It is usually accepted that deductions are non-informative and monotonic, inductions are informative and nonmonotonic, abductions create hypotheses but are epistemically irrelevant, and both deductions and inductions can’t provide new insights. In this article, I attempt to provide a more cohesive view of the subject with the following hypotheses: (1) the paradigmatic examples of deductions, such as modus ponens and hypothetical syllogism, are not inferential forms, but coherence requirements for inferences; (2) since any reasoner aims to be coherent, any inference (...) must be deductive; (3) a coherent inference is an intuitive process where the premises should be taken as sufficient evidence for the conclusion, which on its turn should be viewed as necessary evidence for the premises in some modal range; (4) inductions, properly understood, are abductions, but there are no abductions beyond the fact that in any inference the conclusion should be regarded as necessary evidence for the premises; (5) monotonicity is not only compatible with the retraction of past inferences given new information, but it is a requirement for it; (6) this explanation of inferences holds true for discovery processes, predictions and trivial inferences. (shrink)
Unconscious logical inference seems to rely on the syntactic structures of mental representations (Quilty-Dunn & Mandelbaum 2018). Other transitions, such as transitions using iconic representations and associative transitions, are harder to assimilate to syntax-based theories. Here we tackle these difficulties head on in the interest of a fuller taxonomy of mental transitions. Along the way we discuss how icons can be compositional without having constituent structure, and expand and defend the “symmetry condition” on Associationism (the idea that associative links and (...) transitions are perfectly symmetric). In the end, we show how a BIT (“bare inferential transition”) theory can cohabitate with these other non-inferential mental transitions. (shrink)
The orthodox view about sensitivity and induction has it that beliefs formed via induction are insensitive. Since inductive knowledge is highly plausible, this problem is usually regarded as a reductio argument against sensitivity accounts of knowledge. Some adherents of sensitivity defend sensitivity against this objection, for example by considering backtracking interpretations of counterfactuals. All these extant views about sensitivity and induction have to be revised, since the problem of sensitivity and induction is a different one. Regardless of whether we allow (...) backtracking interpretations of counterfactuals, some instances of induction yield insensitive beliefs whereas others yield sensitive ones. These results are too heterogenous for providing a plausible sensitivity-account of inductive knowledge. Induction remains a serious problem for sensitivity accounts of knowledge. (shrink)
We offer a general framework for theorizing about the structure of knowledge and belief in terms of the comparative normality of situations compatible with one’s evidence. The guiding idea is that, if a possibility is sufficiently less normal than one’s actual situation, then one can know that that possibility does not obtain. This explains how people can have inductive knowledge that goes beyond what is strictly entailed by their evidence. We motivate the framework by showing how it illuminates knowledge about (...) the future, knowledge of lawful regularities, knowledge about parameters measured using imperfect instruments, the connection between knowledge, belief, and probability, and the dynamics of knowledge and belief in response to new evidence. (shrink)
This book builds on the path-breaking work of George E. Smith and further explores the notions of evidence and confirmation in the exact sciences from two perspectives: conceptual and historical. Contributions in this volume investigate the philosophical presuppositions, explanatory scope, and historical precursors of evidence in mathematical physics and related disciplines. The papers are written by and of interest to philosophers and historians of science.
