Year:

  1. There Is a Special Problem of Scientific Representation.Brandon Boesch - 2017 - Philosophy of Science 84 (5):970-981.
    Callender and Cohen argue that there is no need for a special account of the constitution of scientific representation. I argue that scientific representation is communal and therefore deeply tied to the practice in which it is embedded. The communal nature is accounted for by licensing, the activities of scientific practice by which scientists establish a representation. A case study of the Lotka-Volterra model reveals how licensure is a constitutive element of the representational relationship. Thus, any account of the constitution (...)
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  2. Dissolving the Missing Heritability Problem.Pierrick Bourrat & Qiaoying Lu - 2017 - Philosophy of Science 84 (5):1055-1067.
    Heritability estimates obtained from genome-wide association studies are much lower than those of traditional quantitative methods. This phenomenon has been called the “missing heritability problem.” By analyzing and comparing GWAS and traditional quantitative methods, we first show that the estimates obtained from the latter involve some terms other than additive genetic variance, while the estimates from the former do not. Second, GWAS, when used to estimate heritability, do not take into account additive epigenetic factors transmitted across generations, while traditional quantitative (...)
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  3. Responsiveness and Robustness in the David Lewis Signaling Game.Brusse Carl & Bruner Justin - 2017 - Philosophy of Science 84 (5):1068-1079.
    We consider modifications to the standard David Lewis signaling game and relax a number of unrealistic implicit assumptions that are often built into the framework. In particular, we motivate and explore various asymmetries that exist between the sender and receiver roles. We find that endowing receivers with a more realistic set of responses significantly decreases the likelihood of signaling, while allowing for unequal selection pressure often has the opposite effect. We argue that the results of this article can also help (...)
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  4. Real Patterns in Biological Explanation.Daniel C. Burnston - 2017 - Philosophy of Science 84 (5):879-891.
    In discussion of mechanisms, philosophers often debate about whether quantitative descriptions of generalizations or qualitative descriptions of operations are explanatorily fundamental. I argue that these debates have erred by conflating the explanatory roles of generalizations and patterns. Patterns are types of variations within or between quantities in a mechanism over time or across conditions. While these patterns must often be represented in addition to descriptions of operations in order to explain a phenomenon, they are not equivalent to generalizations because their (...)
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  5. Crash Testing an Engineering Framework in Neuroscience: Does the Idea of Robustness Break Down?M. Chirimuuta - 2017 - Philosophy of Science 84 (5):1140-1151.
    In this article, I discuss the concept of robustness in neuroscience. Various mechanisms for making systems robust have been discussed across biology and neuroscience. Many of these notions originate from engineering. I argue that concepts borrowed from engineering aid neuroscientists in operationalizing robustness, formulating hypotheses about mechanisms for robustness, and quantifying robustness. Furthermore, I argue that the significant disanalogies between brains and engineered artifacts raise important questions about the applicability of the engineering framework. I argue that the use of such (...)
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  6. Anthropomorphism as Cognitive Bias.Mike Dacey - 2017 - Philosophy of Science 84 (5):1152-1164.
    Philosophers and psychologists have long worried that the human tendency to anthropomorphize leads us to err in our understanding of nonhuman minds. This tendency, which I call intuitive anthropomorphism, is a heuristic used by our unconscious folk psychology to understand nonhuman animals. The dominant understanding of intuitive anthropomorphism underestimates its complexity. If we want to understand and control intuitive anthropomorphism, we must treat it as a cognitive bias and look to the empirical evidence. This evidence suggests that the most common (...)
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  7. Intimate Connections: Symmetries and Conservation Laws in Quantum Versus Classical Mechanics.de Olano Pablo Ruiz - 2017 - Philosophy of Science 84 (5):1275-1288.
    In this article, I use a number of remarks made by Eugene Wigner to defend the claim that the nature of the connection between symmetries and conservation laws is different in quantum and in classical mechanics. In particular, I provide a list of three differences that obtain between the Hilbert space formulation of quantum mechanics and the Lagrangian formulation of classical mechanics. I also show that these differences are due to the fact that conservation laws are not the only consequence (...)
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  8. Sameness and Separability in Gauge Theories.John Dougherty - 2017 - Philosophy of Science 84 (5):1189-1201.
    In the philosophical literature on Yang-Mills theories, field formulations are taken to have more structure and to be local, while curve-based formulations are taken to have less structure and to be nonlocal. I formalize the notion of locality at issue and show that theories with less structure are nonlocal. However, the amount of structure had by some formulation is independent of whether it uses fields or curves. The relevant difference in structure is not a difference in set-theoretic structure. Rather, it (...)
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  9. Phenomena and Objects of Research in the Cognitive and Behavioral Sciences.Uljana Feest - 2017 - Philosophy of Science 84 (5):1165-1176.
    It is commonly held that research efforts in the cognitive and behavioral sciences are mainly directed toward providing explanations and that phenomena figure into scientific practice qua explananda. I contend that these assumptions convey a skewed picture of the research practices in question and of the role played by phenomena. I argue that experimental research often aims at exploring and describing “objects of research” and that phenomena can figure as components of, and as evidence for, such objects. I situate my (...)
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  10. Natural Selection, Mechanism, and the Statistical Interpretation.Fermín C. Fulda - 2017 - Philosophy of Science 84 (5):1080-1092.
