Year:

  1.  14
    Vagueness and Imprecise Imitation in Signalling Games.Michael Franke & José Pedro Correia - 2018 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 69 (4):1037-1067.
    Signalling games are popular models for studying the evolution of meaning, but typical approaches do not incorporate vagueness as a feature of successful signalling. Complementing recent like-minded models, we describe an aggregate population-level dynamic that describes a process of imitation of successful behaviour under imprecise perception and realization of similar stimuli. Applying this new dynamic to a generalization of Lewis’s signalling games, we show that stochastic imprecision leads to vague, yet by-and-large efficient signal use, and, moreover, that it unifies evolutionary (...)
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  2.  63
    How to Be a Function Pluralist.Justin Garson - 2018 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 69 (4):1101-1122.
    I distinguish two forms of pluralism about biological functions, between-discipline pluralism and within-discipline pluralism. Between-discipline pluralism holds that different theories of function are appropriate for different subdisciplines of biology and psychology. I provide reasons for rejecting this view. Instead, I recommend within-discipline pluralism, which emphasizes the plurality of function concepts at play within any given subdiscipline of biology and psychology.
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  3.  87
    Natural Kinds and Natural Kind Terms: Myth and Reality.Sören Häggqvist & Åsa Wikforss - 2018 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 69 (4):911-933.
    The article examines the role of natural kinds in semantic theorizing, which has largely been conducted in isolation from relevant work in science, metaphysics, and philosophy of science. We argue that the Kripke–Putnam account of natural kind terms, despite recent claims to the contrary, depends on a certain metaphysics of natural kinds; that the metaphysics usually assumed—micro-essentialism—is untenable even in a ‘placeholder’ version; and that the currently popular homeostatic property cluster theory of natural kinds is correct only to an extent (...)
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  4.  10
    Dynamic Humeanism.Michael Townsen Hicks - 2018 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 69 (4):983-1007.
    Humean accounts of laws of nature fail to distinguish between dynamic laws and static initial conditions. But this distinction plays a central role in scientific theorizing and explanation. I motivate the claim that this distinction should matter for the Humean, and show that current views lack the resources to explain it. I then develop a regularity theory that captures this distinction. My view takes empirical accessibility to be one of the primary features of laws, and I identify features laws must (...)
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  5.  19
    Understanding Toy Models.Alexander Reutlinger, Dominik Hangleiter & Stephan Hartmann - 2018 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 69 (4):1069-1099.
    Toy models are highly idealized and extremely simple models. Although they are omnipresent across scientific disciplines, toy models are a surprisingly under-appreciated subject in the philosophy of science. The main philosophical puzzle regarding toy models concerns what the epistemic goal of toy modelling is. One promising proposal for answering this question is the claim that the epistemic goal of toy models is to provide individual scientists with understanding. The aim of this article is to precisely articulate and to defend this (...)
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  6.  47
    There Is No Conspiracy of Inertia.Ryan Samaroo - 2018 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 69 (4):957-982.
    I examine two claims that arise in Brown’s account of inertial motion. Brown claims there is something objectionable about the way in which the motions of free particles in Newtonian theory and special relativity are coordinated. Brown also claims that since a geodesic principle can be derived in Einsteinian gravitation, the objectionable feature is explained away. I argue that there is nothing objectionable about inertia and that while the theorems that motivate Brown’s second claim can be said to figure in (...)
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  7.  31
    Attention, Psychology, and Pluralism.Henry Taylor - 2018 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 69 (4):935-956.
    There is an overriding orthodoxy amongst philosophers that attention is a ‘unified phenomenon’, subject to explanation by one monistic theory. In this article, I examine whether this philosophical orthodoxy is reflected in the practice of psychology. I argue that the view of attention that best represents psychological work is a variety of conceptual pluralism. When it comes to the psychology of attention, monism should be rejected and pluralism should be embraced. _1_ The Monistic Consensus _2_ The Varieties of Pluralism _3_ (...)
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  8. Imprecise Bayesianism and Global Belief Inertia.Aron Vallinder - 2018 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 69 (4):1205-1230.
    Traditional Bayesianism requires that an agent’s degrees of belief be represented by a real-valued, probabilistic credence function. However, in many cases it seems that our evidence is not rich enough to warrant such precision. In light of this, some have proposed that we instead represent an agent’s degrees of belief as a set of credence functions. This way, we can respect the evidence by requiring that the set, often called the agent’s credal state, includes all credence functions that are in (...)
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  9.  26
    The Analysis of Data and the Evidential Scope of Neuroimaging Results.Jessey Wright - 2018 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 69 (4):1179-1203.