Depending on whether we are somewhat tolerant of nearby error-possibilities or not, the safety condition on knowledge is open to a strong reading and a weak reading. In this paper, it is argued that induction and conjunction introduction constitute two horns of a dilemma for the safety account of knowledge. If we opt for the strong reading, then the safety account fails to account for inductive knowledge. In contrast, if we opt for the weak reading, then the safety account fails (...) to accommodate knowledge obtained via the method of conjunction introduction. (shrink)
According to the safety principle, if one knows that p, one's belief that p could not easily have been false. One problem besetting this principle is the lottery problem – that of explaining why one does not seem to know that one will lose the lottery purely based on probabilistic considerations, prior to the announcement of the lottery result. As Greco points out, it is difficult for a safety theorist to solve this problem, without paying a heavy price. In this (...) paper, I first reject three existing safety-based solutions to the lottery problem, due to Pritchard, Sosa, and Broncano-Berrocal. Failure of these accounts reveals that there is something crucial missing in the safety principle. By way of remedying this, I propose to integrate a safety principle with a condition regarding one's own awareness of (nearby) error-possibilities. The resulting account, as I argue, enjoys a number of theoretical advantages, including its capacity to handle the lottery problem. (shrink)
In this paper, we set out to investigate the following question: if science relies heavily on induction, does philosophy of science rely heavily on induction as well? Using data mining and text analysis methods, we study a large corpus of philosophical texts mined from the JSTOR database (n = 14,199) in order to answer this question empirically. If philosophy of science relies heavily on induction, just as science supposedly does, then we would expect to find significantly more inductive arguments than (...) deductive arguments and abductive arguments in the published works of philosophers of science. Using indicator words to classify arguments by type (namely, deductive, inductive, and abductive arguments), we search through our corpus to find patterns of argumentation. Overall, the results of our study suggest that philosophers of science do rely on inductive inference. But induction may not be as foundational to philosophy of science as it is thought to be for science, given that philosophers of science make significantly more deductive arguments than inductive arguments. Interestingly, our results also suggest that philosophers of science do not rely on abductive arguments all that much, even though philosophers of science consider abduction to be a cornerstone of scientific methodology. (shrink)
Real kinds, both natural and social categories, are characterized by rich inductive potential. They have relatively stable sets of conceptually independent projectable properties. Somewhat surprisingly, even some purely social categories show such multiple projectability. The article explores the origin of the inductive richness of social categories and concepts. I argue that existing philosophical accounts provide only a partial explanation, and mechanisms of boundary formation and stabilization must be brought into view for a more comprehensive account of inductively rich social categories.
Safety accounts of knowledge claim, roughly, that knowledge that p requires that one's belief that p could not have easily been false. Such accounts have been very popular in recent epistemology. However, one serious problem safety accounts have to confront is to explain why certain lottery‐related beliefs are not knowledge, without excluding obvious instances of inductive knowledge. We argue that the significance of this objection has hitherto been underappreciated by proponents of safety. We discuss Duncan Pritchard's recent solution to the (...) problem and argue that it fails. More importantly, the problem reaches deeper and poses a threat to any current safety accounts that require a belief's modal stability in close possibilities (as well as safety accounts that appeal to ‘normality’). We end by arguing that ways out of the problem require substantial reconstruction for a safety‐based account of knowledge. (shrink)
A number of philosophers have recently proposed several alleged cases of “knowledge from falsehood,” i.e., cases of inferential knowledge epistemised by an inference with a false crucial premise. This paper examines such cases and argues against interpreting them as cases of knowledge from falsehood. Specifically, I argue that the inferences in play in such cases are in no position to epistemise their conclusions.
I examine what the mathematical theory of random structures can teach us about the probability of Plenitude, a thesis closely related to David Lewis's modal realism. Given some natural assumptions, Plenitude is reasonably probable a priori, but in principle it can be (and plausibly it has been) empirically disconfirmed—not by any general qualitative evidence, but rather by our de re evidence.