    What is natural selection? I address this question by exploring the relation between two debates: Is natural selection a mechanism? Is natural selection a causal or a statistical theory? I argue that the first can be assessed only relative to a model and that, following the second, there are two fundamentally different and independent kinds of models, Modern-Synthesis and Darwinian models. MS-models, I argue, are not mechanistic even if they are causal. D-models, in contrast, are mechanistic. A causal-mechanistic interpretation of (...)
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  11. Against Organizational Functions.Justin Garson - 2017 - Philosophy of Science 84 (5):1093-1103.
    Over the last 20 years, several philosophers have developed a new approach to biological functions, the organizational approach. This is not a single theory but a family of theories based on the idea that a trait token can acquire a function by virtue of the way it contributes to a complex, organized system and thereby to its own continued persistence as a token. I argue that the organizational approach faces a serious liberality objection. I examine three different ways organizational theorists (...)
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  12. Making Fit Fit.Michael Townsen Hicks - 2017 - Philosophy of Science 84 (5):931-943.
    Reductionist accounts of objective chance rely on a notion of fit, which ties the chances at a world to the frequencies at that world. Here, I criticize extant measures of the fit of a chance system and draw on recent literature in epistemic utility theory to propose a new model: chances fit a world insofar as they are accurate at that world. I show how this model of fit does a better job of explaining the normative features of chance, its (...)
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  13. Experimentation by Industrial Selection.Holman Bennett & Bruner Justin - 2017 - Philosophy of Science 84 (5):1008-1019.
    Industry is a major source of funding for scientific research. There is also a growing concern for how it corrupts researchers faced with conflicts of interest. As such, the debate has focused on whether researchers have maintained their integrity. In this article we draw on both the history of medicine and formal modeling to argue that given methodological diversity and a merit-based system, industry funding can bias a community without corrupting any particular individual. We close by considering a policy solution (...)
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  14. On Epistemically Detrimental Dissent: Contingent Enabling Factors Versus Stable Difference-Makers.Soazig Le Bihan & Iheanyi Amadi - 2017 - Philosophy of Science 84 (5):1020-1030.
    The aim of this article is to critically build on Justin Biddle and Anna Leuschner’s characterization of epistemologically detrimental dissent in the context of science. We argue that the presence of nonepistemic agendas and severe nonepistemic consequences offers neither necessary nor sufficient conditions for EDD to obtain. We clarify their role by arguing that they are contingent enabling factors, not stable difference-makers, in the production of EDD. We maintain that two stable difference-makers are core to the production of EDD: production (...)
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  15. Literal Versus Careful Interpretations of Scientific Theories: The Vacuum Approach to the Problem of Motion in General Relativity.Dennis Lehmkuhl - 2017 - Philosophy of Science 84 (5):1202-1214.
    The problem of motion in general relativity is about how exactly the gravitational field equations, the Einstein equations, are related to the equations of motion of material bodies subject to gravitational fields. This article compares two approaches to derive the geodesic motion of matter from the field equations: the ‘T approach’ and the ‘vacuum approach’. The latter approach has been dismissed by philosophers of physics because it apparently represents material bodies by singularities. I argue that a careful interpretation of the (...)
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  16.  17
    On the Inextendibility of Space-Time.John Byron Manchak - 2017 - Philosophy of Science 84 (5):1215-1225.
    It has been argued that space-time must be inextendible—that it must be “as large as it can be” in some sense. Here, we register some skepticism with respect to this position.
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  17. Regularity Comparativism About Mass in Newtonian Gravity.C. M. Martens Niels - 2017 - Philosophy of Science 84 (5):1226-1238.
    Comparativism—the view that mass ratios are not grounded in absolute masses—faces a challenge by Baker which suggests that absolute masses are empirically meaningful. Regularity comparativism uses a liberalized version of the Mill-Ramsey-Lewis Best Systems Account to have both the laws of Newtonian gravity and the absolute mass scale supervene on a comparativist Humean mosaic as a package deal. I discuss three objections to this view and conclude that it is untenable. The most severe problem is that once we have reduced (...)
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  18. Stable Property Clusters and Their Grounds.J. Martinez Eduardo - 2017 - Philosophy of Science 84 (5):944-955.
    I argue against Matthew Slater’s rejection of what he calls the grounding claim in his stable property cluster account of natural kinds. This claim states that the epistemic value of natural kinds depends on the existence of some ground to bind together a kind’s properties. Using two test cases from academic medicine, I show that grounds are genuinely explanatory of scientific epistemic practices and that the SPC account should not do without them in its philosophical analysis of natural kinds.
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  19. Contingency and Individuality: A Plurality of Evolutionary Individuality Types.K. McConwell Alison - 2017 - Philosophy of Science 84 (5):1104-1116.
    Recently, philosophers have sought to determine the nature of individuals relevant to evolution by natural selection or evolutionary individuals. The Evolutionary Contingency Thesis is a claim about evolution that emphasizes the role of contingency or dependency relations and chance-based factors in how evolution unfolds. In this article, I argue that if we take evolutionary contingency seriously, then we should be pluralists about the types of individuals in selection.
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  20. Can Typicality Arguments Dissolve Cosmology’s Flatness Problem?C. D. McCoy - 2017 - Philosophy of Science 84 (5):1239-1252.
    Several physicists, among them Hawking, Page, Coule, and Carroll, have argued against the probabilistic intuitions underlying fine-tuning arguments in cosmology and instead propose that the canonical measure on the phase space of Friedman-Robertson-Walker space-times should be used to evaluate fine-tuning. They claim that flat space-times in this set are actually typical on this natural measure and that therefore the flatness problem is illusory. I argue that they misinterpret typicality in this phase space and, moreover, that no conclusion can be drawn (...)