    The sceptical positions philosophers have adopted with respect to neuroimaging data are based on detailed evaluations of subtraction, which is one of many data analysis techniques used with neuroimaging data. These positions are undermined when the epistemic implications of the use of a diversity of data analysis techniques are taken into account. I argue that different data analysis techniques reveal different patterns in the data. Through the use of multiple data analysis techniques, researchers can produce results that are locally robust. (...)
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  10.  17
    Bridging the Gap Between Similarity and Causality: An Integrated Approach to Concepts.Corinne L. Bloch-Mullins - 2018 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 69 (3):605-632.
    A growing consensus in the philosophy and psychology of concepts is that while theories such as the prototype, exemplar, and theory theories successfully account for some instances of concept formation and application, none of them successfully accounts for all such instances. I argue against this ‘new consensus’ and show that the problem is, in fact, more severe: the explanatory force of each of these theories is limited even with respect to the phenomena often cited to support it, as each fails (...)
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  11.  60
    Explanation in Computational Neuroscience: Causal and Non-Causal.M. Chirimuuta - 2018 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 69 (3):849-880.
    This article examines three candidate cases of non-causal explanation in computational neuroscience. I argue that there are instances of efficient coding explanation that are strongly analogous to examples of non-causal explanation in physics and biology, as presented by Batterman, Woodward, and Lange. By integrating Lange’s and Woodward’s accounts, I offer a new way to elucidate the distinction between causal and non-causal explanation, and to address concerns about the explanatory sufficiency of non-mechanistic models in neuroscience. I also use this framework to (...)
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  12.  65
    Reconsidering No-Go Theorems From a Practical Perspective.Michael E. Cuffaro - 2018 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 69 (3):633-655.
    I argue that our judgements regarding the locally causal models that are compatible with a given constraint implicitly depend, in part, on the context of inquiry. It follows from this that certain quantum no-go theorems, which are particularly striking in the traditional foundational context, have no force when the context switches to a discussion of the physical systems we are capable of building with the aim of classically reproducing quantum statistics. I close with a general discussion of the possible implications (...)
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  13.  82
    Colour Vision and Seeing Colours.Will Davies - 2018 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 69 (3):657-690.
    Colour vision plays a foundational explanatory role in the philosophy of colour, and serves as perennial quarry in the wider philosophy of perception. I present two contributions to our understanding of this notion. The first is to develop a constitutive approach to characterizing colour vision. This approach seeks to comprehend the nature of colour vision qua psychological kind, as contrasted with traditional experiential approaches, which prioritize descriptions of our ordinary visual experience of colour. The second contribution is to argue that (...)
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  14.  10
    Quantum Causal Models, Faithfulness, and Retrocausality.Peter W. Evans - 2018 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 69 (3):745-774.
    Wood and Spekkens argue that any causal model explaining the EPRB correlations and satisfying the no-signalling constraint must also violate the assumption that the model faithfully reproduces the statistical dependences and independences—a so-called ‘fine-tuning’ of the causal parameters. This includes, in particular, retrocausal explanations of the EPRB correlations. I consider this analysis with a view to enumerating the possible responses an advocate of retrocausal explanations might propose. I focus on the response of Näger, who argues that the central ideas of (...)
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  15.  27
    The Frugal Inference of Causal Relations.Malcolm Forster, Garvesh Raskutti, Reuben Stern & Naftali Weinberger - 2018 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 69 (3):821-848.
    Recent approaches to causal modelling rely upon the causal Markov condition, which specifies which probability distributions are compatible with a directed acyclic graph. Further principles are required in order to choose among the large number of DAGs compatible with a given probability distribution. Here we present a principle that we call frugality. This principle tells one to choose the DAG with the fewest causal arrows. We argue that frugality has several desirable properties compared to the other principles that have been (...)
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  16.  42
    Messy Chemical Kinds.Joyce C. Havstad - 2018 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 69 (3):719-743.
    Following Kripke and Putnam, the received view of chemical kinds has been a microstructuralist one. To be a microstructuralist about chemical kinds is to think that membership in said kinds is conferred by microstructural properties. Recently, the received microstructuralist view has been elaborated and defended, but it has also been attacked on the basis of complexities, both chemical and ontological. Here, I look at which complexities really challenge the microstructuralist view; at how the view itself might be made more complicated (...)
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  17.  2
    The Evolutionary Gene and the Extended Evolutionary Synthesis.Qiaoying Lu & Pierrick Bourrat - 2018 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 69 (3):775-800.