The environmental costs and energy constraints have become emerging issues for the future development of Machine Learning (ML) and Artificial Intelligence (AI). So far, the discussion on environmental impacts of ML/AI lacks a perspective reaching beyond quantitative measurements of the energy-related research costs. Building on the foundations laid down by Schwartz et al., 2019 in the GreenAI initiative, our argument considers two interlinked phenomena, the gratuitous generalisation capability and the future where ML/AI performs the majority of quantifiable inductive inferences. The (...) gratuitous generalisation capability refers to a discrepancy between the cognitive demands of a task to be accomplished and the performance (accuracy) of a used ML/AI model. If the latter exceeds the former because the model was optimised to achieve the best possible accuracy, it becomes inefficient and its operation harmful to the environment. The future dominated by the non-anthropic induction describes a use of ML/AI so all-pervasive that most of the inductive inferences become furnished by ML/AI generalisations. The paper argues that the present debate deserves an expansion connecting the environmental costs of research and ineffective ML/AI uses (the issue of gratuitous generalisation capability) with the (near) future marked by the all-pervasive Human-Artificial Intelligence Nexus. (shrink)
Hope is an attitude with a distinctive epistemological dimension: it is incompatible with knowledge. This chapter examines hope as it relates to knowledge but also to probability and inductive considerations. Such epistemic constraints can make hope either impossible, or, when hope remains possible, they affect how one’s epistemic situation can make hope rational rather than irrational. Such issues are especially relevant to when hopefulness may permissibly figure in practical deliberation over a course of action. So I consider cases of second-order (...) inductive reflection on when one should, or should not, be hopeful for an outcome with which one has a long record of experience: in other words, what is the epistemology behind when one should, if ever, stop hoping for outcomes which have failed one many times in the past? (shrink)
This paper argues that philosophers of science have before them an important new task that they urgently need to take up. It is to convince the scientific community to adopt and implement a new philosophy of science that does better justice to the deeply problematic basic intellectual aims of science than that which we have at present. Problematic aims evolve with evolving knowledge, that part of philosophy of science concerned with aims and methods thus becoming an integral part of science (...) itself. The outcome of putting this new philosophy into scientific practice would be a new kind of science, both more intellectually rigorous and one that does better justice to the best interests of humanity. (shrink)
Scientific reasoning represents complex argumentation patterns that eventually lead to scientific discoveries. Social epistemology of science provides a perspective on the scientific community as a whole and on its collective knowledge acquisition. Different techniques have been employed with the goal of maximization of scientific knowledge on the group level. These techniques include formal models and computer simulations of scientific reasoning and interaction. Still, these models have tested mainly abstract hypothetical scenarios. The present thesis instead presents data-driven approaches in social epistemology (...) of science. A data-driven approach requires data collection and curation for its further usage, which can include creating empirically calibrated models and simulations of scientific inquiry, performing statistical analyses, or employing data- mining techniques and other procedures. -/- We present and analyze in detail three co-authored research projects on which the thesis’ author was engaged during her PhD. The first project sought to identify optimal team composition in high energy physics laboratories using data-mining techniques. The results of this project are published in (Perović et al. 2016), and indicate that projects with smaller numbers of teams and team members outperform bigger ones. In the second project, we attempted to determine whether there is an epistemic saturation point in experimentation in high energy physics. The initial results from this project are published in (Sikimić et al. 2018). In the thesis, we expand on this topic by using computer simulations to test for biases that could induce scientists to invest in projects beyond their epistemic saturation point. Finally, in previous examples of data-driven analyses, citations are used as a measure of epistemic efficiency of projects in high energy physics. In order to additionally justify and analyze the usage of this parameter in their data-driven research, in the third project Perović & Sikimić (2019) analyzed and compared inductive patterns in experimental physics and biology with the reliability of citation records in these fields. They conclude that while citations are a relatively reliable measure of efficiency in high energy physics research, the same does not hold for the majority of research in experimental biology. -/- Additionally, contributions of the author that are for the first time published in this theses are: (a) an empirically calibrated model of scientific interaction of research groups in biology, (b) a case study of irregular argumentation patterns in some pathogen discoveries, and (c) an introductory discussion of the benefits and limitations of data- driven approaches to the social epistemology of science. Using computer simulations of an empirically calibrated model, we demonstrate that having several levels of hierarchy and division into smaller research sub-teams is epistemically beneficial for researchers in experimental biology. We also show that argumentation analysis in biology represents a good starting point for further data-driven analyses in the field. Finally, we conclude that a data-driven approach is informative and useful for science policy, but requires careful considerations about data collection, curation, and interpretation. (shrink)