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  21.  9
    On Mushroom Individuality.Daniel Molter - 2017 - Philosophy of Science 84 (5):1117-1127.
    Genidentity coupled with material continuity is proposed as a minimum conception of biological individuality, and then theoretical individuation is employed to identify multiple kinds of biological individuals in a single example from mycology, a patch of chanterelle mushrooms. Of the many candidate materially continuous genidenticals found in a mushroom patch, only those with functional roles in biological theory are notable as biological individuals. Evolutionary and physiological theories pick out multiple kinds of functional individuals in mushrooms, so a pluralistic account of (...)
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  22. Invariance, Interpretation, and Motivation.Møller-Nielsen Thomas - 2017 - Philosophy of Science 84 (5):1253-1264.
    In this article I assess the Invariance Principle, which states that only quantities that are invariant under the symmetries of our theories are physically real. I argue, contrary to current orthodoxy, that the variance of a quantity under a theory’s symmetries is not a sufficient basis for interpreting that theory as being uncommitted to the reality of that quantity. Rather, I argue, the variance of a quantity under symmetries only ever serves as a motivation to refrain from any commitment to (...)
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  23. Scientific Representation and Theoretical Equivalence.James Nguyen - 2017 - Philosophy of Science 84 (5):982-995.
    In this article I connect two debates in the philosophy of science: the questions of scientific representation and both model and theoretical equivalence. I argue that by paying attention to how a model is used to draw inferences about its target system, we can define a notion of theoretical equivalence that turns on whether models license the same claims about the same target systems. I briefly consider the implications of this for two questions that have recently been discussed in the (...)
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  24. The Causal Homology Concept.Jun Otsuka - 2017 - Philosophy of Science 84 (5):1128-1139.
    I propose a new account of homology, according to which homology is a correspondence of developmental mechanisms due to common ancestry, formally defined as an isomorphism of causal graphs over lineages. The semiformal definition highlights the role of homology as a higher-order principle unifying evolutionary models and also provides definite meanings to concepts like constraints, evolvability, and novelty. The novel interpretation of homology suggests a broad perspective that accommodates evolutionary developmental biology and traditional population genetics as distinct but complementary approaches (...)
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  25. Preface.PsaProgram Committee Chair: Wendy S. Parker - 2017 - Philosophy of Science 84 (5):795-796.
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  26. Potential Controversies: Causation and the Hodgkin and Huxley Equations.Pence David Evan - 2017 - Philosophy of Science 84 (5):1177-1188.
    The import of Hodgkin and Huxley’s classic model of the action potential has been hotly debated in recent years, with particular controversy surrounding claims by prominent proponents of mechanistic explanation. For these authors, the Hodgkin-Huxley model is an excellent predictive tool but ultimately lacks causal/explanatory import. What is more, they claim that this is how Hodgkin and Huxley themselves saw the model. I argue that these claims rest on a problematic reading of the work. Hodgkin and Huxley’s model is both (...)
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  27.  18
    Unreal Observables.W. Roberts Bryan - 2017 - Philosophy of Science 84 (5):1265-1274.
    This note argues that quantum observables can include not just self-adjoint operators, but any member of the class of normal operators, including those with non-real eigenvalues. Concrete experiments, statistics, and symmetries are all expressed in this more general context. However, this more general class of observables also introduces a new restriction on which sets of operators can be interpreted as observables at once. These sets are referred to here as 'sharp sets.
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  28. Inherent Complexity: A Problem for Statistical Model Evaluation.Jan-Willem Romeijn - 2017 - Philosophy of Science 84 (5):797-809.
    This article investigates a problem for statistical model evaluation, in particular for curve fitting: by employing a different family of curves we can fit any scatter plot almost perfectly at apparently minor cost in terms of model complexity. The problem is resolved by an appeal to prior probabilities. This leads to some general lessons about how to approach model evaluation.
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  29.  12
    Novelty Versus Replicability: Virtues and Vices in the Reward System of Science.Felipe Romero - 2017 - Philosophy of Science 84 (5):1031-1043.
    The reward system of science is the priority rule. The first scientist making a new discovery is rewarded with prestige, while second runners get little or nothing. Michael Strevens, following Philip Kitcher, defends this reward system, arguing that it incentivizes an efficient division of cognitive labor. I argue that this assessment depends on strong implicit assumptions about the replicability of findings. I question these assumptions on the basis of metascientific evidence and argue that the priority rule systematically discourages replication. My (...)
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  30.  30
    Dynamical Systems Theory and Explanatory Indispensability.Juha Saatsi - 2017 - Philosophy of Science 84 (5):892-904.
    I examine explanations’ realist commitments in relation to dynamical systems theory. First I rebut an ‘explanatory indispensability argument’ for mathematical realism from the explanatory power of phase spaces (Lyon and Colyvan 2007). Then I critically consider a possible way of strengthening the indispensability argument by reference to attractors in dynamical systems theory. The take-home message is that understanding of the modal character of explanations (in dynamical systems theory) can undermine platonist arguments from explanatory indispensability.
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  31. Using Democratic Values in Science: An Objection and Response.Schroeder S. Andrew - 2017 - Philosophy of Science 84 (5):1044-1054.
