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  1. added 2019-03-13
    Trout, J. D. , Wondrous Truths: The Improbable Triumph of Modern Science, New York: Oxford University Press, 264pp, ISBN 978-0199385072. [REVIEW]Nicholas Maxwell - 2017 - Acta Baltica Historiae Et Philosophiae Scientiarum 5 (2):108-115.
  2. added 2019-02-01
    Kuhn’s Two Accounts of Rational Disagreement in Science: An Interpretation and Critique.Markus Seidel - forthcoming - Synthese:1-29.
    Whereas there is much discussion about Thomas Kuhn’s notion of methodological incommensurability and many have seen his ideas as an attempt to allow for rational disagreement in science, so far no serious analysis of how exactly Kuhn aims to account for rational disagreement has been proposed. This paper provides the first in-depth analysis of Kuhn’s account of rational disagreement in science—an account that can be seen as the most prominent attempt to allow for rational disagreement in science. Three things will (...)
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  3. added 2018-10-15
    Review of 'Theoretical Virtues in Science' by Samuel Schindler. [REVIEW]Darren Bradley - manuscript
  4. added 2018-10-09
    Should Explanations Omit the Details?Darren Bradley - forthcoming - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science.
    There is a widely shared belief that the higher level sciences can provide better explanations than lower level sciences. But there is little agreement about exactly why this is so. It is often suggested that higher level explanations are better because they omit details. I will argue instead that the preference for higher level explanations is just a special case of our general preference for informative, logically strong, beliefs. I argue that our preference for informative beliefs entirely accounts for why (...)
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  5. added 2018-09-26
    Defining a Crisis: The Roles of Principles in the Search for a Theory of Quantum Gravity.Karen Crowther - forthcoming - Synthese:1-28.
    In times of crisis, when current theories are revealed as inadequate to task, and new physics is thought to be required---physics turns to re-evaluate its principles, and to seek new ones. This paper explores the various types, and roles of principles that feature in the problem of quantum gravity as a current crisis in physics. I illustrate the diversity of the principles being appealed to, and show that principles serve in a variety of roles in all stages of the crisis, (...)
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  6. added 2018-06-19
    The Perils of Parsimony.William Roche - 2018 - Journal of Philosophy 115 (9):485-505.
    It is widely thought in philosophy and elsewhere that parsimony is a theoretical virtue in that if T1 is more parsimonious than T2, then T1 is preferable to T2, other things being equal. This thesis admits of many distinct precisifications. I focus on a relatively weak precisification on which preferability is a matter of probability, and argue that it is false. This is problematic for various alternative precisifications, and even for Inference to the Best Explanation as standardly understood.
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  7. added 2018-06-07
    The Aesthetics of Theory Selection and the Logics of Art.Ian O’Loughlin & Kate McCallum - 2018 - Philosophy of Science (2):325-343.
    Philosophers of science discuss whether theory selection depends on aesthetic judgments or criteria, and whether these putatively aesthetic features are genuinely extra-epistemic. As examples, judgments involving criteria such as simplicity and symmetry are often cited. However, other theory selection criteria, such as fecundity, coherence, internal consistency, and fertility, more closely match those criteria used in art contexts and by scholars working in aesthetics. Paying closer attention to the way these criteria are used in art contexts allows us to understand some (...)
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  8. added 2018-02-02
    On the Comparison of False Theories by Their Bases.David Miller - 1974 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 25 (2):178-188.
  9. added 2017-03-14
    Systematizing the Theoretical Virtues.Michael N. Keas - 2017 - Synthese:1-33.
    There are at least twelve major virtues of good theories: evidential accuracy, causal adequacy, explanatory depth, internal consistency, internal coherence, universal coherence, beauty, simplicity, unification, durability, fruitfulness, and applicability. These virtues are best classified into four classes: evidential, coherential, aesthetic, and diachronic. Each virtue class contains at least three virtues that sequentially follow a repeating pattern of progressive disclosure and expansion. Systematizing the theoretical virtues in this manner clarifies each virtue and suggests how they might have a coordinated and cumulative (...)
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  10. added 2017-02-22
    Is Simplicity an Adequate Criterion of Theory Choice.Julia Göhner, Marie I. Kaiser & Christian Suhm - 2008 - In N. Mößner, S. Schmoranzer & C. Weidemann (eds.), Richard Swinburne. Frankfurt/Main, GER: ontos. pp. 33-45.
    According to Richard Swinburne, the principle of simplicity is of great importance to theory choice scenarios and theoretical changes in the sciences. In particular, he holds that the theory choice criterion of fit with background evidence can be reduced to the criteria of simplicity and of yielding the data. We will, however, rebut this reduction thesis and show that three central aspects of theoretical change (confirming power of empirical data, reliability of experimental methods, and truth of new theoretical proposals) cannot (...)