    Advocates of an ‘extended evolutionary synthesis’ have claimed that standard evolutionary theory fails to accommodate epigenetic inheritance. The opponents of the extended synthesis argue that the evidence for epigenetic inheritance causing adaptive evolution in nature is insufficient. We suggest that the ambiguity surrounding the conception of the gene represents a background semantic issue in the debate. Starting from Haig’s gene-selectionist framework and Griffiths and Neumann-Held’s notion of the evolutionary gene, we define senses of ‘gene’, ‘environment’, and ‘phenotype’ in a way (...)
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  18.  58
    Causation, Probability, and the Continuity Bind.Anthony F. Peressini - 2018 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 69 (3):881-909.
    Analyses of singular causation often make use of the idea that a cause increases the probability of its effect. Of particular salience in such accounts are the values of the probability function of the effect, conditional on the presence and absence of the putative cause, analysed around the times of the events in question: causes are characterized by the effect’s probability function being greater when conditionalized upon them. Put this way, it becomes clearer that the ‘behaviour’ of probability functions in (...)
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  19.  45
    Modelling Inequality.Karim Thébault, Seamus Bradley & Alexander Reutlinger - 2018 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 69 (3):691-718.
    Econophysics is a new and exciting cross-disciplinary research field that applies models and modelling techniques from statistical physics to economic systems. It is not, however, without its critics: prominent figures in more mainstream economic theory have criticized some elements of the methodology of econophysics. One of the main lines of criticism concerns the nature of the modelling assumptions and idealizations involved, and a particular target are ‘kinetic exchange’ approaches used to model the emergence of inequality within the distribution of individual (...)
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  20.  81
    Can the Science of Well-Being Be Objective?Anna Alexandrova - 2018 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 69 (2):421-445.
    Well–being, health and freedom are some of the many phenomena of interest to science whose definitions rely on a normative standard. Empirical generalizations about them thus present a special case of value-ladenness. I propose the notion of a ‘mixed claim’ to denote such generalizations. Against the prevailing wisdom, I argue that we should not seek to eliminate them from science. Rather, we need to develop principles for their legitimate use. Philosophers of science have already reconciled values with objectivity in several (...)
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  21.  21
    Complements, Not Competitors: Causal and Mathematical Explanations.Holly Andersen - 2018 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 69 (2):485-508.
    A finer-grained delineation of a given explanandum reveals a nexus of closely related causal and non-causal explanations, complementing one another in ways that yield further explanatory traction on the phenomenon in question. By taking a narrower construal of what counts as a causal explanation, a new class of distinctively mathematical explanations pops into focus; Lange’s characterization of distinctively mathematical explanations can be extended to cover these. This new class of distinctively mathematical explanations is illustrated with the Lotka–Volterra equations. There are (...)
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  22.  46
    Infinitesimal Probabilities.Vieri Benci, Leon Horsten & Sylvia Wenmackers - 2018 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 69 (2):509-552.
    Non-Archimedean probability functions allow us to combine regularity with perfect additivity. We discuss the philosophical motivation for a particular choice of axioms for a non-Archimedean probability theory and answer some philosophical objections that have been raised against infinitesimal probabilities in general. _1_ Introduction _2_ The Limits of Classical Probability Theory _2.1_ Classical probability functions _2.2_ Limitations _2.3_ Infinitesimals to the rescue? _3_ NAP Theory _3.1_ First four axioms of NAP _3.2_ Continuity and conditional probability _3.3_ The final axiom of NAP (...)
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  23. Evolution, Dysfunction, and Disease: A Reappraisal.Paul E. Griffiths & John Matthewson - 2018 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 69 (2):301-327.
    Some ‘naturalist’ accounts of disease employ a biostatistical account of dysfunction, whilst others use a ‘selected effect’ account. Several recent authors have argued that the biostatistical account offers the best hope for a naturalist account of disease. We show that the selected effect account survives the criticisms levelled by these authors relatively unscathed, and has significant advantages over the BST. Moreover, unlike the BST, it has a strong theoretical rationale and can provide substantive reasons to decide difficult cases. This is (...)
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  24.  7
    The Limits of Physical Equivalence in Algebraic Quantum Field Theory.Tracy Lupher - 2018 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 69 (2):553-576.
    Some physicists and philosophers argue that unitarily inequivalent representations in quantum field theory are mathematical surplus structure. Support for that view, sometimes called ‘algebraic imperialism’, relies on Fell’s theorem and its deployment in the algebraic approach to QFT. The algebraic imperialist uses Fell’s theorem to argue that UIRs are ‘physically equivalent’ to each other. The mathematical, conceptual, and dynamical aspects of Fell’s theorem will be examined. Its use as a criterion for physical equivalence is examined in detail and it is (...)