    Many philosophers of science have argued that social and ethical values have a significant role to play in core parts of the scientific process. This naturally suggests the following question: when such value choices need to be made, which or whose values should be used? A common answer to this question turns to democratic values—the values of the public or its representatives. I argue that this imposes a morally significant burden on certain scientists, effectively requiring them to advocate for policy (...)
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  32. Hypothesis Competition Beyond Mutual Exclusivity.Jonah N. Schupbach & David H. Glass - 2017 - Philosophy of Science 84 (5):810-824.
    Competition between scientific hypotheses is not always a matter of mutual exclusivity. Consistent hypotheses can compete to varying degrees either directly or indirectly via a body of evidence. We motivate and defend a particular account of hypothesis competition by showing how it captures these features. Computer simulations of Bayesian inference are used to highlight the limitations of adopting mutual exclusivity as a simplifying assumption to model scientific reasoning, particularly due to the exclusion of hypotheses that may be true. We end (...)
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  33. No Free Lunch Theorem, Inductive Skepticism, and the Optimality of Meta-Induction.Gerhard Schurz - 2017 - Philosophy of Science 84 (5):825-839.
    The no free lunch theorem is a radicalized version of Hume’s induction skepticism. It asserts that relative to a uniform probability distribution over all possible worlds, all computable prediction algorithms—whether ‘clever’ inductive or ‘stupid’ guessing methods —have the same expected predictive success. This theorem seems to be in conflict with results about meta-induction. According to these results, certain meta-inductive prediction strategies may dominate other methods in their predictive success. In this article this conflict is analyzed and dissolved, by means of (...)
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  34. Levels of Reasons and Causal Explanation.Bradford Skow - 2017 - Philosophy of Science 84 (5):905-915.
    I defend the theory that the reasons why some event occurred are its causes. Many “counterexamples” to this theory turn on confusing two levels of reasons. We should distinguish the reasons why an event occurred from the reasons why those reasons are reasons. An example that treats a second-level reason as a first-level reason will look like a counterexample if that second-level reason is not a cause. But second-level reasons need not be first-level reasons.
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  35. Three Arguments for Absolute Outcome Measures.Jan Sprenger & Jacob Stegenga - 2017 - Philosophy of Science 84 (5):840-852.
    Data from medical research are typically summarized with various types of outcome measures. We present three arguments in favor of absolute over relative outcome measures. The first argument is from cognitive bias: relative measures promote the reference class fallacy and the overestimation of treatment effectiveness. The second argument is decision-theoretic: absolute measures are superior to relative measures for making a decision between interventions. The third argument is causal: interpreted as measures of causal strength, absolute measures satisfy a set of desirable (...)
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  36. Interventions and Counternomic Reasoning.Tan Peter - 2017 - Philosophy of Science 84 (5):956-969.
    Counternomics—counterfactuals whose antecedents run contrary to the laws of nature—are commonplace in science but have enjoyed relatively little philosophical attention. This article discusses a puzzle about our counternomic epistemology, focusing on cases in which experimental observations are used as evidence for counternomic claims. I show that these cases resist being characterized in familiar interventionist lines, and I suggest a characterization of my own.
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  37. Against Selective Realism.Dana Tulodziecki - 2017 - Philosophy of Science 84 (5):996-1007.
    It has recently been suggested that realist responses to historical cases featured in pessimistic meta-inductions are not as successful as previously thought. In response, selective realists have updated the basic divide et impera strategy specifically to take such cases into account and to argue that more modern realist accounts are immune to the historical challenge. Using a case study—that of the nineteenth-century zymotic theory of disease—I argue that these updated proposals fail and that even the most sophisticated recent realist accounts (...)
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  38. Measurement of Statistical Evidence: Picking Up Where Hacking and Others Left Off.Veronica J. Vieland - 2017 - Philosophy of Science 84 (5):853-865.
    Hacking’s Law of Likelihood says—paraphrasing—that data support hypothesis H1 over hypothesis H2 whenever the likelihood ratio for H1 over H2 exceeds 1. But Hacking later noted a seemingly fatal flaw in the LR itself: it cannot be interpreted as the degree of “evidential significance” across applications. I agree with Hacking about the problem, but I do not believe the condition is incurable. I argue here that the LR can be properly calibrated with respect to the underlying evidence, and I sketch (...)
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  39. Mathematical Explanation and the Biological Optimality Fallacy.Samantha Wakil & James Justus - 2017 - Philosophy of Science 84 (5):916-930.
    Pure mathematics can play an indispensable role explaining empirical phenomena if recent accounts of insect evolution are correct. In particular, the prime life cycles of cicadas and the geometric structure of honeycombs are taken to undergird an inference to the best explanation about mathematical entities. Neither example supports this inference or the mathematical realism it is intended to establish. Both incorrectly assume that facts about mathematical optimality drove selection for the respective traits and explain why they exist. We show how (...)
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  40. Newton: From Certainty to Probability?Kirsten Walsh - 2017 - Philosophy of Science 84 (5):866-878.
    Newton’s earliest publications contained scandalous epistemological claims: not only did he aim for certainty; he also claimed success. Some commentators argue that Newton ultimately gave up claims of certainty in favor of a high degree of probability. I argue that no such shift occurred. I examine the evidence of a probabilistic shift: a passage from query 23/31 of the Opticks and rule 4 of the Principia. Neither passage supports a probabilistic approach to natural philosophy. The aim of certainty, then, was (...)
