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  1.  27
    Three Kinds of Niche Construction.Bendik Hellem Aaby & Grant Ramsey - 2022 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 73 (2):351-372.
    Niche construction theory concerns how organisms can change selection pressures by altering the feature–factor relationship between themselves and their environment. These alterations are standardly understood to be brought about through two kinds of organism–environment interaction: perturbative and relocational niche construction. We argue that a reconceptualization is needed on the grounds that if a niche is understood as the feature–factor relationship, then there are three fundamental ways in which organisms can engage in niche construction: constitutive, relational, and external niche construction. We (...)
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  2.  14
    Reductive Explanation and the Construction of Quantum Theories.Benjamin H. Feintzeig - 2022 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 73 (2):457-486.
    I argue that philosophical issues concerning reductive explanations help constrain the construction of quantum theories with appropriate state spaces. I illustrate this general proposal with two examples of restricting attention to physical states in quantum theories: regular states and symmetry-invariant states. 1Introduction2Background2.1 Physical states2.2 Reductive explanations3The Proposed ‘Correspondence Principle’4Example: Regularity5Example: Symmetry-Invariance6Conclusion: Heuristics and Discovery.
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  3.  22
    Using Logic to Evolve More Logic: Composing Logical Operators Via Self-Assembly.Travis LaCroix - 2022 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 73 (2):407-437.
    I consider how complex logical operations might self-assemble in a signalling-game context via composition of simpler underlying dispositions. On the one hand, agents may take advantage of pre-evolved dispositions; on the other hand, they may co-evolve dispositions as they simultaneously learn to combine them to display more complex behaviour. In either case, the evolution of complex logical operations can be more efficient than evolving such capacities from scratch. Showing how complex phenomena like these might evolve provides an additional path to (...)
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  4.  38
    Machian Comparativism About Mass.Niels C. M. Martens - 2022 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 73 (2):325-349.
    Absolutism about mass within Newtonian gravity claims that mass ratios obtain in virtue of absolute masses. Comparativism denies this. Defenders of comparativism promise to recover all the empirical and theoretical virtues of absolutism, but at a lower ‘metaphysical cost’. This article develops a Machian form of comparativism about mass in Newtonian gravity, obtained by replacing Newton’s constant in the law of universal gravitation by another constant divided by the sum over all masses. Although this form of comparativism is indeed empirically (...)
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  5.  62
    The Demise of Brain Death.Lukas J. Meier - 2022 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 73 (2):487-508.
    Fifty years have passed since brain death was first proposed as a criterion of death. Its advocates believe that with the destruction of the brain, integrated functioning ceases irreversibly, somatic unity dissolves, and the organism turns into a corpse. In this article, I put forward two objections against this assertion. First, I draw parallels between brain death and other pathological conditions and argue that whenever one regards the absence or the artificial replacement of a certain function in these pathological conditions (...)
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  6.  3
    The Demise of Brain Death.Lukas J. Meier - 2022 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 73 (2):487-508.
  7. Speed-Optimal Induction and Dynamic Coherence.Michael Nielsen & Eric Wofsey - 2022 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 73 (2):439-455.
    A standard way to challenge convergence-based accounts of inductive success is to claim that they are too weak to constrain inductive inferences in the short run. We respond to such a challenge by answering some questions raised by Juhl (1994). When it comes to predicting limiting relative frequencies in the framework of Reichenbach, we show that speed-optimal convergence—a long-run success condition—induces dynamic coherence in the short run.
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  8.  11
    Chances and Propensities in Evo-Devo.Laura Nuño de la Rosa & Cristina Villegas - 2022 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 73 (2):509-533.
    While the notion of chance has been central in discussions over the probabilistic nature of natural selection and genetic drift, its role in the production of variants on which populational sampling takes place has received much less philosophical attention. This article discusses the concept of chance in evolution in the light of contemporary work in evo-devo. We distinguish different levels at which randomness and chance can be defined in this context, and argue that recent research on variability and evolvability demands (...)
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  9.  34
    Concrete Scale Models, Essential Idealization, and Causal Explanation.Christopher Pincock - 2022 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 73 (2):299-323.