Intertheoretic relations are an important topic in the philosophy of science. However, since their classical discussion by Ernest Nagel, such relations have mostly been restricted to relations between pairs of theories in the natural sciences. This paper presents a case study of a new type of intertheoretic relation that is inspired by Montague’s analysis of the linguistic syntax-semantics relation. The paper develops a simple model of this relation. To motivate the adoption of our new model, we show that this model (...) extends the scope of application of the Nagelian models and that it shares the epistemological advantages of the Nagelian model. The latter is achieved in a Bayesian framework. (shrink)
One of the most enduring contributions of Sir Karl Popper to the philosophy of science was his deductive approach to the scientific method, as opposed to Hilary Putnam’s absolute faith in science as an inductive process. Popper’s logic of discovery counters the whole inductive procedure that modern science is so often identified with. While the inductive method has generally characterized how scientists commence their work in laboratories, for Popper scientific theories actually start with generalizations inside our mind whose validity the (...) scientific method must test until those come to be falsified. A step further in the scientific method is the function of paradigms that Thomas Kuhn’s revolutionary science has developed. Kuhn’s community and consensus-based approach and Popper’s hypothesis-based approach are both important in the development of science as it is. This paper seeks to show how models of development may be integrated in the above debate in order to derive insightful implications that are crucial to the understanding of economic progress and human development. (shrink)
There are a bewildering variety of claims connecting Darwin to nineteenth-century philosophy of science—including to Herschel, Whewell, Lyell, German Romanticism, Comte, and others. I argue here that Herschel’s influence on Darwin is undeniable. The form of this influence, however, is often misunderstood. Darwin was not merely taking the concept of “analogy” from Herschel, nor was he combining such an analogy with a consilience as argued for by Whewell. On the contrary, Darwin’s Origin is written in precisely the manner that one (...) would expect were Darwin attempting to model his work on the precepts found in Herschel’s Preliminary Discourse on Natural Science. While Hodge has worked out a careful interpretation of both Darwin and Herschel, drawing similar conclusions, his interpretation misreads Herschel’s use of the vera causa principle and the verification of hypotheses. The new reading that I present here resolves this trouble, combining Hodge’s careful treatment of the structure of the Origin with a more cautious understanding of Herschel’s philosophy of science. This interpretation lets us understand why Darwin laid out the Origin in the way that he did and also why Herschel so strongly disagreed, including in Herschel’s heretofore unanalyzed marginalia in his copy of Darwin’s book. (shrink)
I here aim to show that a particular approach to the problem of induction, which I will call “induction by direct inference”, comfortably handles Goodman’s problem of induction. I begin the article by describing induction by direct inference. After introducing induction by direct inference, I briefly introduce the Goodman problem, and explain why it is, prima facie, an obstacle to the proposed approach. I then show how one may address the Goodman problem, assuming one adopts induction by direct inference as (...) an approach to the problem of induction. In particular, I show that a relatively standard treatment of what some have called the “Reference Class problem” addresses the Goodman Problem. Indeed, plausible and relatively standard principles of direct inference yield the conclusion that the Goodman inference (involving the grue predicate) is defeated, so it is unnecessary to invoke considerations of ‘projectibility’ in order to address the Goodman problem. I conclude the article by discussing the generality of the proposed approach, in dealing with variants of Goodman’s example. (shrink)
Sosa, Pritchard, and Vogel have all argued that there are cases in which one knows something inductively but does not believe it sensitively, and that sensitivity therefore cannot be necessary for knowledge. I defend sensitivity by showing that inductive knowledge is sensitive.
As it is standardly conceived, Inference to the Best Explanation (IBE) is a form of ampliative inference in which one infers a hypothesis because it provides a better potential explanation of one’s evidence than any other available, competing explanatory hypothesis. Bas van Fraassen famously objected to IBE thus formulated that we may have no reason to think that any of the available, competing explanatory hypotheses are true. While revisionary responses to the Bad Lot Objection concede that IBE needs to be (...) reformulated in light of this problem, reactionary responses argue that the Bad Lot Objection is fallacious, incoherent, or misguided. This paper shows that the most influential reactionary responses to the Bad Lot Objection do nothing to undermine the original objection. This strongly suggests that proponents of IBE should focus their efforts on revisionary responses, i.e. on finding a more sophisticated characterization of IBE for which the Bad Lot Objection loses its bite. (shrink)
