Scientific Method

Edited by Darrell P. Rowbottom (Lingnan University)
Assistant editor: Zili Dong (University of Western Ontario)
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  1. In Defense of Uniformitarianism.Bruce L. Gordon - 2013 - Perspectives on Science and Christian Faith 65 (2).
    The practice of science rests on the assumption of dependable regularity in the behavior of the physical world. It presumes that the world has an investigable causal structure and that scientific experimentation, observation, and theorizing provide a reliable pathway to its discernment. This much is not in dispute. What is in dispute is what warrants the metaphysical and methodological assumption—essential to the heuristic utility of science—that nature is uniform in such a way that the present can serve as a key (...)
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  2. Statistik und Einheit der Wissenschaften von Quetelets Physique Sociale zu Neuraths Soziologie im Physikalismus.Donata Romizi - 2016 - In C. Bonnet & E. Nemeth (eds.), .): Wissenschaft und Praxis. Zur Wissenschaftsphilosophie in Österreich und Frankreich in der ersten Hälfte des 20. Jahrhunderts. Wien; New York:
    The present paper focuses on the work of Adolphe Quetelet (1796-1874), the Belgian author of the Social Physics who worked in the tradition of the French mathématique sociale, and of Otto Neurath (1882-1945), the Vienna Circle’s member who supported a “sociology within physicalism”. They shared some important philosophical and methodological positions: an empiricist approach to the social sciences, a unitary conception of the natural and the social sciences, and the appreciation of statistics as a tool for investigating and also reforming (...)
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  3. The Nature of Nature: Examining the Role of Naturalism in Science.Bruce L. Gordon & William A. Dembski (eds.) - 2011 - Wilmington, DE: ISI Books.
    The world's leading authorities in the sciences and humanities—dozens of top scholars, including three Nobel laureates—join a cultural and intellectual battle that leaves no human life untouched. Is the universe self-existent, self-sufficient, and self-organizing, or is it grounded instead in a reality that transcends space, time, matter, and energy?
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Confirmation
  1. Confirmation by Robustness Analysis: A Bayesian Account.Lorenzo Casini & Jürgen Landes - forthcoming - Erkenntnis.
    Some authors claim that minimal models have limited epistemic value. Others defend the epistemic benefits of modelling by invoking the role of robustness analysis for hypothesis confirmation but such arguments find much resistance. In this paper, we offer a Bayesian rationalization and defence of the view that robustness analysis can play a confirmatory role, and thereby shed light on the potential of minimal models for hypothesis confirmation. We illustrate our argument by reference to a case study from macroeconomics. At the (...)
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  2. Confirmation Bias in Information Search, Interpretation, and Memory Recall: Evidence From Reasoning About Four Controversial Topics.Dáša Vedejová & Vladimíra Čavojová - 2022 - Thinking and Reasoning 28 (1):1-28.
    Confirmation bias is often used as an umbrella term for many related phenomena. Information searches, evidence interpretation, and memory recall are the three main components of the thinking proces...
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  3. Meta-Empirical Confirmation: Addressing Three Points of Criticism.Richard Dawid - 2022 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 93:66-71.
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  4. Bayes et les biais. Le « biais de confirmation » en question.Marion Vorms - 2021 - Revue de Métaphysique et de Morale 4:567-590.
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  5. Historical Inductions Meet the Material Theory.Elay Shech - 2019 - Philosophy of Science 86 (5):918-929.
    Historical inductions, that is, the pessimistic metainduction and the problem of unconceived alternatives, are critically analyzed via John D. Norton’s material theory of induction and subsequently rejected as noncogent arguments. It is suggested that the material theory is amenable to a local version of the pessimistic metainduction, for example, in the context of some medical studies.
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  6. The Bayes' Factor: The Coherent Measure for Hypothesis Confirmation.Franco Taroni, Paolo Garbolino, Silvia Bozza & Colin Aitken - forthcoming - Law, Probability and Risk.
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  7. Confirmation by Analogy.Francesco Nappo - 2022 - Synthese 200 (1):1-26.
    This paper proposes a framework for representing in Bayesian terms the idea that analogical arguments of various degrees of strength may provide inductive support to yet untested scientific hypotheses. On this account, contextual information plays a crucial role in determining whether, and to what extent, a given similarity or dissimilarity between source and target may confirm an empirical hypothesis over a rival one. In addition to showing confirmation by analogy compatible with the adoption of a Bayesian standpoint, the proposal outlined (...)
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  8. The Role of Meta-Empirical Theory Confirmation in the Acceptance of Atomism.Richard Dawid - 2021 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 90:50-60.