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  11. added 2016-12-19
    THE PRINCIPLE OF ECONOMY AS AN EVALUATION CRITERION OF THEORIES. A CASE EXAMPLE: THE DYNAMIC UNIVERSE VS. PHYSICS AND COSMOLOGY BASED ON GENERAL RELATIVITY.Styrman Avril - 2014 - In Tuomo Suntola & Avril Styrman (eds.), SCIENTIFIC MODELS AND A COMPREHENSIVE PICTURE OF REALITY. La Nuova Critica. Volume 63-64. Publication year is officially set on 2014, but the issue was released on 2016. The general editor of the journal is Arturo Carsetti. Rome: La Nuova Critica. pp. 63-89.
    The principle of economy favours the theory which gives the most accurate predictions; of two equally accurate theories, economy favours the one which incorporates least metaphysics. The intention is to show that were metaphysical commitments of theories openly acknowledged and simplicity and other virtues generally accepted as judges in theory choice, the progress rate of science would likely become more optimal.
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  12. added 2016-12-12
    Why Pursue Unification? A Social-Epistemological Puzzle.Randall Harp & Kareem Khalifa - 2015 - Theoria: Revista de Teoría, Historia y Fundamentos de la Ciencia 30 (3):431-447.
    Many have argued that unified theories ought to be pursued wherever possible. We deny this on the basis of social-epistemological and decision-theoretic considerations. Consequently, those seeking a more ubiquitous role for unification must either attend to the scientific community’s social structure in greater detail than has been the case, and/or radically revise their conception of unification.
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  13. added 2016-05-11
    Can There Be a Bayesian Explanationism? On the Prospects of a Productive Partnership.Frank Cabrera - 2017 - Synthese 194 (4):1245–1272.
    In this paper, I consider the relationship between Inference to the Best Explanation and Bayesianism, both of which are well-known accounts of the nature of scientific inference. In Sect. 2, I give a brief overview of Bayesianism and IBE. In Sect. 3, I argue that IBE in its most prominently defended forms is difficult to reconcile with Bayesianism because not all of the items that feature on popular lists of “explanatory virtues”—by means of which IBE ranks competing explanations—have confirmational import. (...)
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  14. added 2016-03-29
    The Plausibility-Informativeness Theory.Franz Huber - 2008 - In Vincent Hendricks (ed.), New Waves in Epistemology. Palgrave-Macmillan.
    The problem adressed in this paper is “the main epistemic problem concerning science”, viz. “the explication of how we compare and evaluate theories [...] in the light of the available evidence” (van Fraassen 1983, 27).
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  15. added 2016-02-18
    Acting to Know. Adam_Morton - 2014 - In Abrol Fairweather (ed.), Virtue Epistemology Naturalized: Bridges between Virtue Epistemology and Philosophy of Science. Synthese Library, Vol. 366,. Springer. pp. 195-207.
    Experiments are actions, performed in order to gain information. Like other acts, there are virtues of performing them well. I discuss one virtue of experimentation, that of knowing how to trade its information-gaining potential against other goods.
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  16. added 2015-09-10
    “Practice-Oriented Controversies and Borrowed Epistemic Credibility in Current Evolutionary Biology: Phylogeography as a Case Study.Alfonso Arroyo-Santos, Mark E. Olson & Francisco Vergara-Silva - 2017 - Perspectives on Science 25 (3):310-334.
    Philosophical treatments of scientific controversies usually focus on theory, excluding important practice related aspects. However, scientists in conflict often appeal to extra-theoretical and extra-empirical elements. To understand better the role that non-empirical elements play in scientific controversies, we introduce the notion of borrowed epistemic credibility, illustrating our proposal with a recent controversy in a field of evolutionary biology known as phylogeography. Our analysis shows how scientific controversies that spring from disagreements about methodological issues potentially involve deeper debates regarding what constitutes (...)
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  17. added 2015-04-13
    Underdetermination, Methodological Practices, and Realism.Dana Tulodziecki - 2013 - Synthese 190 (17):3731-3750.
    In this paper, I argue (i) that there are certain methodological practices that are epistemically significant, and (ii) that we can test for the success of these practices empirically by examining case-studies in the history of science. Analysing a particular episode from the history of medicine, I explain how this can help us resolve specific cases of underdetermination. I conclude that, while the anti-realist is (more or less legitimately) able to construct underdetermination scenarios on a case-by-case basis, he will have (...)
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  18. added 2015-01-17
    Theory Choice and Social Choice: Kuhn Vindicated.Michael Morreau - 2015 - Mind 124 (493):239-262.