Philosophy of science is seen by most as a meta-discipline – one that takes science as its subject matter, and seeks to acquire knowledge and understanding about science without in any way affecting, or contributing to, science itself. Karl Popper’s approach is very different. His first love is natural philosophy or, as he would put it, cosmology. This intermingles cosmology and the rest of natural science with epistemology, methodology and metaphysics. Paradoxically, however, one of his best known contributions, his proposed (...) solution to the problem of demarcation, helps to maintain the gulf that separates science from metaphysics, thus fragmenting cosmology into falsifiable science on the one hand, untestable philosophy on the other. This has damaging repercussions for a number of issues Popper tackles, from the problem of induction to simplicity of theory and quantum theory. But his proposed solution to the demarcation problem is untenable. Metaphysical assumptions are an integral part of scientific knowledge, inherent in the persistent acceptance of unified theories against the evidence. Once this is appreciated, it becomes obvious that natural philosophy, a synthesis of science and philosophy, is both more rigorous and of greater intellectual value than the two dissociated components we have today. What Popper sought for could come to full fruition. Problems that Popper tackled, from the problem of induction, to the problem of unity of theory, problems of quantum theory, and problems concerning the scope and limits of physics, all receive more adequate resolution within the new, fully-fledged natural philosophy. (shrink)
According to the paradigm of adaptive rationality, successful inference and prediction methods tend to be local and frugal. As a complement to work within this paradigm, we investigate the problem of selecting an optimal combination of prediction methods from a given toolbox of such local methods, in the context of changing environments. These selection methods are called meta-inductive strategies, if they are based on the success-records of the toolbox-methods. No absolutely optimal MI strategy exists—a fact that we call the “revenge (...) of ecological rationality”. Nevertheless one can show that a certain MI strategy exists, called “AW”, which is universally long-run optimal, with provably small short-run losses, in comparison to any set of prediction methods that it can use as input. We call this property universal access-optimality. Local and short-run improvements over AW are possible, but only at the cost of forfeiting universal access-optimality. The last part of the paper includes an empirical study of MI strategies in application to an 8-year-long data set from the Monash University Footy Tipping Competition. (shrink)
The roles of abductive inference in dynamic heuristics allows scientific methodologies to test novel explanations for the world’s ways. Deliberate reasoning often follows abductive patterns, as well as patterns dominated by deduction and induction, but complex mixtures of these three modes of inference are crucial for scientific explanation. All possible mixed inferences are formulated and categorized using a novel typology and nomenclature. Twenty five possible combinations among abduction, induction, and deduction are assembled and analyzed in order of complexity. There are (...) five primary categories for sorting these inferential procedures: fallacies, non-scientific procedures, quasi-scientific procedures, scientific procedures, and scientific heuristics. (shrink)
Excerpt from Induction and Deduction: A Historical Critical Sketch of Successive Philosophical Conceptions Respecting the Relations Between Inductive and Deductive Thought and Other Essays It is a painful and pathetic task for an intimate friend of Constance Naden to be called upon to write a memoir, however brief, of her short life, instead of looking forward to years of happy and elevating intercourse, sharing in works of benevolent usefulness, and gladly watching her rise to the distinction which her intellectual gifts (...) entitled her circle of friends to anticipate. The sorrow for her loss must be lifelong. As Mrs. Browning says, "the inevitable strikes us dead," but the expression of it is unavailing. All that remains for the most devoted of her friends is to keep her memory green, by striving to let the world know what it has lost, both in promise and in fulfilment. Miss Naden's earlier life was uneventful, and almost all the details for this portion of it have been drawn from accounts published in the Birmingham papers, at the time of her death, by those associated with her school and college career. Constance Caroline Woodhill Naden was born on the 24th January, 1858, at her father's house in Edgbaston, where he still resides, and is the President of the Birmingham Architectural Association. Her mother died on the 5th February, a few days after the birth of her child. Shortly afterwards the motherless infant was domesticated with her mother's parents, Mr. and Mrs. Woodhill, of Pakenham House, Edgbaston, and here Constance lived a retired, peaceful life, adored by her grandparents, till they died, Mr. Woodhill in 1881, and his widow in 1887. About the Publisher Forgotten Books publishes hundreds of thousands of rare and classic books. Find more at www.forgottenbooks.com This book is a reproduction of an important historical work. Forgotten Books uses state-of-the-art technology to digitally reconstruct the work, preserving the original format whilst repairing imperfections present in the aged copy. In rare cases, an imperfection in the original, such as a blemish or missing page, may be replicated in our edition. We do, however, repair the vast majority of imperfections successfully; any imperfections that remain are intentionally left to preserve the state of such historical works. (shrink)
