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  1. Scientific Realism in the Wild: An Empirical Study of Seven Sciences and History and Philosophy of Science.James R. Beebe & Finnur Dellsén - 2020 - Philosophy of Science 87 (2):336-364.
    We report the results of a study that investigated the views of researchers working in seven scientific disciplines and in history and philosophy of science in regard to four hypothesized dimensions of scientific realism. Among other things, we found that natural scientists tended to express more strongly realist views than social scientists, that history and philosophy of science scholars tended to express more antirealist views than natural scientists, that van Fraassen’s characterization of scientific realism failed to cluster with more standard (...)
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  2.  39
    Cultural Inheritance in Generalized Darwinism.Christian J. Feldbacher-Escamilla & Karim Baraghith - 2020 - Philosophy of Science 87 (2):237-261.
    Generalized Darwinism models cultural development as an evolutionary process, where traits evolve through variation, selection, and inheritance. Inheritance describes either a discrete unit’s transmission or a mixing of traits. In this article, we compare classical models of cultural evolution and generalized population dynamics with respect to blending inheritance. We identify problems of these models and introduce our model, which combines relevant features of both. Blending is implemented as success-based social learning, which can be shown to be an optimal strategy.
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  3.  3
    Similarity Structure and Emergent Properties.Samuel C. Fletcher - 2020 - Philosophy of Science 87 (2):281-301.
    The concept of emergence is commonly invoked in modern physics but rarely defined. Building on recent influential work by Jeremy Butterfield, I provide precise definitions of emergence concepts as they pertain to properties represented in models, applying them to some basic examples from space-time and thermostatistical physics. The chief formal innovation I employ, similarity structure, consists in a structured set of similarity relations among those models under analysis—and their properties—and is a generalization of topological structure. Although motivated from physics, this (...)
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  4.  12
    Classical Versus Bayesian Statistics.Eric Johannesson - 2020 - Philosophy of Science 87 (2):302-318.
    In statistics, there are two main paradigms: classical and Bayesian statistics. The purpose of this article is to investigate the extent to which classicists and Bayesians can agree. My conclusion is that, in certain situations, they cannot. The upshot is that, if we assume that the classicist is not allowed to have a higher degree of belief in a null hypothesis after he has rejected it than before, then he has to either have trivial or incoherent credences to begin with (...)
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  5.  2
    Eric Winsberg. Philosophy and Climate Science.Vincent Lam - 2020 - Philosophy of Science 87 (2):376-379.
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  6. Kon-Tiki Experiments.Aaron Novick, Adrian M. Currie, Eden W. McQueen & Nathan L. Brouwer - 2020 - Philosophy of Science 87 (2):213-236.
    We identify a species of experiment—Kon-Tiki experiments—used to demonstrate the competence of a cause to produce a certain effect, and we examine their role in the historical sciences. We argue that Kon-Tiki experiments are used to test middle-range theory, to test assumptions within historical narratives, and to open new avenues of inquiry. We show how the results of Kon-Tiki experiments are involved in projective inferences, and we argue that reliance on projective inferences does not provide historical scientists with any special (...)
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  7. Carrie Figdor. Pieces of Mind: The Proper Domain of Psychological Predicates.David Evan Pence - 2020 - Philosophy of Science 87 (2):379-382.
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  8. Well-Ordered Science’s Basic Problem.Cristian Larroulet Philippi - 2020 - Philosophy of Science 87 (2):365-375.
    Kitcher has proposed an ideal-theory account—well-ordered science (WOS)— of the collective good that science’s research agenda should promote. Against criticism regarding WOS’s action-guidance, Kitcher has advised critics not to confuse substantive ideals and the ways to arrive at them, and he has defended WOS as a necessary and useful ideal for science policy. I provide a distinction between two types of ideal-theories that helps clarifying WOS’s elusive nature. I use this distinction to argue that the action-guidance problem that WOS faces (...)
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  9.  1
    On the Equivalence of von Neumann and Thermodynamic Entropy.Carina E. A. Prunkl - 2020 - Philosophy of Science 87 (2):262-280.
    In 1932, John von Neumann argued for the equivalence of the thermodynamic entropy and −Trρlnρ, since known as the von Neumann entropy. Meir Hemmo and Orly R. Shenker recently challenged this argument by pointing out an alleged discrepancy between the two entropies in the single-particle case, concluding that they must be distinct. In this article, their argument is shown to be problematic as it allows for a violation of the second law of thermodynamics and is based on an incorrect calculation (...)
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  10. Conditional Degree of Belief and Bayesian Inference.Jan Sprenger - 2020 - Philosophy of Science 87 (2):319-335.
    Why are conditional degrees of belief in an observation E, given a statistical hypothesis H, aligned with the objective probabilities expressed by H? After showing that standard replies are not satisfactory, I develop a suppositional analysis of conditional degree of belief, transferring Ramsey’s classical proposal to statistical inference. The analysis saves the alignment, explains the role of chance-credence coordination, and rebuts the charge of arbitrary assessment of evidence in Bayesian inference. Finally, I explore the implications of this analysis for Bayesian (...)
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  11.  24
    The Requirement of Total Evidence: A Reply to Epstein’s Critique.Martin Barrett & Elliott Sober - 2020 - Philosophy of Science 87 (1):191-203.
    The requirement of total evidence is a mainstay of Bayesian epistemology. Peter Fisher Epstein argues that the requirement generates mistaken conclusions about several examples that he devises. Here we examine the example of Epstein’s that we find most interesting and argue that Epstein’s analysis of it is flawed.
