal exclusion argument. If there is no genuine causation in the domains of the specialsciences but only in fundamental physics then there are grounds for doubting the existence of macroscopic objects and properties, or (...) at least the concreteness of them. The aim of this paper is to show that the causal exclusion problem derives its force from a false dichotomy between Humeanism about causation and a notion of productive or generative causation based on a defunct model of the physical world. †To contact the author, please write to: Department of Philosophy, University of Bristol, 9 Woodland Rd., Bristol BS8 1TB, UK. (shrink)
This paper describes an alternative to the common view that explanation in the specialsciences involves subsumption under laws. According to this alternative, whether or not a generalization can be used to explain has to do with whether it is invariant rather than with whether it is lawful. A generalization is invariant if it is stable or robust in the sense that it would continue to hold under a relevant if it is stable or robust in the sense (...) that it would continue to hold under a relevant class of changes. Unlike lawfulness, invariance comes in degrees and has other features that are well suited to capture the characteristics of explanatory generalizations in the specialsciences. For example, a generalization can be invariant even if it has exceptions or holds only over a limited spatio-temporal interval. The notion of invariance can be used to resolve a number of dilemmas that arise in standard treatments of explanatory generalizations in the specialsciences. (shrink)
My central thesis is that philosophers considering questions of epistemic value ought to devote greater attention to the enduring nature of beliefs. I begin by arguing that a commonly drawn analogy between beliefs and actions is flawed in important respects, and that a better, more fruitful analogue for belief would be desire, or a similarly enduring state of an agent. With this in hand, I argue that treating beliefs as enduring, constitutive states of agents allows us to capture the importance (...) of accessible, justified, and true beliefs to sustaining personal identity, autonomy, self-control, and authenticity. We thus arrive at a significant value to such beliefs through their crucial role in our personal, practical identities. (shrink)