Are knowledge and belief pivotal in science, as contemporary epistemology and philosophy of science nearly universally take them to be? I defend the view that scientists are not primarily concerned with knowing and that the methods of arriving at scientific hypotheses, models and scenarios do not commit us having stable beliefs about them. Instead, what drives scientific discovery is ignorance that scientists can cleverly exploit. Not an absence or negation of knowledge, ignorance concerns fundamental uncertainty, and is brought out by (...) retroductive inferences, which are roughly characterised as reasoning from effects to causes. I argue that recent discoveries in sciences that coped with under-structured problem spaces testify the prevalence of retroductive logic in scientific discovery and its progress. This puts paid to the need of finding epistemic justification or confirmation to retroductive methodologies. A scientist, never frightened of unknown unknowns, strives to advance the forefront of uncertainty, not that of belief or knowledge. Far from rendering science irrational, I conclude that catering well for the right conditions in which to cultivate ignorance is a key to how fertile retroductive inferences arise. (shrink)
Formal and empirical work on the Wisdom of Crowds has extolled the virtue of diverse and independent judgment as essential to the maintenance of ‘wise crowds’. In other words, com-munication and imitation among members of a group may have the negative effect of decreasing the aggregate wisdom of the group. In contrast, it is demonstrable that certain meta-inductive methods provide optimal means for predicting unknown events. Such meta-inductive methods are essentially imitative, where the predictions of other agents are imitated to (...) the extent that those agents have proven successful in the past. Despite the (self-serving) optimality of meta-inductive methods, their imitative nature may undermine the ‘wisdom of the crowd’, since these methods recommend that agents imitate the predictions of other agents. In this paper, I present a replication of selected results of Thorn and Schurz, illustrating the effect on a group’s performance that may result from having members of a group adopt meta-inductive methods. I then expand on the work of Thorn and Schurz by considering three simple measures by which meta-inductive prediction methods may improve their own performance, while simultaneously mitigating their negative impact on group performance. The effects of adopting these maneuvers are investigated using computer simulations. (shrink)
Assessment of error and uncertainty is a vital component of both natural and social science. This edited volume presents case studies of research practices across a wide spectrum of scientific fields. It compares methodologies and presents the ingredients needed for an overarching framework applicable to all.
State of the art paper on the problem of induction: how to justify the conclusion that ‘all Fs are Gs’ from the premise that ‘all observed Fs are Gs’. The most prominent theories of contemporary philosophical literature are discussed and analysed, such as: inductivism, reliabilism, perspective of laws of nature, rationalism, falsificationism, the material theory of induction and probabilistic approaches, according to Carnap, Reichenbach and Bayesianism. In the end, we discuss the new problem of induction of Goodman, raised by the (...) grue predicate. (shrink)
This study aims to understand scientific inference for the evolutionary procedure of Continental Drift based on abductive inference, which is important for creative inference and scientific discovery during problem solving. We present the following two research problems: (1) we suggest a scientific inference procedure as well as various strategies and a criterion for choosing hypotheses over other competing or previous hypotheses; aspects of this procedure include puzzling observation, abduction, retroduction, updating, deduction, induction, and recycle; and (2) we analyze the “theory (...) of continental drift” discovery, called the Earth science revolution, using our multistage inference procedure. Wegener’s Continental Drift hypothesis had an impact comparable to the revolution caused by Darwin’s theory of evolution in biology. Finally, the suggested inquiry inference model can provide us with a more consistent view of science and promote a deeper understanding of scientific concepts. (shrink)
This paper reviews all major theories of evidence such as the Bayesian theory, hypothetico-deductivism, satisfaction theories, error-statistics, Achinstein's explanationist theory and Cartwright's argument theory. All these theories fail to take adequate account of the context in which a hypothesis is established and used. It is argued that the context of an inquiry determines important facts about what evidence is, and how much and what kind has to be collected to establish a hypothesis for a given purpose.
The applicability of Bayesian conditionalization in setting one’s posterior probability for a proposition, α, is limited to cases where the value of a corresponding prior probability, PPRI(α|∧E), is available, where ∧E represents one’s complete body of evidence. In order to extend probability updating to cases where the prior probabilities needed for Bayesian conditionalization are unavailable, I introduce an inference schema, defeasible conditionalization, which allows one to update one’s personal probability in a proposition by conditioning on a proposition that represents a (...) proper subset of one’s complete body of evidence. While defeasible conditionalization has wider applicability than standard Bayesian conditionalization (since it may be used when the value of a relevant prior probability, PPRI(α|∧E), is unavailable), there are circumstances under which some instances of defeasible conditionalization are unreasonable. To address this difficulty, I outline the conditions under which instances of defeasible conditionalization are defeated. To conclude the article, I suggest that the prescriptions of direct inference and statistical induction can be encoded within the proposed system of probability updating, by the selection of intuitively reasonable prior probabilities. (shrink)