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  25.  59
    Information and Inaccuracy.William Roche & Tomoji Shogenji - 2018 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 69 (2):577-604.
    This article proposes a new interpretation of mutual information. We examine three extant interpretations of MI by reduction in doubt, by reduction in uncertainty, and by divergence. We argue that the first two are inconsistent with the epistemic value of information assumed in many applications of MI: the greater is the amount of information we acquire, the better is our epistemic position, other things being equal. The third interpretation is consistent with EVI, but it is faced with the problem of (...)
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  26.  8
    Information and Inaccuracy.William Roche & Tomoji Shogenji - 2018 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 69 (2):577-604.
    This article proposes a new interpretation of mutual information. We examine three extant interpretations of MI by reduction in doubt, by reduction in uncertainty, and by divergence. We argue that the first two are inconsistent with the epistemic value of information assumed in many applications of MI: the greater is the amount of information we acquire, the better is our epistemic position, other things being equal. The third interpretation is consistent with EVI, but it is faced with the problem of (...)
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  27.  8
    Regarding the ‘Hole Argument’.James Owen Weatherall - 2018 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 69 (2):329-350.
    I argue that the hole argument is based on a misleading use of the mathematical formalism of general relativity. If one is attentive to mathematical practice, I will argue, the hole argument is blocked. _1._ Introduction _2._ A Warmup Exercise _3._ The Hole Argument _4._ An Argument from Classical Spacetime Theory _5._ The Hole Argument Revisited.
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  28.  17
    Smaller Than a Breadbox: Scale and Natural Kinds.Julia R. Bursten - 2018 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 69 (1):1-23.
    ABSTRACT I propose a division of the literature on natural kinds into metaphysical worries, semantic worries, and methodological worries. I argue that the latter set of worries, which concern how classification influences scientific practices, should occupy centre stage in philosophy of science discussions about natural kinds. I apply this methodological framework to the problems of classifying chemical species and nanomaterials. I show that classification in nanoscience differs from classification in chemistry because the latter relies heavily on compositional identity, whereas the (...)
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  29.  7
    Toward an Understanding of Parochial Observables.Benjamin Feintzeig - 2018 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 69 (1):161-191.
    ABSTRACT Ruetsche claims that an abstract C*-algebra of observables will not contain all of the physically significant observables for a quantum system with infinitely many degrees of freedom. This would signal that in addition to the abstract algebra, one must use Hilbert space representations for some purposes. I argue to the contrary that there is a way to recover all of the physically significant observables by purely algebraic methods. 1Introduction 2Preliminaries 3Three Extremist Interpretations 3.1Algebraic imperialism 3.2Hilbert space conservatism 3.3Universalism 4Parochial (...)
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  30. Modus Darwin Reconsidered.Casey Helgeson - 2018 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 69 (1):193-213.
    ABSTRACT ‘Modus Darwin’ is the name given by Elliott Sober to a form of argument that he attributes to Darwin in the Origin of Species, and to subsequent evolutionary biologists who have reasoned in the same way. In short, the argument form goes: similarity, ergo common ancestry. In this article, I review and critique Sober’s analysis of Darwin’s reasoning. I argue that modus Darwin has serious limitations that make the argument form unsuitable for supporting Darwin’s conclusions, and that Darwin did (...)
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  31.  53
    Inference to the More Robust Explanation.Nicholaos Jones - 2018 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 69 (1):75-102.
    ABSTRACT There is a new argument form within theoretical biology. This form takes as input competing explanatory models; it yields as output the conclusion that one of these models is more plausible than the others. The driving force for this argument form is an analysis showing that one model exhibits more parametric robustness than its competitors. This article examines these inferences to the more robust explanation, analysing them as variants of inference to the best explanation. The article defines parametric robustness (...)
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  32.  40
    Minimal Models and the Generalized Ontic Conception of Scientific Explanation.Mark Povich - 2018 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 69 (1):117-137.
    Batterman and Rice ([2014]) argue that minimal models possess explanatory power that cannot be captured by what they call ‘common features’ approaches to explanation. Minimal models are explanatory, according to Batterman and Rice, not in virtue of accurately representing relevant features, but in virtue of answering three questions that provide a ‘story about why large classes of features are irrelevant to the explanandum phenomenon’ ([2014], p. 356). In this article, I argue, first, that a method (the renormalization group) they propose (...)
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  33.  12
    On Explanations From 'Geometry of Motion'.Juha Saatsi - 2018 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 69 (1):253–273.