    This paper defends three claims about concrete or physical models: these models remain important in science and engineering, they are often essentially idealized, in a sense to be made precise, and despite these essential idealizations, some of these models may be reliably used for the purpose of causal explanation. This discussion of concrete models is pursued using a detailed case study of some recent models of landslide generated impulse waves. Practitioners show a clear awareness of the idealized character of these (...)
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  10. The Costs of HARKing.Mark Rubin - 2022 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 73 (2):535-560.
    Kerr coined the term ‘HARKing’ to refer to the practice of ‘hypothesizing after the results are known’. This questionable research practice has received increased attention in recent years because it is thought to have contributed to low replication rates in science. The present article discusses the concept of HARKing from a philosophical standpoint and then undertakes a critical review of Kerr’s twelve potential costs of HARKing. It is argued that these potential costs are either misconceived, misattributed to HARKing, lacking evidence, (...)
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  11.  91
    Accuracy and Verisimilitude: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly.Miriam Schoenfield - 2022 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 73 (2):373-406.
    It seems like we care about at least two features of our credence function: gradational-accuracy and verisimilitude. Accuracy-first epistemology requires that we care about one feature of our credence function: gradational-accuracy. So if you want to be a verisimilitude-valuing accuracy-firster, you must be able to think of the value of verisimilitude as somehow built into the value of gradational-accuracy. Can this be done? In a recent article, Oddie has argued that it cannot, at least if we want the accuracy measure (...)
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  12.  55
    Typical: A Theory of Typicality and Typicality Explanation.Isaac Wilhelm - 2022 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 73 (2):561-581.
    Typicality is routinely invoked in everyday contexts: bobcats are typically short-tailed; people are typically less than seven feet tall. Typicality is invoked in scientific contexts as well: typical gases expand; typical quantum systems exhibit probabilistic behaviour. And typicality facts like these support many explanations, both quotidian and scientific. But what is it for something to be typical? And how do typicality facts explain? In this paper, I propose a general theory of typicality. I analyse the notion of a typical property. (...)
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  13.  17
    Reassessing Quasi-Experiments: Policy Evaluation, Induction, and SUTVA.Tom Boesche - 2022 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 73 (1):1-22.
    This paper defends the use of quasi-experiments for causal estimation in economics against the widespread objection that quasi-experimental estimates lack external validity. The defence is that quasi-experimental replication of estimates can yield defeasible evidence for external validity. The paper then develops a different objection. The stable unit treatment value assumption, on which quasi-experiments rely, is argued to be implausible due to the influence of social interaction effects on economic outcomes. A more plausible stable marginal unit treatment value assumption is proposed, (...)
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  14.  62
    A Causal Bayes Net Analysis of Glennan’s Mechanistic Account of Higher-Level Causation.Alexander Gebharter - 2022 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 73 (1).
    One of Stuart Glennan's most prominent contributions to the new mechanist debate consists in his reductive analysis of higher-level causation in terms of mechanisms (Glennan, 1996). In this paper I employ the causal Bayes net framework to reconstruct his analysis. This allows for specifying general assumptions which have to be satis ed to get Glennan's approach working. I show that once these assumptions are in place, they imply (against the background of the causal Bayes net machinery) that higher-level causation indeed (...)
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  15.  89
    The Second Law of Thermodynamics and the Psychological Arrow of Time.Meir Hemmo & Orly Shenker - 2022 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 73 (1):85-107.
    Can the second law of thermodynamics explain our mental experience of the direction of time? According to an influential approach, the past hypothesis of universal low entropy also explains how the psychological arrow comes about. We argue that although this approach has many attractive features, it cannot explain the psychological arrow after all. In particular, we show that the past hypothesis is neither necessary nor sufficient to explain the psychological arrow on the basis of current physics. We propose two necessary (...)
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  16.  23
    Two Senses of Experimental Robustness: Result Robustness and Procedure Robustness.Koray Karaca - 2022 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 73 (1):279-298.