    The universal acceptance of atomism in physics and chemistry in the early 20th century went along with an altered view on the epistemic status of microphysical conjectures. Contrary to the prevalent understanding during the 19th century, on the new view unobservable objects could be ‘discovered’. It is argued in the present paper that this shift can be connected to the implicit integration of elements of meta-empirical theory assessment into the concept of theory confirmation.
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  9. Scientific Realism and Empirical Confirmation: A Puzzle.Simon Allzén - 2021 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 90:153-159.
    Scientific realism driven by inference to the best explanation (IBE) takes empirically confirmed objects to exist,independent,paceempiricism, of whether those objects are observable or not. This kind of realism, it has beenclaimed, does not need probabilistic reasoning to justify the claim that these objects exist. But I show that thereare scientific contexts in which a non-probabilistic IBE-driven realism leads to a puzzle. Since IBE can be appliedin scientific contexts in which empirical confirmation has not yet been reached, realists will in these (...)
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  10. Are Scientific Models of Life Testable? A Lesson From Simpson's Paradox.Prasanta S. Bandyopadhyay, Don Dcruz, Nolan Grunska & Mark Greenwood - 2020 - Sci 1 (3).
    We address the need for a model by considering two competing theories regarding the origin of life: (i) the Metabolism First theory, and (ii) the RNA World theory. We discuss two interrelated points, namely: (i) Models are valuable tools for understanding both the processes and intricacies of origin-of-life issues, and (ii) Insights from models also help us to evaluate the core objection to origin-of-life theories, called “the inefficiency objection”, which is commonly raised by proponents of both the Metabolism First theory (...)
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  11. A Problem for Confirmation Measure Z.Branden Fitelson - 2021 - Philosophy of Science 88 (4):726-730.
    In this article, I present a serious problem for confirmation measure Z.
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  12. “Adding Up” Reasons: Lessons for Reductive and Nonreductive Approaches.Shyam Nair - 2021 - Ethics 132 (1):38-88.
    How do multiple reasons combine to support a conclusion about what to do or believe? This question raises two challenges: How can we represent the strength of a reason? How do the strengths of multiple reasons combine? Analogous challenges about confirmation have been answered using probabilistic tools. Can reductive and nonreductive theories of reasons use these tools to answer their challenges? Yes, or more exactly: reductive theories can answer both challenges. Nonreductive theories, with the help of a result in confirmation (...)
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  13. Meta-Empirical Support for Eliminative Reasoning.C. D. McCoy - 2021 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 90:15-29.
    Eliminative reasoning is a method that has been employed in many significant episodes in the history of science. It has also been advocated by some philosophers as an important means for justifying well-established scientific theories. Arguments for how eliminative reasoning is able to do so, however, have generally relied on a too narrow conception of evidence, and have therefore tended to lapse into merely heuristic or pragmatic justifications for their conclusions. This paper shows how a broader conception of evidence not (...)
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  14. Testability and Viability: Is Inflationary Cosmology “Scientific”?Richard Dawid & C. D. McCoy - manuscript
    We provide a philosophical reconstruction and analysis of the debate on the scientific status of cosmic inflation that has played out in recent years. In a series of critical papers, Ijjas et al. have questioned the scientificality of the current views on cosmic inflation. Proponents of cosmic inflation have in turn defended the scientific credentials of their approach. We argue that, while this defense, narrowly construed, is successful against Ijjas et al., the latter's reasoning does point to a significant epistemic (...)
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  15. Does the Dome Defeat the Material Theory of Induction?William Peden - forthcoming - Erkenntnis:1-20.
    According to John D. Norton's Material Theory of Induction, all inductive inferences are justified by local facts, rather than their formal features or some grand principles of nature's uniformity. Recently, Richard Dawid (2015) has offered a challenge to this theory: in an adaptation of Norton's own celebrated "Dome" thought experiment, it seems that there are certain inductions that are intuitively reasonable, but which do not have any local facts that could serve to justify them in accordance with Norton's requirements. Dawid's (...)
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  16. Tracking Confirmation.Igor Douven - 2021 - Philosophy of Science 88 (3):398-414.
    Confirmation is a graded notion: evidence can confirm a hypothesis to a greater or lesser degree. There has been debate about how to measure degree of confirmation. Starting from the observation that we would like evidence to be a discriminating indicator of truth, we conduct computer simulations to determine how well the various known measures of confirmation predict the extent to which a given piece of evidence fulfills that role, given a hypothesis of interest. The outcomes show that some measures (...)
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  17. Inquiry and Confirmation.Arianna Falbo - 2021 - Analysis 81 (4):622–631.