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  41. Mind the Gap: Boltzmannian Versus Gibbsian Equilibrium.Charlotte Werndl & Roman Frigg - 2017 - Philosophy of Science 84 (5):1289-1302.
    There are two main theoretical frameworks in statistical mechanics, one associated with Boltzmann and the other with Gibbs. Despite their well-known differences, there is a prevailing view that equilibrium values calculated in both frameworks coincide. We show that this is wrong. There are important cases in which the Boltzmannian and Gibbsian equilibrium concepts yield different outcomes. Furthermore, the conditions under which equilibriums exists are different for Gibbsian and Boltzmannian statistical mechanics. There are, however, special circumstances under which it is true (...)
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  42. Interventionist Causation in Thermodynamics.R. Zwier Karen - 2017 - Philosophy of Science 84 (5):1303-1315.
    The interventionist account of causation has been largely dismissed as a serious candidate for application in physics. This dismissal is related to the problematic assumption that physical causation is entirely a matter of dynamical evolution. In this article, I offer a fresh look at the interventionist account of causation and its applicability to thermodynamics. I argue that the interventionist account of causation is the account of causation that most appropriately characterizes the theoretical structure and phenomenal behavior of thermodynamics.
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  43.  3
    On Newtonian Induction.Ori Belkind - 2017 - Philosophy of Science 84 (4):677-697.
    This article examines Newton’s method of induction and its connection to methodological atomism. The article argues that Newton’s Rule III for the Study of Natural Philosophy is a criterion for isolating the primary qualities of the atomic parts; in other words, it interprets Rule III as a transductive inference. It is shown that both the standard inductive and invariance interpretations of Rule III can be subsumed under the transductive view, although the invariance criterion is reinterpreted; by qualities “that cannot be (...)
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  44.  1
    Review of Evidential Reasoning in Archaeology. [REVIEW]Adrian Currie - 2017 - Philosophy of Science 84 (4):782-790.
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  45.  28
    Visual Reference and Iconic Content.Santiago Echeverri - 2017 - Philosophy of Science 84 (4):761-781.
    Evidence from cognitive science supports the claim that humans and other animals see the world as divided into objects. Although this claim is widely accepted, it remains unclear whether the mechanisms of visual reference have representational content or are directly instantiated in the functional architecture. I put forward a version of the former approach that construes object files as icons for objects. This view is consistent with the evidence that motivates the architectural account, can respond to the key arguments against (...)
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  46.  70
    The Fine-Tuning Argument and the Requirement of Total Evidence.Peter Fisher Epstein - 2017 - Philosophy of Science 84 (4):639-658.
    According to the Fine-Tuning Argument, the existence of life in our universe confirms the Multiverse Hypothesis. A standard objection to FTA is that it violates the Requirement of Total Evidence. I argue that RTE should be rejected in favor of the Predesignation Requirement, according to which, in assessing the outcome of a probabilistic process, we should only use evidence characterizable in a manner available before observing the outcome. This produces the right verdicts in some simple cases in which RTE leads (...)
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  47.  1
    Cross-Unit Causation and the Identity of Groups.Bruce Glymour - 2017 - Philosophy of Science 84 (4):717-736.
    In this article I explore some statistical difficulties confronting going conceptions of ‘group’ as understood in accounts of group selection. Most such theories require real groups but define the reality of groups in ways that make it impossible to test for their reality. There are alternatives, but they either require or invite a nominalism about groups that many theorists abjure.
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  48.  66
    Communism and the Incentive to Share in Science.Remco Heesen - 2017 - Philosophy of Science 84 (4):698-716.
    The communist norm requires that scientists widely share the results of their work. Where did this norm come from, and how does it persist? I argue on the basis of a game-theoretic model that rational credit-maximizing scientists will in many cases conform to the norm. This means that the origins and persistence of the communist norm can be explained even in the absence of a social contract or enforcement, contrary to recent work by Michael Strevens but adding to previous work (...)
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  49. Marcel Boumans. Science Outside the Laboratory: Measurement in Field Science and Economics.Heilmann Conrad - 2017 - Philosophy of Science 84 (4):791-794.
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  50. Putting on the Garber Style? Better Not.Colin Howson - 2017 - Philosophy of Science 84 (4):659-676.
    This article argues that not only are there serious internal difficulties with both Garber’s and later ‘Garber-style’ solutions of the old-evidence problem, including a recent proposal of Hartmann and Fitelson, but Garber-style approaches in general cannot solve the problem. It also follows the earlier lead of Rosenkrantz in pointing out that, despite the appearance to the contrary which inspired Garber’s nonclassical development of the Bayesian theory, there is a straightforward, classically Bayesian, solution.
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  51.  18
    A Pragmatist’s Guide to Epistemic Utility.Benjamin Anders Levinstein - 2017 - Philosophy of Science 84 (4):613-638.
    We use a theorem from M. J. Schervish to explore the relationship between accuracy and practical success. If an agent is pragmatically rational, she will quantify the expected loss of her credence with a strictly proper scoring rule. Which scoring rule is right for her will depend on the sorts of decisions she expects to face. We relate this pragmatic conception of inaccuracy to the purely epistemic one popular among epistemic utility theorists.
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  52.  1
    The Volterra Principle Generalized.Tim Räz - 2017 - Philosophy of Science 84 (4):737-760.