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  12.  22
    A Defense of Low-Probability Scientific Explanations.Hayley Clatterbuck - 2020 - Philosophy of Science 87 (1):91-112.
    I evaluate the plausibility of explanatory elitism, the view that a good scientific explanation of an outcome will show that it was highly probable. I consider an argument from Michael Strevens that elitism is the only view that can account for the historical acceptance of probabilistic theories in physics. I argue that biology provides better test cases for evaluating elitism and conclude that theories in that domain were favored in virtue of conferring correct, and not necessarily high, probabilities on outcomes.
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  13.  18
    In Defense of the Requirement of Total Evidence.Paul Draper - 2020 - Philosophy of Science 87 (1):179-190.
    According to the Requirement of Total Evidence, when assessing the credibility of hypotheses, we should endeavor to take into account all of the relevant evidence at our disposal instead of just some proper part of that evidence. In "The Fine-Tuning Argument and the Requirement of Total Evidence," Peter Fisher Epstein offers two alleged counterexamples to this requirement. I show that, on at least one very natural interpretation of the requirement, his alleged counterexamples are not genuine. I close by explaining why (...)
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  14.  7
    Inmaculada de Melo-Martín and Kristen Intemann. The Fight Against Doubt: How to Bridge the Gap Between Scientists and the Public.John Dupré - 2020 - Philosophy of Science 87 (1):204-207.
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  15.  7
    Otavio Bueno and Steven French. Applying Mathematics: Immersion, Inference, Interpretation.Atoosa Kasirzadeh & James Robert Brown - 2020 - Philosophy of Science 87 (1):207-211.
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  16.  12
    Binding Specificity and Causal Selection in Drug Design.Oliver M. Lean - 2020 - Philosophy of Science 87 (1):70-90.
    Binding specificity is a centrally important concept in molecular biology, yet it has received little philosophical attention. Here I aim to remedy this by analyzing binding specificity as a causal property. I focus on the concept’s role in drug design, where it is highly prized and hence directly studied. From a causal perspective, understanding why binding specificity is a valuable property of drugs contributes to an understanding of causal selection—of how and why scientists distinguish between causes, not just causes from (...)
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  17.  40
    Actual Causation and Compositionality.Jonathan Livengood & Justin Sytsma - 2020 - Philosophy of Science 87 (1):43-69.
    Many theories of actual causation implicitly endorse the claim that if c is an actual cause of e, then either c causes e directly or every intermediary by which c indirectly causes e is itself both an actual cause of e and also an actual effect of c. We think this compositionality constraint is plausible. However, as we show, it is not always satisfied by the causal attributions ordinary people make. We conclude by considering what philosophers working on causation should (...)
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  18.  3
    Interpreting Non-Hausdorff (Generalized) Manifolds in General Relativity.Joanna Luc & Tomasz Placek - 2020 - Philosophy of Science 87 (1):21-42.
    The article investigates the relations between Hausdorff and non-Hausdorff manifolds as objects of general relativity. We show that every non-Hausdorff manifold can be seen as a result of gluing together some Hausdorff manifolds. In the light of this result, we investigate a modal interpretation of a non-Hausdorff differential manifold, according to which it represents a bundle of alternative space-times, all of which are compatible with a given initial data set.
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  19.  62
    The Small Number System.Eric Margolis - 2020 - Philosophy of Science 87 (1):113-134.
    I argue that the human mind includes an innate domain-specific system for representing precise small numerical quantities. This theory contrasts with object-tracking theories and with domain-general theories that only make use of mental models. I argue that there is a good amount of evidence for innate representations of small numerical quantities and that such a domain-specific system has explanatory advantages when infants’ poor working memory is taken into account. I also show that the mental models approach requires previously unnoticed domain-specific (...)
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  20. Bayesian Decision Theory and Stochastic Independence.Philippe Mongin - 2020 - Philosophy of Science 87 (1):152-178.
    As stochastic independence is essential to the mathematical development of probability theory, it seems that any foundational work on probability should be able to account for this property. Bayesian decision theory appears to be wanting in this respect. Savage’s postulates on preferences under uncertainty entail a subjective expected utility representation, and this asserts only the existence and uniqueness of a subjective probability measure, regardless of its properties. What is missing is a preference condition corresponding to stochastic independence. To fill this (...)
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  21.  29
    Learning Concepts: A Learning-Theoretic Solution to the Complex-First Paradox.Nina Laura Poth & Peter Brössel - 2020 - Philosophy of Science 87 (1):135-151.
    Children acquire complex concepts like DOG earlier than simple concepts like BROWN, even though our best neuroscientific theories suggest that learning the former is harder than learning the latter and, thus, should take more time (Werning2010). This is the Complex- First Paradox. We present a novel solution to the Complex-First Paradox. Our solution builds on a generalization of Xu and Tenenbaum’s (XTB07a) Bayesian model of word learning. By focusing on a rational theory of concept learning, we show that it is (...)
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  22.  15
    What’s the Problem with the Cosmological Constant?Mike D. Schneider - 2020 - Philosophy of Science 87 (1):1-20.
    The “Cosmological Constant Problem” is widely considered a crisis in contemporary theoretical physics. Unfortunately, the search for its resolution is hampered by open disagreement about what is, strictly, the problem. This disagreement stems from the observation that the CCP is not a problem within any of our current theories, and nearly all of the details of those future theories for which the CCP could be made a problem are up for grabs. Given this state of affairs, I discuss how one (...)
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