    A puzzle arises when combining two individually plausible, yet jointly incompatible, norms of inquiry. On the one hand, it seems that one shouldn’t inquire into a question while believing an answer to that question. But, on the other hand, it seems rational to inquire into a question while believing its answer, if one is seeking confirmation. Millson (2021), who has recently identified this puzzle, suggests a possible solution, though he notes that it comes with significant costs. I offer an alternative (...)
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  18. The epistemic consequences of pragmatic value-laden scientific inference.Adam P. Kubiak & Paweł Kawalec - 2021 - European Journal for Philosophy of Science 11 (2):1-26.
    In this work, we explore the epistemic import of the value-ladenness of Neyman-Pearson’s Theory of Testing Hypotheses by reconstructing and extending Daniel Steel’s argument for the legitimate influence of pragmatic values on scientific inference. We focus on how to properly understand N-P’s pragmatic value-ladenness and the epistemic reliability of N-P. We develop an account of the twofold influence of pragmatic values on N-P’s epistemic reliability and replicability. We refer to these two distinguished aspects as “direct” and “indirect”. We discuss the (...)
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  19. Framework Confirmation by Newtonian Abduction.Erik Curiel - 2020 - Synthese 198 (Suppl 16):3813-3851.
    The analysis of theory-confirmation generally takes the deductive form: show that a theory in conjunction with physical data and auxiliary hypotheses yield a prediction about phenomena; verify the prediction; provide a quantitative measure of the degree of theory-confirmation this yields. The issue of confirmation for an entire framework either does not arise, or is dismissed in so far as frameworks are thought not to be the kind of thing that admits scientific confirmation. I argue that there is another form of (...)
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  20. One World Versus Many: The Inadequacy of Everettian Accounts of Evolution, Probability, and Scientific Confirmation.Adrian Kent - 2010 - In Simon Saunders, Jonathan Barrett, Adrian Kent & David Wallace (eds.), Many Worlds?: Everett, Quantum Theory, & Reality. Oxford University Press.
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  21. Externalismo semántico y subdeterminación empírica. Respuesta a un desafío al realismo científico.Marc Jiménez Rolland - 2017 - Dissertation, Universidad Autónoma Metropolitana
    I offer an explicit account of the underdetermination thesis as well as of the many challenges it poses to scientific realism; a way to answer to these challenges is explored and outlined, by shifting attention to the content of theories. I argue that, even if we have solid grounds (as I contend we do) to support that some varieties of the underdetermination thesis are true, scientific realism can still offer an adequate picture of the aims and achievements of science.
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  22. Optimization of Scientific Reasoning: A Data-Driven Approach.Vlasta Sikimić - 2019 - Dissertation,
    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 (...)
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  23. Bayesian Confirmation or Ordinary Confirmation?Yongfeng Yuan - 2020 - Studia Logica 108 (3):425-449.
    This article reveals one general scheme for creating counter examples to Bayesian confirmation theory. The reason of the problems is that: in daily life the degree of confirmation is affected not only by probability but also by some non-probabilistic factors, e.g., structural similarity, quantity of evidence, and marginal utility, while Bayesian confirmation theory considers only probabilities to measure the degree of confirmation. This article resolves these problems after some detail analyses, and proposes a new confirmation measure based on these factors.
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  24. Induction and Hypothesis: A Study of the Logic of Confirmation.Stephen Francis Barker - 1957 - Ithaca, NY, USA: Cornell University Press.
    Doubting that any version of induction could be satisfactory as the basic principle of nondemonstrative inference the author analyzes elaborately and rejects eliminative and enumerative induction in the search for a satisfactory criterion of confirmation. The basic difficulty is that induction fails to provide a means of confirming hypotheses about unobserved things. He inclines toward a method of hypothesis but rejects previous formulations in favor of one that involves systems of confirmable hypotheses that are competetively chosen as the simplest available.
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  25. Confirmation Bias and the (Un)Reliability of Enculturated Religious Beliefs.Paul Carron - 2019 - Southwest Philosophy Review 35 (2):61-63.
  26. Discrimination-Conduciveness and Observation Selection Effects.William Roche & Elliott Sober - 2019 - Philosophers' Imprint 19.
    We conceptualize observation selection effects by considering how a shift from one process of observation to another affects discrimination-conduciveness, by which we mean the degree to which possible observations discriminate between hypotheses, given the observation process at work. OSEs in this sense come in degrees and are causal, where the cause is the shift in process, and the effect is a change in degree of discrimination-conduciveness. We contrast our understanding of OSEs with others that have appeared in the literature. After (...)
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  27. Inference to the Best Explanation and the Screening-Off Challenge.William Roche & Elliott Sober - 2019 - Teorema: International Journal of Philosophy 38:121-142.