    Michael Weisberg and Kenneth Reisman argue that the Volterra Principle can be derived from multiple predator-prey models and that, therefore, the Volterra Principle is a prime example for robustness analysis. In the current article, I give new results regarding the Volterra Principle, extending Weisberg’s and Reisman’s work, and I discuss the consequences of these results for robustness analysis. I argue that we do not end up with multiple, independent models but rather with one general model. I identify the kind of (...)
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  53. Climate Change Assessments: Confidence, Probability and Decision.Richard Bradley, Casey Helgeson & Brian Hill - 2017 - Philosophy of Science 84 (3):500–522.
    The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has developed a novel framework for assessing and communicating uncertainty in the findings published in their periodic assessment reports. But how should these uncertainty assessments inform decisions? We take a formal decision-making perspective to investigate how scientific input formulated in the IPCC’s novel framework might inform decisions in a principled way through a normative decision model.
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  54. Against the Topologists: Essay Review of New Foundations for Physical Gemoetry. [REVIEW]C. Fletcher Samuel - 2017 - Philosophy of Science 84 (3):595-603.
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  55. Smart Representations: Rationality and Evolution in a Richer Environment.Paolo Galeazzi & Michael Franke - 2017 - Philosophy of Science 84 (3):544-573.
    Standard applications of evolutionary game theory look at a single game and focus on the evolution of behavior for that game alone. Instead, this article uses tools from evolutionary game theory to study the competition between choice mechanisms in a rich and variable multigame environment. A choice mechanism is a way of subjectively representing a decision situation, paired with a method for choosing an act based on this subjective representation. We demonstrate the usefulness of this approach by a case study (...)
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  56.  3
    A Generalized Selected Effects Theory of Function.Justin Garson - 2017 - Philosophy of Science 84 (3):523-543.
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  57.  17
    The Asymmetry of Counterfactual Dependence.Christian Loew - 2017 - Philosophy of Science 84 (3):436-455.
    A certain type of counterfactual is thought to be intimately related to causation, control, and explanation. The time asymmetry of these phenomena therefore plausibly arises from a time asymmetry of counterfactual dependence. But why is counterfactual dependence time asymmetric? The most influential account of the time asymmetry of counterfactual dependence is David Albert’s account, which posits a new, time-asymmetric fundamental physical law, the so-called “past hypothesis.” Albert argues that the time asymmetry of counterfactual dependence arises from holding fixed the past (...)
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  58. Franklin's Field Guide to Scientific Experiments. [REVIEW]Nora Mills Boyd - 2017 - Philosophy of Science 84 (3):586-594.
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  59.  9
    A Naturalist's Guide to Objective Chance.Emery Nina - 2017 - Philosophy of Science 84 (3).
    I argue that there are such things as nomological probabilities—probabilities that play a certain explanatory role with respect to stable, long-run relative frequencies. Indeed, I argue, we should be willing to accept nomological probabilities even if they turn out to be metaphysically weird or even wholly sui generis entities. I then give an example of one way in which this argument should shape future work on the metaphysics of chance by describing a challenge to a common group of analyses of (...)
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  60.  1
    Interactive Causes: Revising the Markov Condition.Gerhard Schurz - 2017 - Philosophy of Science 84 (3):456-479.
    This article suggests a revision of the theory of causal nets. In section 1 we introduce an axiomatization of TCN based on a realistic understanding. It is shown that the causal Markov condition entails three independent principles. In section 2 we analyze indeterministic decay as the major counterexample to one of these principles: screening off by common causes. We call SCC-violating common causes interactive causes. In section 3 we develop a revised version of TCN, called TCN*, which accounts for interactive (...)
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  61.  2
    Review of Physical Computation: A Mechanistic Account by Gualtiero Piccinini. [REVIEW]Oron Shagrir - 2017 - Philosophy of Science 84 (3):604-612.
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  62.  1
    Robustness and Independent Evidence.Stegenga Jacob & Menon Tarun - 2017 - Philosophy of Science 84 (3):414-435.
    Robustness arguments hold that hypotheses are more likely to be true when they are confirmed by diverse kinds of evidence. Robustness arguments require the confirming evidence to be independent. We identify two kinds of independence appealed to in robustness arguments: ontic independence —when the multiple lines of evidence depend on different materials, assumptions, or theories—and probabilistic independence. Many assume that OI is sufficient for a robustness argument to be warranted. However, we argue that, as typically construed, OI is not a (...)
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  63.  68
    Which Kind of Causal Specificity Matters Biologically?Marcel Weber - 2017 - Philosophy of Science 84 (3):574-585.
    Griffiths et al. (2015) have proposed a quantitative measure of causal specificity and used it to assess various attempts to single out genetic causes as being causally more specific than other cellular mechanisms, for example, alternative splicing. Focusing in particular on developmental processes, they have identified a number of important challenges for this project. In this discussion note, I would like to show how these challenges can be met.
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  64.  30
    Explanation = Unification? A New Criticism of Friedman's Theory and a Reply to an Old One.William Roche & Elliott Sober - 2017 - Philosophy of Science 84 (3):391-413.
    According to Michael Friedman’s theory of explanation, a law X explains laws Y1, Y2, …, Yn precisely when X unifies the Y’s, where unification is understood in terms of reducing the number of independently acceptable laws. Philip Kitcher criticized Friedman’s theory but did not analyze the concept of independent acceptability. Here we show that Kitcher’s objection can be met by modifying an element in Friedman’s account. In addition, we argue that there are serious objections to the use that Friedman makes (...)