    In a recent article, Okasha challenges Kuhn’s claim that there is no ‘neutral’ algorithm for theory choice. He argues using Arrow’s ‘impossibility’ theorem that — except under certain favourable conditions concerning the measurability and comparability of theoretical values — there are no theory choice algorithms at all, neutral or otherwise. But Okasha’s argument does not apply to important theory choice problems, among them the case of Copernican and Ptolemaic astronomy that much occupied Kuhn. The reason is that Kuhn’s choice criteria (...)
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  19. added 2014-09-04
    Ideological Parsimony.Sam Cowling - 2013 - Synthese 190 (17):3889-3908.
    The theoretical virtue of parsimony values the minimizing of theoretical commitments, but theoretical commitments come in two kinds : ontological and ideological. While the ontological commitments of a theory are the entities it posits, a theory’s ideological commitments are the primitive concepts it employs. Here, I show how we can extend the distinction between quantitative and qualitative parsimony, commonly drawn regarding ontological commitments, to the domain of ideological commitments. I then argue that qualitative ideological parsimony is a theoretical virtue. My (...)
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  20. added 2014-09-03
    Epistemic Values and the Value of Learning.Wayne Myrvold - 2012 - Synthese 187 (2):547-568.
    In addition to purely practical values, cognitive values also figure into scientific deliberations. One way of introducing cognitive values is to consider the cognitive value that accrues to the act of accepting a hypothesis. Although such values may have a role to play, such a role does not exhaust the significance of cognitive values in scientific decision-making. This paper makes a plea for consideration of epistemic value —that is, value attaching to a state of belief—and defends the notion of cognitive (...)
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  21. added 2014-08-18
    Keynes’s Coefficient of Dependence Revisited.Peter Brössel - 2015 - Erkenntnis 80 (3):521-553.
    Probabilistic dependence and independence are among the key concepts of Bayesian epistemology. This paper focuses on the study of one specific quantitative notion of probabilistic dependence. More specifically, section 1 introduces Keynes’s coefficient of dependence and shows how it is related to pivotal aspects of scientific reasoning such as confirmation, coherence, the explanatory and unificatory power of theories, and the diversity of evidence. The intimate connection between Keynes’s coefficient of dependence and scientific reasoning raises the question of how Keynes’s coefficient (...)
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  22. added 2014-07-12
    Moderately Pluralistic Methodology.Pawel Kawalec - 2012 - Roczniki Filozoficzne 60 (4):233-247.
    The paper outlines and discusses the major tenets of moderately pluralistic methodology. The latter is juxtaposed to J. Życiński’s principle of natural interdisciplinarity. It instantiates scientific pluralism as a domain-specific agenda for research. The symbolic and causal understanding are integrated in this methodological conception by means of a specific kind of counterfactual reasoning, which is coined the delimiting counterfactual. It makes the moderately pluralistic methodology applicable to non-experimental research. -/- Streszczenie Tytuł: “Umiarkowanie pluralistyczna metodologia” -/- Artykuł prezentuje i omawia zasadnicze (...)
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  23. added 2014-03-26
    What’s Wrong With Infinite Regresses?Daniel Nolan - 2001 - Metaphilosophy 32 (5):523-538.
    It is almost universally believed that some infinite regresses are vicious, and also almost universally believed that some are benign. In this paper I argue that regresses can be vicious for several different sorts of reasons. Furthermore, I claim that some intuitively vicious regresses do not suffer from any of the particular aetiologies that guarantee viciousness to regresses, but are nevertheless so on the basis of considerations of parsimony. The difference between some apparently benign and some apparently vicious regresses, then, (...)
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  24. added 2013-12-16
    Theory Choice and Social Choice: Okasha Versus Sen.Jacob Stegenga - 2015 - Mind 124 (493):263-277.
    A platitude that took hold with Kuhn is that there can be several equally good ways of balancing theoretical virtues for theory choice. Okasha recently modelled theory choice using technical apparatus from the domain of social choice: famously, Arrow showed that no method of social choice can jointly satisfy four desiderata, and each of the desiderata in social choice has an analogue in theory choice. Okasha suggested that one can avoid the Arrow analogue for theory choice by employing a strategy (...)
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  25. added 2013-09-23
    Simplicity.Nicholas Maxwell - 2000 - PhilSci Archive.
    There are two problems of simplicity. What does it mean to characterize a scientific theory as simple, unified or explanatory in view of the fact that a simple theory can always be made complex (and vice versa) by a change of terminology? How is preference in science for simple theories to be justified? In this paper I put forward a proposal as to how the first problem is to be solved. The more nearly the totality of fundamental physical theory exemplifies (...)
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  26. added 2013-08-14
    Aim-Oriented Empiricism Since 1984.Nicholas Max - 2007 - In Nicholas Maxwell (ed.), From Knowledge to Wisdom: A Revolution for Science and the Humanities. Pentire Press.
