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  1. Hot-Blooded Gluttons: Dependency, Coherence, and Method in the Historical Sciences.Adrian Currie - 2017 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 68 (4):929-952.
    Our epistemic access to the past is infamously patchy: historical information degrades and disappears and bygone eras are often beyond the reach of repeatable experiments. However, historical scientists have been remarkably successful at uncovering and explaining the past. I argue that part of this success is explained by the exploitation of dependencies between historical events, entities, and processes. For instance, if sauropod dinosaurs were hot blooded, they must have been gluttons; the high-energy demands of endothermy restrict sauropod grazing strategies. Understanding (...)
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  • Philosophy of Science and the Curse of the Case Study.Adrian Currie - 2015 - In Christopher Daly (ed.), The Palgrave Handbook of Philosophical Methods. Palgrave Macmillan. pp. 553-572.
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  • Aggregating Evidence in Climate Science: Consilience, Robustness and the Wisdom of Multiple Models.A. Vezér Martin - unknown
    The goal of this dissertation is to contribute to the epistemology of science by addressing a set of related questions arising from current discussions in the philosophy and science of climate change: Given the imperfection of computer models, how do they provide information about large and complex target systems? What is the relationship between consilient reasoning and robust evidential support in the production of scientific knowledge? Does taking the mean of a set of model outputs provide epistemic advantages over using (...)
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  • Conjunctive Explanations and Inference to the Best Explanation.Jonah Schupbach - 2019 - Teorema: International Journal of Philosophy.
    Inference to the Best Explanation (IBE) advises reasoners to infer exactly one explanation. This uniqueness claim apparently binds us when it comes to “conjunctive explanations,” distinct explanations that are nonetheless explanatorily better together than apart. To confront this worry, explanationists qualify their statement of IBE, stipulating that this inference form only adjudicates between competing hypotheses. However, a closer look into the nature of competition reveals problems for this qualified account. Given the most common explication of competition, this qualification artificially and (...)
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  • Introduction: Scientific Knowledge of the Deep Past.Adrian Currie & Derek Turner - 2016 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 55:43-46.
  • Mass Extinctions as Major Transitions.Adrian Currie - 2019 - Biology and Philosophy 34 (2):29.
    Both paleobiology and investigations of ‘major evolutionary transitions’ are intimately concerned with the macroevolutionary shape of life. It is surprising, then, how little studies of major transitions are informed by paleontological perspectives and. I argue that this disconnect is partially justified because paleobiological investigation is typically ‘phenomena-led’, while investigations of major transitions are ‘theory-led’. The distinction turns on evidential relevance: in the former case, evidence is relevant in virtue of its relationship to some phenomena or hypotheses concerning those phenomena; in (...)
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  • Paleobiology and Philosophy.Adrian Currie - 2019 - Biology and Philosophy 34 (2):31.
    I offer four ways of distinguishing paleobiology from neontology, and from this develop a sketch of the philosophy of paleobiology. I then situate and describe the papers in the special issue Paleobiology and Philosophy, and reflect on the value and prospects of paleontology-focused philosophy.
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  • Simplicity, one-shot hypotheses and paleobiological explanation.Adrian Currie - 2019 - History and Philosophy of the Life Sciences 41 (1):10.
    Paleobiologists often provide simple narratives to explain complex, contingent episodes. These narratives are sometimes ‘one-shot hypotheses’ which are treated as being mutually exclusive with other possible explanations of the target episode, and are thus extended to accommodate as much about the episode as possible. I argue that a provisional preference for such hypotheses provides two kinds of productive scaffolding. First, they generate ‘hypothetical difference-makers’: one-shot hypotheses highlight and isolate empirically tractable dependencies between variables. Second, investigations of hypothetical difference-makers provision explanatory (...)
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  • Philosophical Issues in Recent Paleontology.Derek D. Turner - 2014 - Philosophy Compass 9 (7):494-505.
    The distinction between idiographic science, which aims to reconstruct sequences of particular events, and nomothetic science, which aims to discover laws and regularities, is crucial for understanding the paleobiological revolution of the 1970s and 1980s. Stephen Jay Gould at times seemed conflicted about whether to say (a) that idiographic science is fine as it is or (b) that paleontology would have more credibility if it were more nomothetic. Ironically, one of the lasting results of the paleobiological revolution was a new (...)
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  • Narratives, Mechanisms and Progress in Historical Science.Adrian Mitchell Currie - 2014 - Synthese 191 (6):1-21.
    Geologists, Paleontologists and other historical scientists are frequently concerned with narrative explanations targeting single cases. I show that two distinct explanatory strategies are employed in narratives, simple and complex. A simple narrative has minimal causal detail and is embedded in a regularity, whereas a complex narrative is more detailed and not embedded. The distinction is illustrated through two case studies: the ‘snowball earth’ explanation of Neoproterozoic glaciation and recent attempts to explain gigantism in Sauropods. This distinction is revelatory of historical (...)