    We argue in Roche and Sober (2013) that explanatoriness is evidentially irrelevant in that Pr(H | O&EXPL) = Pr(H | O), where H is a hypothesis, O is an observation, and EXPL is the proposition that if H and O were true, then H would explain O. This is a “screening-off” thesis. Here we clarify that thesis, reply to criticisms advanced by Lange (2017), consider alternative formulations of Inference to the Best Explanation, discuss a strengthened screening-off thesis, and consider how (...)
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  28. From a Boson to the Standard Model Higgs: A Case Study in Confirmation and Model Dynamics.Cristin Chall, Martin King, Peter Mättig & Michael Stöltzner - 2019 - Synthese 198 (Suppl 16):3779-3811.
    Our paper studies the anatomy of the discovery of the Higgs boson at the Large Hadron Collider and its influence on the broader model landscape of particle physics. We investigate the phases of this discovery, which led to a crucial reconfiguration of the model landscape of elementary particle physics and eventually to a confirmation of the standard model. A keyword search of preprints covering the electroweak symmetry breaking sector of particle physics, along with an examination of physicists own understanding of (...)
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  29. Prediction Versus Accommodation in Economics.Robert Northcott - 2019 - Journal of Economic Methodology 26 (1):59-69.
    Should we insist on prediction, i.e. on correctly forecasting the future? Or can we rest content with accommodation, i.e. empirical success only with respect to the past? I apply general considerations about this issue to the case of economics. In particular, I examine various ways in which mere accommodation can be sufficient, in order to see whether those ways apply to economics. Two conclusions result. First, an entanglement thesis: the need for prediction is entangled with the methodological role of orthodox (...)
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  30. Delimiting the Unconceived.Richard Dawid - 2018 - Foundations of Physics 48 (5):492-506.
    It has been argued in Dawid that physicists at times generate substantial trust in an empirically unconfirmed theory based on observations that lie beyond the theory’s intended domain. A crucial role in the reconstruction of this argument of “non-empirical confirmation” is played by limitations to scientific underdetermination. The present paper discusses the question as to how generic the role of limitations to scientific underdetermination really is. It is argued that assessing such limitations is essential for generating trust in any theory’s (...)
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  31. The Structure and Confirmation of Evolutionary Theory. Elisabeth A. Lloyd.Richard M. Burian - 1992 - Philosophy of Science 59 (1):153-157.
    The main goal of this book, The Structure and Confirmation of Evolutionary Theory, “is to introduce, develop, and demonstrate the usefulness of a precise analysis of the structure of evolutionary theory”, an analysis that treats evolutionary theory as built up out of complexly interrelated mathematical models. The book has a second goal as well, namely, “to offer … evidence of the appropriateness and utility of the semantic view of scientific theories”. The appropriate audience for the book is not obvious. It (...)
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  32. Theory and Evidence. Clark Glymour. [REVIEW]Adam Morton - 1981 - Philosophy of Science 48 (3):498-500.
    review of Glymour's *Theory and Evidence* focusing on the arguments against holism.
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  33. The Qualitative Paradox of Non-Conglomerability.Nicholas DiBella - 2018 - Synthese 195 (3):1181-1210.
    A probability function is non-conglomerable just in case there is some proposition E and partition \ of the space of possible outcomes such that the probability of E conditional on any member of \ is bounded by two values yet the unconditional probability of E is not bounded by those values. The paradox of non-conglomerability is the counterintuitive—and controversial—claim that a rational agent’s subjective probability function can be non-conglomerable. In this paper, I present a qualitative analogue of the paradox. I (...)
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  34. Two Impossibility Results for Measures of Corroboration.Jan Sprenger - 2018 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 69 (1):139--159.
    According to influential accounts of scientific method, such as critical rationalism, scientific knowledge grows by repeatedly testing our best hypotheses. But despite the popularity of hypothesis tests in statistical inference and science in general, their philosophical foundations remain shaky. In particular, the interpretation of non-significant results—those that do not reject the tested hypothesis—poses a major philosophical challenge. To what extent do they corroborate the tested hypothesis, or provide a reason to accept it? Popper sought for measures of corroboration that could (...)
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  35. 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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  36. Locke on the Epistemological Status of Scientific Laws.Silvio Seno Chibeni - 2005 - Principia: An International Journal of Epistemology 9 (1-2):19-41.
    This article aims to defend Locke against Quine’s charge, made in his famous “two dogmas” paper, that Locke’s theory of knowledge is badly flawed, not only for assuming the dogmas, but also for adopting an “in-tolerably restrictive” version of the dogma of reductionism. It is shown here that, in his analysis of the epistemological status of scientific laws, Locke has effectively transcended the narrow idea-empiricism which un-derlies this version of reductionism. First, in order to escape idealism, he introduced the notion (...)