    This chapter indicates a number of improvements and developments that have been made to aim-oriented empiricism since the publication of the first edition of "From Knowledge to Wisdom" in 1984. It also argues that aim-oriented empiricism enables us to solve three fundamental problems in the philosophy of science: the problems of induction, verisimilitude, and the problem of what it means to say of a physical theory that it is unified - a problem that baffled even Einstein. This chapter improves earlier (...)
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  27. added 2013-08-14
    Aim-Oriented Empiricism Since 1984.Nicholas Maxwell - 2007 - In From Knowledge to Wisdom: A Revolution for Science and the Humanities. Pentire Press.
    This chapter outlines improvements and developments made to aim-oriented empiricism since "From Knowledge to Wisdom" was first published in 1984. It argues that aim-oriented empiricism enables us to solve three fundamental problems in the philosophy of science: the problems of induction and verisimilitude, and the problem of what it means to say of a physical theory that it is unified.
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  28. added 2012-12-18
    Theory-Laden Experimentation.Samuel Schindler - 2013 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 44 (1):89-101.
    The thesis of theory-ladenness of observations, in its various guises, is widely considered as either ill-conceived or harmless to the rationality of science. The latter view rests partly on the work of the proponents of New Experimentalism who have argued, among other things, that experimental practices are efficient in guarding against any epistemological threat posed by theory-ladenness. In this paper I show that one can generate a thesis of theory-ladenness for experimental practices from an influential New Experimentalist account. The notion (...)
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  29. added 2012-10-16
    Hybrid Models, Climate Models, and Inference to the Best Explanation.Joel Katzav - 2013 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 64 (1):107-129.
    I examine the warrants we have in light of the empirical successes of a kind of model I call ‘ hybrid models ’, a kind that includes climate models among its members. I argue that these warrants ’ strengths depend on inferential virtues that are not just explanatory virtues, contrary to what would be the case if inference to the best explanation provided the warrants. I also argue that the warrants in question, unlike those IBE provides, guide inferences only to (...)
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  30. added 2012-02-22
    The Structure of Idealization in Biological Theories: The Case of the Wright-Fisher Model.Donato Rodriguez Xavier & Arroyo-Santos Alfonso - 2012 - Journal for General Philosophy of Science / Zeitschrift für Allgemeine Wissenschaftstheorie.
    In this paper we present a new framework of idealization in biology. We characterize idealizations as a network of counterfactual and hypothetical conditionals that can exhibit different “degrees of contingency”. We use this idea to say that, in departing more or less from the actual world, idealizations can serve numerous epistemic, methodological or heuristic purposes within scientific research. We defend that, in part, this structure explains why idealizations, despite being deformations of reality, are so successful in scientific practice. For illustrative (...)
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  31. added 2011-03-16
    Non-Empirical Requirements Scientific Theories Must Satisfy: Simplicity, Unification, Explanation, Beauty.Nicholas Maxwell - 2004 - PhilSci Archive.
    A scientific theory, in order to be accepted as a part of theoretical scientific knowledge, must satisfy both empirical and non-empirical requirements, the latter having to do with simplicity, unity, explanatory character, symmetry, beauty. No satisfactory, generally accepted account of such non-empirical requirements has so far been given. Here, a proposal is put forward which, it is claimed, makes a contribution towards solving the problem. This proposal concerns unity of physical theory. In order to satisfy the non-empirical requirement of unity, (...)
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  32. added 2011-01-25
    Idealization and the Structure of Theories in Biololgy.Alfonso Arroyo-Santos & Xavier De Donato-Rodríguez - manuscript
    In this paper we present a new framework of idealization in biology. We characterize idealizations as a network of counterfactual conditionals that can exhibit different degrees of contingency. We use the idea of possible worlds to say that, in departing more or less from the actual world, idealizations can serve numerous epistemic, methodological or heuristic purposes within scientific research. We defend that, in part, it is this structure what helps explain why idealizations, despite being deformations of reality, are so successful (...)
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  33. added 2010-12-14
    The Threshold of Wakefulness, the Experience of Control, and Theory Development.Timothy Lane & Chien-Ming Yang - 2010 - Consciousness and Cognition 19 (4):1095-1096.
    Reinterpretation of our data concerning sleep onset, motivated by the desire to pay close attention to “intra-individual regularities,” suggests that the experience of control might be a key factor in determining the subjective sense that sleep has begun. This loss of control seems akin to what Frith and others have described as “passivity experiences,” which also occur in schizophrenia. Although clearly sleep onset is not a schizophrenic episode, this similarity might help to explain other features of sleep onset. We further (...)
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