    In the philosophical literature concerning scientific experimentation, the notion of robustness has been solely discussed in relation to experimental results. In this paper, I propose a novel sense of experimental robustness that applies to experimental procedures. I call the foregoing sense of robustness procedure robustness and characterize it as the capacity of an experimental procedure to maintain its intended function invariant during the experimental process despite possible variations in its inputs. I argue that PR is a precondition for what I (...)
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  17.  18
    Conserving Functions Across Generations: Heredity in Light of Biological Organization.Matteo Mossio & Gaëlle Pontarotti - 2022 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 73 (1):249-278.
    We develop a conceptual framework that connects biological heredity and organization. We refer to heredity as the cross-generation conservation of functional elements, defined as constraints subject to organizational closure. While hereditary objects are functional constituents of biological systems, any other entity that is stable across generations—and possibly involved in the recurrence of phenotypes—belongs to their environment. The central outcome of the organizational perspective consists in extending the scope of heredity beyond the genetic domain without merging it with the broad category (...)
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  18.  19
    Betting on Future Physics.Mike D. Schneider - 2022 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 73 (1):161-183.
    The ‘cosmological constant problem’ has historically been understood as describing a conflict between cosmological observations in the framework of general relativity and theoretical predictions from quantum field theory, which a future theory of quantum gravity ought to resolve. I argue that this view of the CCP is best understood in terms of a bet about future physics made on the basis of particular interpretational choices in GR and QFT, respectively. Crucially, each of these choices must be taken as itself grounded (...)
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  19.  34
    The Mass of the Gravitational Field.Charles T. Sebens - 2022 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 73 (1):211-248.
    By mass-energy equivalence, the gravitational field has a relativistic mass density proportional to its energy density. I seek to better understand this mass of the gravitational field by asking whether it plays three traditional roles of mass: the role in conservation of mass, the inertial role, and the role as source for gravitation. The difficult case of general relativity is compared to the more straightforward cases of Newtonian gravity and electromagnetism by way of gravitoelectromagnetism, an intermediate theory of gravity that (...)
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  20. Understanding From Machine Learning Models.Emily Sullivan - 2022 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 73 (1):109-133.
    Simple idealized models seem to provide more understanding than opaque, complex, and hyper-realistic models. However, an increasing number of scientists are going in the opposite direction by utilizing opaque machine learning models to make predictions and draw inferences, suggesting that scientists are opting for models that have less potential for understanding. Are scientists trading understanding for some other epistemic or pragmatic good when they choose a machine learning model? Or are the assumptions behind why minimal models provide understanding misguided? In (...)
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  21.  63
    On the Ostrogradski Instability; or, Why Physics Really Uses Second Derivatives.Noel Swanson - 2022 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 73 (1):23-46.
    Candidates for fundamental physical laws rarely, if ever, employ higher than second time derivatives. Easwaran sketches an enticing story that purports to explain away this puzzling fact and thereby provides indirect evidence for a particular set of metaphysical theses used in the explanation. I object to both the scope and coherence of Easwaran's account, before going on to defend an alternative, more metaphysically deflationary explanation: in interacting Lagrangian field theories, it is either impossible or very hard to incorporate higher than (...)
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  22.  34
    Justifying the Norms of Inductive Inference.Olav Benjamin Vassend - 2022 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 73 (1):135-160.
    Bayesian inference is limited in scope because it cannot be applied in idealized contexts where none of the hypotheses under consideration is true and because it is committed to always using the likelihood as a measure of evidential favouring, even when that is inappropriate. The purpose of this article is to study inductive inference in a very general setting where finding the truth is not necessarily the goal and where the measure of evidential favouring is not necessarily the likelihood. I (...)
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  23.  18
    Registration Pluralism and the Cartographic Approach to Data Aggregation Across Brains.Zina B. Ward - 2022 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 73 (1):47-72.
    Neuroscience has become increasingly reliant on multi-subject research in addition to studies of unusual single patients. This research has brought with it a challenge: how are data from different human brains to be combined? The dominant strategy for aggregating data across brains is what I call the ‘cartographic approach’, which involves mapping data from individuals to a spatial template. Here I characterize the cartographic approach and argue that one of its key steps, registration, should be carried out in a way (...)
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