1. Introduction : humanity's urge to understand -- 2. Elements of scientific thinking : skepticism, careful reasoning, and exhaustive evaluation are all vital. Science Is universal -- Maintaining a critical attitude. Reasonable skepticism -- Respect for the truth -- Reasoning. Deduction -- Induction -- Paradigm shifts -- Evaluating scientific hypotheses. Ockham's razor -- Quantitative evaluation -- Verification by others -- Statistics : correlation and causation -- Statistics : the indeterminacy of the small -- Careful definition -- Science at the frontier. (...) When good theories become ugly -- Stuff that just does not fit -- 3. Christopher Columbus and the discovery of the "Indies" : it can be disastrous to stubbornly refuse to recognize that you have falsified your own hypothesis -- 4. Antoine Lavoisier and Joseph Priestley both test the befuddling phlogiston theory : junking a confusing hypothesis may be necessary to clear the way for new and productive science -- 5. Michael Faraday discovers electromagnetic induction but fails to unify electromagnetism and gravitation : it is usually productive to simplify and consolidate your hypotheses -- 6. Wilhelm Röntgen intended to study cathode rays but ended up discovering X-rays : listen carefully when Mother Nature whispers in your ear : she may be leading you to a Nobel Prize -- 7. Max Planck, the first superhero of quantum theory, saves the universe from the ultraviolet catastrophe : assemble two flawed hypotheses about a key phenomenon into a model that fits experiment exactly and people will listen to you even if you must revolutionize physics -- 8. Albert Einstein attacks the problem "Are atoms real?" from every angle : solving a centuries-old riddle in seven different ways can finally resolve it -- 9. Niels Bohr models the hydrogen atom as a quantized system with compelling exactness, but his later career proves that collaboration and developing new talent can become more significant than the groundbreaking research of any individual -- 10. Conclusions, status of science, and lessons for our time. Conclusions from our biographies -- What thought processes lead to innovation? -- Is the scientist an outsider? -- The status of the modern scientific enterprise -- Lessons for our time -- Can the scientific method be applied to public policy? -- Why so little interest in science? -- Knowledge is never complete. (shrink)
Styles of reasoning are important devices to understand scientific practice. As I use the concept, a style of reasoning is a pattern of inferential relations that are used to select, interpret, and support evidence for scientific results. In this paper, I defend the view that there is a plurality of styles of reasoning: different domains of science often invoke different styles. I argue that this plurality is an important source of disunity in scientific practice, and it provides additional arguments in (...) support of the disunity claim. I also contrast Ian Hacking’s broad characterization of styles of reasoning with a narrow understanding that I favor. Drawing on examples from molecular biology, chemistry and mathematics, I argue that differences in style of reasoning lead to differences in the way the relevant results are obtained and interpreted. The result is a pluralist view about styles of reasoning that is sensitive to nuances of inferential relations in scientific activity. (shrink)
John Norton’s argument that all formal theories of induction fail raises substantive questions about the philosophical analysis of scientific reasoning. What are the criteria of adequacy for philosophical theories of induction, explanation, or theory structure? Is more than one adequate theory possible? Using a generalized version of Norton’s argument, I demonstrate that the competition between formal and material theories in philosophy of science results from adhering to different criteria of adequacy. This situation encourages an interpretation of “formal” and “material” as (...) indicators of divergent criteria that accompany different philosophical methodologies. I characterize another criterion of adequacy associated with material theories, the avoidance of imported problems, and conclude that one way to negotiate between conflicting criteria is to adopt a pluralist stance toward philosophical theories of scientific reasoning. (shrink)
Many people argue that history makes a special difference to the subjects of biology and psychology, and that history does not make this special difference to other parts of the world. This paper will show that historical properties make no more or less of a difference to biology or psychology than to chemistry, physics, or other sciences. Although historical properties indeed make a certain kind of difference to biology and psychology, this paper will show that historical properties make the same (...) kind of difference to geology, sociology, astronomy, and other sciences. Similarly, many people argue that nonhistorical properties make a special difference to the nonbiological and the nonpsychological world. This paper will show that nonhistorical properties make the same difference to all things in the world when it comes to their causal behavior and that historical properties make the same difference to all things in the world when it comes to their distributions. Although history is special, it is special in the same way to all parts of the world. (shrink)