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  65.  96
    An Abductive Theory of Constitution.Michael Baumgartner & Lorenzo Casini - 2017 - Philosophy of Science 84 (2).
    The first part of this paper finds Craver’s (2007) mutual manipulability theory (MM) of constitution inadequate, as it definitionally ties constitution to the feasibility of idealized experiments, which, however, are unrealizable in principle. As an alternative, the second part develops an abductive theory of constitution (NDC), which exploits the fact that phenomena and their constituents are unbreakably coupled via common causes. The best explanation for this common-cause coupling is the existence of an additional dependence relation, viz. constitution. Apart from adequately (...)
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  66.  12
    Explicating Top-­‐Down Causation Using Networks and Dynamics.Williiam Bechtel - 2017 - Philosophy of Science 84 (2).
    In many fields in the life sciences investigators refer to downward or top-down causal effects. Craver and Bechtel defended the view that such cases should be understood in terms of a constitution relation between levels in a mechanism and causation as solely an intra-level relation. Craver and Bechtel, however, provided insufficient specification as to when entities constitute a higher-level mechanism. In this paper I appeal to graph-theoretic representations of networks that are now widely employed in systems biology and neuroscience to (...)
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  67. How Explanation Guides Confirmation.Nevin Climenhaga - 2017 - Philosophy of Science 84 (2):359-68.
    Where E is the proposition that [If H and O were true, H would explain O], William Roche and Elliot Sober have argued that P(H|O&E) = P(H|O). In this paper I argue that not only is this equality not generally true, it is false in the very kinds of cases that Roche and Sober focus on, involving frequency data. In fact, in such cases O raises the probability of H only given that there is an explanatory connection between them.
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  68.  7
    Graded Incoherence for Accuracy-Firsters.Glauber De Bona & Julia Staffel - 2017 - Philosophy of Science 84 (2):189-213.
    This paper investigates the relationship between two evaluative claims about agents’ de- grees of belief: (i) that it is better to have more, rather than less accurate degrees of belief, and (ii) that it is better to have less, rather than more probabilistically incoherent degrees of belief. We show that, for suitable combinations of inaccuracy measures and incoherence measures, both claims are compatible, although not equivalent; moreover, certain ways of becoming less incoherent always guarantee improvements in accuracy. Incompatibilities between particular (...)
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  69. Making the Most of Clade Selection.W. Ford Doolittle - 2017 - Philosophy of Science 84 (2).
    Clade selection is unpopular with philosophers who otherwise accept multilevel selection theory. Clades cannot reproduce, and reproduction is widely thought necessary for evolution by natural selection, especially of complex adaptations. Using microbial evolutionary processes as heuristics, I argue contrariwise, that (1) clade growth (proliferation of contained species) substitutes for clade reproduction in the evolution of complex adaptation, (2) clade-level properties favoring persistence – species richness, dispersal, divergence, and possibly intraclade cooperation – are not collapsible into species-level traits, (3) such properties (...)
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  70. Solutions in Constructive Field Theory.Hancox-Li Leif - 2017 - Philosophy of Science 84 (2):335-358.
    Constructive field theory aims to rigorously construct concrete, nontrivial solutions to Lagrangians used in particle physics. I examine the relationship of solutions in constructive field theory to both axiomatic and Lagrangian quantum field theory. I argue that Lagrangian QFT provides conditions for what counts as a successful constructive solution and other information that guides constructive field theorists to solutions. Solutions matter because they describe the behavior of QFT systems and thus what QFT says the world is like. Constructive field theory (...)
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  71. Cognitive/Evolutionary Psychology and the History of Racism.P. JacksonJohn - 2017 - Philosophy of Science 84 (2):296-314.
    Philosophical defenses of cognitive/evolutionary psychological accounts of racialism claim that classification based on phenotypical features of humans was common historically and is evidence for a species-typical, cognitive mechanism for essentializing. They conclude that social constructionist accounts of racialism must be supplemented by cognitive/evolutionary psychology. This article argues that phenotypical classifications were uncommon historically until such classifications were socially constructed. Moreover, some philosophers equivocate between two different meanings of “racial thinking.” The article concludes that social constructionist accounts are far more robust (...)
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  72. Review of Making Medical Knowledge. [REVIEW]Pham Michelle - 2017 - Philosophy of Science 84 (2):377-384.
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  73.  39
    Three Myths About Time Reversal in Quantum Theory.Bryan W. Roberts - 2017 - Philosophy of Science 84 (2):315-334.
    Many have suggested that the transformation standardly referred to as `time reversal' in quantum theory is not deserving of the name. I argue on the contrary that the standard definition is perfectly appropriate, and is indeed forced by basic considerations about the nature of time in the quantum formalism.
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  74.  27
    In Epistemic Networks, is Less Really More?Sarita Rosenstock, Cailin O'Connor & Justin Bruner - 2017 - Philosophy of Science 84 (2):234-252.
    We show that previous results from epistemic network models showing the benefits of decreased connectivity in epistemic networks are not robust across changes in parameter values. Our findings motivate discussion about whether and how such models can inform real-world epistemic communities. As we argue, only robust results from epistemic network models should be used to generate advice for the real-world, and, in particular, decreasing connectivity is a robustly poor recommendation.
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  75. Bending Toward Justice. [REVIEW]Kyle P. Stanford - 2017 - Philosophy of Science 84 (2):369-376.