    This paper examines explanations that turn on non-local geometrical facts about the space of possible configurations a system can occupy. I argue that it makes sense to contrast such explanations from ‘geometry of motion’ with causal explanations. I also explore how my analysis of these explanations cuts across the distinction between kinematics and dynamics.
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  34. On Explanations From 'Geometry of Motion'.Juha Saatsi - 2018 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 69 (1):253–273.
    This paper examines explanations that turn on non-local geometrical facts about the space of possible configurations a system can occupy. I argue that it makes sense to contrast such explanations from "geometry of motion" with causal explanations. I also explore how my analysis of these explanations cuts across the distinction between kinematics and dynamics.
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  35.  38
    Robustness Analysis as Explanatory Reasoning.Jonah N. Schupbach - 2018 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 69 (1):275-300.
    ABSTRACT When scientists seek further confirmation of their results, they often attempt to duplicate the results using diverse means. To the extent that they are successful in doing so, their results are said to be ‘robust’. This article investigates the logic of such ‘robustness analysis’. The most important and challenging question an account of RA can answer is what sense of evidential diversity is involved in RAs. I argue that prevailing formal explications of such diversity are unsatisfactory. I propose a (...)
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  36.  35
    Mathematical Explanation by Law.Sam Baron - 2018 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 1:axx062.
    Call an explanation in which a non-mathematical fact is explained—in part or in whole—by mathematical facts: an extra-mathematical explanation. Such explanations have attracted a great deal of interest recently in arguments over mathematical realism. In this paper, a theory of extra-mathematical explanation is developed. The theory is modelled on a deductive-nomological theory of scientific explanation. A basic DN account of extra-mathematical explanation is proposed and then redeveloped in the light of two difficulties that the basic theory faces. The final view (...)
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  37. Beyond Explanation: Understanding as Dependency Modeling.Finnur Dellsén - 2018 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science.
    This paper presents and argues for an account of objectual understanding that aims to do justice to the full range of cases of scientific understanding, including cases in which one does not have an explanation of the understood phenomenon. According to the proposed account, one understands a phenomenon just in case one grasps a sufficiently accurate and comprehensive model of the ways in which it or its features are situated within a network of dependence relations; one’s degree of understanding is (...)
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  38.  25
    Review of The Quantum Revolution in Philosophy. [REVIEW]David Glick - 2018 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science.
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  39.  21
    The Nonmechanistic Option: Defending Dynamical Explanation.Russell Meyer - 2018 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science:0-0.
    This paper demonstrates that nonmechanistic, dynamical explanations are a viable approach to explanation in the special sciences. The claim that dynamical models can be explanatory without reference to mechanisms has previously been met with three lines of criticism from mechanists: the causal relevance concern, the genuine laws concern, and the charge of predictivism. I argue, however, that these mechanist criticisms fail to defeat nonmechanistic, dynamical explanation. Using the examples of Haken et al.’s ([1985]) HKB model of bimanual coordination, and Thelen (...)
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  40.  22
    ‘Models of’ and ‘Models For’: On the Relation Between Mechanistic Models and Experimental Strategies in Molecular Biology.Emanuele Ratti - 2018 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science.
    Molecular biologists exploit information conveyed by mechanistic models for experimental purposes. In this article, I make sense of this aspect of biological practice by developing Keller’s idea of the distinction between ‘models of’ and ‘models for’. ‘Models of (phenomena)’ should be understood as models representing phenomena and are valuable if they explain phenomena. ‘Models for (manipulating phenomena)’ are new types of material manipulations and are important not because of their explanatory force, but because of the interventionist strategies they afford. This (...)
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  41. Where Do You Get Your Protein? Or: Biochemical Realization.Tuomas E. Tahko - 2018 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science.
    Biochemical kinds such as proteins pose interesting problems for philosophers of science, as they can be studied from the points of view of both biology and chemistry. The relationship between the biological functions of biochemical kinds and the microstructures that they are related to is the key question. This leads us to a more general discussion about ontological reductionism, microstructuralism, and multiple realization at the biology-chemistry interface. On the face of it, biochemical kinds seem to pose a challenge for ontological (...)
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  42.  11
    What is Epistemic Public Trust in Science?Gürol Irzik & Faik Kurtulmus - 2018 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science:axy007.
    We provide an analysis of publics having warranted epistemic trust in science, that is, the conditions under which the public may be said to have well-placed trust in the scientists as providers of information. We distinguish between basic and enhanced epistemic trust in science and provide necessary conditions for both. We then present the controversy regarding the connection between autism and measles–mumps–rubella vaccination as a case study to illustrate our analysis. The realization of warranted epistemic public trust in science requires (...)
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