This paper revisits Bacon's persistent 'mechanical' imagery by which he described the 'aid' through which the human mind would be rendered adequate to framing axioms about nature's processes and properties that underlie all natural phenomena. It argues that the role Bacon ascribed to his own insights into the properties and motions of matter is crucial for grasping such instrumental imagery, because his own writings—both methodological and natural historical—need to be read as themselves comprising, at least in incipient form, the very (...) instruments of which they speak. From that reflexive standpoint, this paper in particular focuses on the 'aid' to the senses that his natural histories were to have offered under the interpretative guidance offered by the Novum organum and other works. The 'hypothetical' status to which Bacon is often thought to have accorded his own natural philosophical insights does not adequately take into account the transformative power Bacon thought these insights should have through his own writings. The fact that Bacon was keenly sensitive to the psychological effects of textual authority in his intellectual milieu prompts new reflection concerning how he intended his own texts to be read, and how we should read them. (shrink)
Meta-induction, in its various forms, is an imitative prediction method, where the prediction methods and the predictions of other agents are imitated to the extent that those methods or agents have proven successful in the past. In past work, Schurz demonstrated the optimality of meta-induction as a method for predicting unknown events and quantities. However, much recent discussion, along with formal and empirical work, on the Wisdom of Crowds has extolled the virtue of diverse and independent judgment as essential to (...) maintenance of 'wise crowds'. This suggests that meta-inductive prediction methods could undermine the wisdom of the crowd inasmuch these methods recommend that agents imitate the predictions of other agents. In this article, we evaluate meta-inductive methods with a focus on the impact on a group's performance that may result from including meta-inductivists among its members. In addition to considering cases of global accessibility (i.e., cases where the judgments of all members of the group are available to all of the group's members), we consider cases where agents only have access to the judgments of other agents within their own local neighborhoods. (shrink)
Applying good inductive rules inside the scope of suppositions leads to implausible results. I argue it is a mistake to think that inductive rules of inference behave anything like 'inference rules' in natural deduction systems. And this implies that it isn't always true that good arguments can be run 'off-line' to gain a priori knowledge of conditional conclusions.
The problem of rational prediction, launched by Wesley Salmon, is without doubt the Achilles heel of the critical method defended by Popper. In this paper, I assess the response given both by Popper and by the popperian Alan Musgrave to this problem. Both responses are inadequate and thus the conclusion of Salmon is reinforced: without appeal to induction, there is no way to make of the practical prediction a rational action. Furthermore, the critical method needs to be vindicated if one (...) pretends that its application is suitable for the preference of a hypothesis. I argue that the nature of this vindication is such that it may be applied also to induction. Thus, to be a popperian is a good reason also to be an inductivist. (shrink)
Inductive Logic is number ten in the 11-volume Handbook of the History of Logic. While there are many examples were a science split from philosophy and became autonomous (such as physics with Newton and biology with Darwin), and while there are, perhaps, topics that are of exclusively philosophical interest, inductive logic — as this handbook attests — is a research field where philosophers and scientists fruitfully and constructively interact. This handbook covers the rich history of scientific turning points in Inductive (...) Logic, including probability theory and decision theory. Written by leading researchers in the field, both this volume and the Handbook as a whole are definitive reference tools for senior undergraduates, graduate students and researchers in the history of logic, the history of philosophy, and any discipline, such as mathematics, computer science, cognitive psychology, and artificial intelligence, for whom the historical background of his or her work is a salient consideration. (shrink)
In this, the first book devoted to Peter Achinstein's influential work in philosophy of science, twenty distinguished philosophers, including four Lakatos award winners, address various aspects of Achinstein's influential views on the nature of scientific evidence, scientific explanation, and scientific realism. It includes short essays by Steve Gimbel and Jeff Maynes, Nancy Cartwright, Jordi Cat, Victor DiFate, Jerry Doppelt, Adam Goldstein, Philip Kitcher, Fred Kronz, Deborah Mayo, Greg Morgan, Helen Longino, John Norton, Michael Ruse, Bas van Fraassen, Stathis Psillos, Larry (...) Laudan, Richard Richards, Kent Staley, and Jim Woodward with replies to each contributor from Peter Achinstein. Readers will come away with an understanding of the current debate in multiple areas of philosophy of science and how various contemporary issues are connected. (shrink)
"This highly interesting volume can be described in three ways. First it is a historical analysis of the concept of autodidacticism. Second, it is the history of a particular book. Finally, the book is self-described as an exercise in interdisciplinarity... The method of this historiographic proposal is described as 'historical sampling,' whereby the appropriation of a text in various cultural contexts is displayed and compared. In all three of the abovementioned ways, the present reviewer judges the book to be a (...) success. Moreover, it is written in such a lively style with rich detail that it is engrossing from start to finish.". (shrink)