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  37. Regularity and Infinitely Tossed Coins.Colin Howson - 2017 - European Journal for Philosophy of Science 7 (1):97-102.
    Timothy Williamson has claimed to prove that regularity must fail even in a nonstandard setting, with a counterexample based on tossing a fair coin infinitely many times. I argue that Williamson’s argument is mistaken, and that a corrected version shows that it is not regularity which fails in the non-standard setting but a fundamental property of shifts in Bernoulli processes.
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  38. Confirmation Via Analogue Simulation: What Dumb Holes Could Tell Us About Gravity.Radin Dardashti, Karim P. Y. Thébault & Eric Winsberg - 2017 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 68 (1).
    In this article we argue for the existence of ‘analogue simulation’ as a novel form of scientific inference with the potential to be confirmatory. This notion is distinct from the modes of analogical reasoning detailed in the literature, and draws inspiration from fluid dynamical ‘dumb hole’ analogues to gravitational black holes. For that case, which is considered in detail, we defend the claim that the phenomena of gravitational Hawking radiation could be confirmed in the case that its counterpart is detected (...)
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  39. The ‘Pierre Duhem Thesis.’ A Reappraisal of Duhem’s Discovery of the Physics of the Middle Ages.Horia-Roman Patapievici - 2015 - Logos and Episteme 6 (2):201–218.
    Pierre Duhem is the discoverer of the physics of the Middle Ages. The discovery that there existed a physics of the Middle Ages was a surprise primarily for Duhem himself. This discovery completely changed the way he saw the evolution of physics, bringing him to formulate a complex argument for the growth and continuity of scientific knowledge, which I call the ‘Pierre Duhem Thesis’ (not to be confused either with what Roger Ariew called the ‘true Duhem thesis’ as opposed to (...)
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  40. A Third Note on Degree of Corroboration or Confirmation.K. R. Popper - 1957 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 8 (29):294.
  41. Duhem and Quine.Paul Needham - 2000 - Dialectica 54 (2):109-132.
    The rejection of the idea that the so‐called Duhem‐Quine thesis in fact expresses a thesis upheld by either Duhem or Quine invites a more detailed comparison of their views. It is suggested that the arguments of each have a certain impact on the positions maintained by the other. In particular, Quine's development of his notion of ontological commitment is enlisted in the interpretation of Duhem's position. It is argued that this counts against the instrumentalist construal usually put on what Duhem (...)
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  42. Emergent Spacetime and Empirical (in) Coherence.Nick Huggett & Christian Wüthrich - 2013 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Modern Physics 44 (3):276-285.
    Numerous approaches to a quantum theory of gravity posit fundamental ontologies that exclude spacetime, either partially or wholly. This situation raises deep questions about how such theories could relate to the empirical realm, since arguably only entities localized in spacetime can ever be observed. Are such entities even possible in a theory without fundamental spacetime? How might they be derived, formally speaking? Moreover, since by assumption the fundamental entities cannot be smaller than the derived and so cannot ‘compose’ them in (...)
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  43. The Hempel and Goodman Paradoxes: A Reply to Adler.Nathan Stemmer - 1987 - Behavior and Philosophy 15 (2):165.
  44. Matti Sintonen, Review of Error and the Growth of Experimental Knowledge by Deborah Mayo. [REVIEW]Matti Sintonen - 1998 - Philosophy of Science 65 (2):370-372.
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  45. The Confirmation of Quantitative Laws.Henry E. Kyburg - 1985 - Philosophy of Science 52 (1):1-22.
    Quantitative laws are more typical of science than are generalizations involving observational predicates, yet much discussion of scientific inference takes the confirmation of a universal generalization by its instances to be typical and paradigmatic. The important difference is that measurement necessarily involves error. It is argued that because of error laws can no more be refuted by observation than they can be verified by observation. Without much background knowledge, tests of a law mainly provide evidence for the distribution of errors (...)
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  46. Theory Assessment and Coherence.Peter Brössel - 2008 - Abstracta 4 (1):57-71.
    One of the most important questions in epistemology and the philosophy of science is: what is a good theory and when is a theory better than another theory, given some observational data? The coherentist‟s answer would be the following twofold conjecture: A theory is a good theory given some observational data iff that theory coheres with the observational data and a theory is better than another theory given some observational data iff the first theory coheres more with the observational data (...)
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  47. A Strong Confirmation Of The Experimenters' Regress.H. M. Collins - 1994 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 25 (3):493-503.
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