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  • When Science Studies Religion: Six Philosophy Lessons for Science Classes.Massimo Pigliucci - 2013 - Science & Education 22 (1):49-67.
    It is an unfortunate fact of academic life that there is a sharp divide between science and philosophy, with scientists often being openly dismissive of philosophy, and philosophers being equally contemptuous of the naivete ́ of scientists when it comes to the philosophical underpinnings of their own discipline. In this paper I explore the possibility of reducing the distance between the two sides by introducing science students to some interesting philosophical aspects of research in evolutionary biology, using biological theories of (...)
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  • The Value of Epistemic Disagreement in Scientific Practice. The Case of Homo Floresiensis.Helen De Cruz & Johan De Smedt - 2013 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 44 (2):169-177.
    Epistemic peer disagreement raises interesting questions, both in epistemology and in philosophy of science. When is it reasonable to defer to the opinion of others, and when should we hold fast to our original beliefs? What can we learn from the fact that an epistemic peer disagrees with us? A question that has received relatively little attention in these debates is the value of epistemic peer disagreement—can it help us to further epistemic goals, and, if so, how? We investigate this (...)
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  • Model Organisms Are Not Models.Arnon Levy & Adrian Currie - 2015 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 66 (2):327-348.
    Many biological investigations are organized around a small group of species, often referred to as ‘model organisms’, such as the fruit fly Drosophila melanogaster. The terms ‘model’ and ‘modelling’ also occur in biology in association with mathematical and mechanistic theorizing, as in the Lotka–Volterra model of predator-prey dynamics. What is the relation between theoretical models and model organisms? Are these models in the same sense? We offer an account on which the two practices are shown to have different epistemic characters. (...)
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  • The Case for Natural History.Heather King & Marianne Achiam - 2017 - Science & Education 26 (1-2):125-139.
    Fundamental knowledge of natural history is lacking in many western societies, as demonstrated by its absence in school science curricula. And yet, to meet local and global challenges such as environmental degradation, biodiversity loss and climate change, we need to better understand the living and non-living parts of the natural world. Many have argued passionately for an increased understanding of natural history; others have developed successful pedagogical programmes for applying knowledge of natural history in environmental initiatives. In joining wider calls, (...)
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  • Historiographic Narratives and Empirical Evidence: A Case Study.Efraim Wallach - 2018 - Synthese:1-21.
    Several scholars observed that narratives about the human past are evaluated comparatively. Few attempts have been made, however, to explore how such evaluations are actually done. Here I look at a lengthy “contest” among several historiographic narratives, all constructed to make sense of another one—the biblical story of the conquest of Canaan. I conclude that the preference of such narratives can be construed as a rational choice. In particular, an easily comprehensible and emotionally evocative narrative will give way to a (...)
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  • Dimensions of Integration in Interdisciplinary Explanations of the Origin of Evolutionary Novelty.Alan C. Love & Gary L. Lugar - 2013 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C: Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences 44 (4):537-550.
    Many philosophers of biology have embraced a version of pluralism in response to the failure of theory reduction but overlook how concepts, methods, and explanatory resources are in fact coordinated, such as in interdisciplinary research where the aim is to integrate different strands into an articulated whole. This is observable for the origin of evolutionary novelty—a complex problem that requires a synthesis of intellectual resources from different fields to arrive at robust answers to multiple allied questions. It is an apt (...)
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  • Marsupial Lions and Methodological Omnivory: Function, Success and Reconstruction in Paleobiology.Adrian Currie - 2015 - Biology and Philosophy 30 (2):187-209.
    Historical scientists frequently face incomplete data, and lack direct experimental access to their targets. This has led some philosophers and scientists to be pessimistic about the epistemic potential of the historical sciences. And yet, historical science often produces plausible, sophisticated hypotheses. I explain this capacity to generate knowledge in the face of apparent evidential scarcity by examining recent work on Thylacoleo carnifex, the ‘marsupial lion’. Here, we see two important methodological features. First, historical scientists are methodological omnivores, that is, they (...)
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  • How (Not) to Bring Psychology and Biology Together.Mark Fedyk - 2015 - Philosophical Studies 172 (4):949-967.
    Evolutionary psychologists often try to “bring together” biology and psychology by making predictions about what specific psychological mechanisms exist from theories about what patterns of behaviour would have been adaptive in the EEA for humans. This paper shows that one of the deepest methodological generalities in evolutionary biology—that proximate explanations and ultimate explanations stand in a many-to-many relation—entails that this inferential strategy is unsound. Ultimate explanations almost never entail the truth of any particular proximate hypothesis. But of course it does (...)
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  • Palaeobiology of the South African Savanna and Lessons for Modern Ecologists.Fred Kruger - 2015 - Transactions of the Royal Society of South Africa 70 (2):117-125.
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