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  76. Tim Lewens. Cultural Evolution: Conceptual Challenges. [REVIEW]Alberto Acerbi - 2017 - Philosophy of Science 84 (1):181-184.
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  77. Some Adaptations Were Not Positive Causal Factors for Reproductive Success.Wes Anderson - 2017 - Philosophy of Science 84 (1):1-13.
    Sober develops an account of adaptations on which they must have been positive causal factors for reproductive success. Glymour defends an account of a proper subset of adaptations—adaptations to particular environmental conditions—on which traits must interact in a special way with adapting conditions to cause reproductive success. These theories render conflicting judgments about which traits count as adaptations in some interesting cases. In this article I explore one such case and argue that we ought to replace the notion of adaptation (...)
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  78.  15
    Review of Robert J. Richards and Lorraine Daston, Eds., Kuhn’s Structure of Scientific Revolutions at Fifty: Reflections on a Science Classic. [REVIEW]Wray K. Brad - 2017 - Philosophy of Science 84 (1):184-188.
  79. Understanding Polarization: Meanings, Measures, and Model Evaluation.Aaron Bramson, Patrick Grim, Daniel J. Singer, William J. Berger, Graham Sack, Steven Fisher, Carissa Flocken & Bennett Holman - 2017 - Philosophy of Science 84 (1):115-159.
    Polarization is a topic of intense interest among social scientists, but there is significant disagreement regarding the character of the phenomenon and little understanding of underlying mechanics. A first problem, we argue, is that polarization appears in the literature as not one concept but many. In the first part of the article, we distinguish nine phenomena that may be considered polarization, with suggestions of appropriate measures for each. In the second part of the article, we apply this analysis to evaluate (...)
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  80. The Evolutionary Culture Concepts.Catherine Driscoll - 2017 - Philosophy of Science 84 (1):35-55.
    Most attempts to define culture as used in the cultural evolution literature treat culture as a single phenomenon that can be given a single nondisjunctive definition. In this article I argue that, really, cultural evolutionists employ a variety of distinct but closely related concepts of culture. I show how the main prominent attempts to define a culture concept fail to properly capture all the uses of “culture” employed in cultural evolutionary work. I offer a description of some of the most (...)
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  81. Unfolding the Grammar of Bayseian Confirmation: Likelihood and Antilikelihood Principles.Roberto Festa & Gustavo Cevolni - 2017 - Philosophy of Science 84 (1):56-81.
    We explore the grammar of Bayesian confirmation by focusing on some likelihood principles, including the Weak Law of Likelihood. We show that none of the likelihood principles proposed so far is satisfied by all incremental measures of confirmation, and we argue that some of these measures indeed obey new, prima facie strange, antilikelihood principles. To prove this, we introduce a new measure that violates the Weak Law of Likelihood while satisfying a strong antilikelihood condition. We conclude by hinting at some (...)
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  82.  4
    Assertion, Nonepistemic Values, and Scientific Practice.Paul L. Franco - 2017 - Philosophy of Science 84 (1):160-180.
    This article motivates a shift in certain strands of the debate over legitimate roles for nonepistemic values in scientific practice from investigating what is involved in taking cognitive attitudes like acceptance toward an empirical hypothesis to looking at a social understanding of assertion, the act of communicating that hypothesis. I argue that speech act theory’s account of assertion as a type of doing makes salient legitimate roles nonepistemic values can play in scientific practice. The article also shows how speech act (...)
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  83.  1
    Interpreting Heritability Causally.Kate E. Lynch & Pierrick Bourrat - 2017 - Philosophy of Science 84 (1):14-34.
    A high heritability estimate usually corresponds to a situation in which trait variation is largely caused by genetic variation. However, in some cases of gene-environment covariance, causal intuitions about the sources of trait difference can vary, leading experts to disagree as to how the heritability estimate should be interpreted. We argue that the source of contention for these cases is an inconsistency in the interpretation of the concepts ‘genotype’, ‘phenotype’, and ‘environment’. We propose an interpretation of these terms under which (...)
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  84.  46
    On the Evidential Import of Unification.Wayne C. Myrvold - 2017 - Philosophy of Science 84 (1):92-114.
    This paper discusses two senses in which a hypothesis may be said to unify evidence. One is the ability of the hypothesis to increase the mutual information of a set of evidence statements; the other is the ability of the hypothesis to explain commonalities in observed phenomena by positing a common origin for them. On Bayesian updating, it is only mutual information unification that contributes to the incremental support of a hypothesis by the evidence unified. This poses a challenge for (...)
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  85. A Representation Theorem for Absolute Confirmation.Michael Schippers - 2017 - Philosophy of Science 84 (1):82-91.
    Proposals for rigorously explicating the concept of confirmation in probabilistic terms abound. To foster discussions on the formal properties of the proposed measures, recent years have seen the upshot of a number of representation theorems that uniquely determine a confirmation measure based on a number of desiderata. However, the results that have been presented so far focus exclusively on the concept of incremental confirmation. This leaves open the question whether similar results can be obtained for the concept of absolute confirmation. (...)
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  86.  43
    Taking Reductionism to the Limit: How to Rebut the Anti-Reductionist Argument From Infinite Limits.Juha Saatsi & Alexander Reutlinger - 2017 - Philosophy of Science.
    This paper analyses the anti-reductionist argument from renormalisation group explanations of universality, and shows how it can be rebutted if one assumes that the explanation in question is captured by the counterfactual dependence account of explanation.
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