By reducing the explanatory power of theories to their unifying power, unificationism seems the best candidate for a theory of explanatory relevance. I argue that Philip Kitcher's version of unificationism, which relies on the central concept of an argument pattern, can in principle not live up to such an expectation, because his notion of stringency, which is needed to distinguish between genuine and spurious unifications, relies on a prior notion of explanatory relevance.
The paper investigates the question as to which features of hypotheses make them explanatory. Given the intuitive appeal of causal explanations, one might suspect that explanatoriness is deeply connected with causation. I argue in detail that this is wrong by showing that none of the dominant analyses of causation are suited for general accounts of explanatoriness. In the second part, I provide the outlines of an account of explanatoriness that connects it with scientific understanding, which in turn is argued to (...) be analyzable as the cognitive realization of scientific models. (shrink)
Analyzing epistemic sophistication in terms of the stringency of a person’s standards, her skills in using evidence, and her wisdom in employing proper standards, this book argues for a radical conception of epistemology as being concerned with the duties that arise during the process of belief formation.
Why should anybody care about theoretical simplicity? It is pretty clear that simpler theories don't stand a better chance of being true, just because they are simpler than their competitors. Of course, simpler theories are easier to use in technological applications, and they are more tractable. But that is something engineers should be concerned about. Why should the theoretical scientist be interested in simple theories? ;The principal virtue of simple theories is their facilitation of scientific understanding in virtue of their (...) greater explanatory power. Simple theories are more unified, and they allow important kinds of reasoning about the world. If a theory yields a unified but structure-rich picture of the world, and thereby a high degree of understanding, we can design relevant experiments, form rational expectations, and in general are in a better position to gather relevant data than when we confront the world without any understanding whatsoever. Simple theories are therefore, in virtue of increasing our understanding, epistemically advantageous. That's why the theoretical scientist should be interested in simple theories. ;Of course, since the choice of simple theories does not guarantee getting closer to the truth, the claim that such a choice is epistemically advantageous presupposes that we draw a distinction between the explanatory power of theories and their accuracy. This distinction has not received sufficient attention in the existing literature, and that's why it was so difficult to say exactly what the virtue of simple theories is. Recognizing that explanatory power and accuracy are orthogonal aspects of scientific theories allows us to assign simplicity the role of facilitating understanding and thereby guiding controlled experimentation. (shrink)
This book is a survey of the most important developments in Austrian philosophy in its classical period from the 1870s to the Anschluss in 1938. Thus it is intended as a contribution to the history of philosophy. But I hope that it will be seen also as a contribution to philosophy in its own right as an attempt to philosophize in the spirit of those, above all Roderick Chisholm, Rudolf Haller, Kevin Mulligan and Peter Simons, who have done so much (...) to demonstrate the continued fertility of the ideas and methods of the Austrian philosophers in our own day. For some time now, historians of philosophy have been gradually coming to terms with the idea that post-Kantian philosophy in the German-speaking world ought properly to be divided into two distinct traditions which we might refer to as the German and Austrian traditions, respectively. The main line of the first consists in a list of personages beginning with Kant, Fichte, Hegel and Schelling and ending with Heidegger, Adorno and Bloch. The main line of the second may be picked out similarly by means of a list beginning with Bolzano, Mach and Meinong, and ending with Wittgenstein, Neurath and Popper. As should be clear, it is the Austrian tradition that has contributed most to the contemporary mainstream of philosophical thinking in the Anglo-Saxon world. For while there are of course German thinkers who have made crucial contributions to the development of exact or analytic philosophy, such thinkers were outsiders when seen from the perspective of native German philosophical culture, and in fact a number of them found their philosophical home precisely in Vienna. When, in contrast, we examine the influence of the Austrian line, we encounter a whole series of familiar and unfamiliar links to the characteristic concerns of more recent philosophy of the analytic sort. As Michael Dummett points out in his Origins of Analytic Philosophy, the newly fashionable habit of referring to analytic philosophy as "Anglo-American" is in this light a "grave historical distortion". If, he says, we take into account the historical context in which analytic philosophy developed, then such philosophy "could at least as well be called "Anglo-Austrian" (1988, p. 7). Much valuable scholarly work has been done on the thinking of Husserl and Wittgenstein, Mach and the Vienna Circle. The central axis of Austrian philosophy, however, which as I hope to show in what follows is constituted by the work of Brentano and his school, is still rather poorly understood. Work on Meinong or Twardowski by contemporary philosophers still standardly rests upon simplified and often confused renderings of a few favoured theses taken out of context. Little attention is paid to original sources, and little effort is devoted to establishing what the problems were by which the Austrian philosophers in general were exercised -- in spite of the fact that many of these same problems have once more become important as a result of the contemporary burgeoning of interest on the part of philosophers in problems in the field of cognitive science. (shrink)
Posset, Franz The 500th anniversary of Luther's Reformation has been commemorated and celebrated in a decade-long undertaking between 2007 and 2017. At its beginning in 2007, the Catholic-Ecumenical publisher Paulist Press issued a volume within its series of the Classics of Western Spirituality, titled Luther's Spirituality, which was edited and translated by Lutheran theologians Philip D. Krey and Peter D. S. Krey, with a preface by Lutheran theologian Timothy J. Wengert. It contains numerous text selections. Toward the end of the (...) 'Luther Decade', the two compilers offered another anthology, The Catholic Luther: His Early Writings, published by the same press in 2016, with a foreword by Catholic ecumenist Wolfgang Th nissen, director of the Ecumenical Institute in the Archdiocese of Paderborn, Germany. These are welcome ecumenical signposts. (shrink)
Menschen glauben aus den unterschiedlichsten Gründen an Gott. Aber ist dieser Glaube rational gerechtfertigt? In diesem Band streiten führende Religionsphilosoph/-innen um die Frage, ob die besten Gründe für oder gegen den Theismus sprechen. Einige Beiträge unterziehen klassische Argumente für bzw. gegen die Existenz Gottes einer neuen Betrachtung. Andere gehen der Frage nach, welche Bedingungen eigentlich erfüllt sein müssen, damit die Überzeugung, Gott existiere, als vernünftig angesehen werden kann. Gelten hier dieselben Standards wie bei Überzeugungen über die Existenz von Quasaren? Oder (...) haben religiöse Überzeugungen einen besonderen epistemologischen Status? Und ist es rational zulässig, religiöse Erfahrungen oder tradierte Offenbarungen als Gründe für religiöse Überzeugungen anzuführen? Mit Beiträgen von Ansgar Beckermann, Katherine Dormandy, Franz von Kutschera, Winfried Löffler, Herman Philipse, Peter Schulte, Holm Tetens und Christian Weidemann. (shrink)