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  1. Fictionalism, Semantics, and Ontology.Gordon Michael Purves - 2018 - Perspectives on Science 26 (1):52-75.
    In a previous article, I argued that some recent philosophical work on the use of fictions in science is, while illuminating about some aspects of current scientific practice, unduly limited to cases of well-established fictions. In other words, this earlier work contended, a philosophical account of scientific fictions can do more than merely describe scientific practices, but can aid in the resolution of disputes about the proper interpretation of scientific theories and the epistemic status of some scientific models. In the (...)
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  • Empirical Agreement in Model Validation.Julie Jebeile & Anouk Barberousse - 2016 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 56:168-174.
    Empirical agreement is often used as an important criterion when assessing the validity of scientific models. However, it is by no means a sufficient criterion as a model can be so adjusted as to fit available data even though it is based on hypotheses whose plausibility is known to be questionable. Our aim in this paper is to investigate into the uses of empirical agreement within the process of model validation.
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  • The Kac Ring or the Art of Making Idealisations.Julie Jebeile - 2020 - Foundations of Physics 50 (10):1152-1170.
    In 1959, mathematician Mark Kac introduced a model, called the Kac ring, in order to elucidate the classical solution of Boltzmann to the problem of macroscopic irreversibility. However, the model is far from being a realistic representation of something. How can it be of any help here? In philosophy of science, it is often argued that models can provide explanations of the phenomenon they are said to approximate, in virtue of the truth they contain, and in spite of the idealisations (...)
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  • Laws and Models in a Theory of Idealization.Chuang Liu - 2004 - Synthese 138 (3):363 - 385.
    I first give a brief summary of a critique of the traditional theories of approximation and idealization; and after identifying one of the major roles of idealization as detaching component processes or systems from their joints, a detailed analysis is given of idealized laws – which are discoverable and/or applicable – in such processes and systems (i.e., idealized model systems). Then, I argue that dispositional properties should be regarded as admissible properties for laws and that such an inclusion supplies the (...)
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  • Bayesian Confirmation of Theories That Incorporate Idealizations.Michael J. Shaffer - 2001 - Philosophy of Science 68 (1):36-52.
    Following Nancy Cartwright and others, I suggest that most (if not all) theories incorporate, or depend on, one or more idealizing assumptions. I then argue that such theories ought to be regimented as counterfactuals, the antecedents of which are simplifying assumptions. If this account of the logic form of theories is granted, then a serious problem arises for Bayesians concerning the prior probabilities of theories that have counterfactual form. If no such probabilities can be assigned, the the posterior probabilities will (...)
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  • Confirming Idealized Theories and Scientific Realism.Chuang Liu - unknown
    Two types of idealization in theory construction are distinguished, and the distinction is used to give a critique of Ron Laymon's account of confirming idealized theories and his argument for scientific realism.
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  • Idealization, Scientific Realism, and the Improvement Model of Confirmation.Billy Wheeler - 2020 - Science and Philosophy 8 (2):7-15.
    That many of our most successful scientific theories involve one or more idealizations poses a challenge to traditional models of theory confirmation. One popular response amongst scientific realists is the “improvement model of confirmation”: if tightening up one or more of the idealizations leads to greater predictive accuracy, then this supports the belief that the theory’s inaccuracy is a result of its idealizations and not because it is wrong. In this article I argue that the improvement model is deeply flawed (...)
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  • Simple Theories of a Messy World: Truth and Explanatory Power in Nonlinear Dynamics.Alexander Rueger & W. David Sharp - 1996 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 47 (1):93-112.
    Philosophers like Duhem and Cartwright have argued that there is a tension between laws' abilities to explain and to represent. Abstract laws exemplify the first quality, phenomenological laws the second. This view has both metaphysical and methodological aspects: the world is too complex to be represented by simple theories; supplementing simple theories to make them represent reality blocks their confirmation. We argue that both aspects are incompatible with recent developments in nonlinear dynamics. Confirmation procedures and modelling strategies in nonlinear dynamics (...)
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  • Finding Truth in Fictions: Identifying Non-Fictions in Imaginary Cracks.Gordon Michael Purves - 2013 - Synthese 190 (2):235-251.
    I critically examine some recent work on the philosophy of scientific fictions, focusing on the work of Winsberg. By considering two case studies in fracture mechanics, the strip yield model and the imaginary crack method, I argue that his reliance upon the social norms associated with an element of a model forces him to remain silent whenever those norms fail to clearly match the characteristic of fictions or non-fictions. In its place, I propose a normative epistemology of fictions which clarifies (...)
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  • Approximations, Idealizations and ‘Experiments’ at the Physics–Biology Interface.Darrell Patrick Rowbottom - 2008 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C: Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences 42 (2):145-154.
    This paper, which is based on recent empirical research at the University of Leeds, the University of Edinburgh, and the University of Bristol, presents two difficulties which arise when condensed matter physicists interact with molecular biologists: the former use models which appear to be too coarse-grained, approximate and/or idealized to serve a useful scientific purpose to the latter; and the latter have a rather narrower view of what counts as an experiment, particularly when it comes to computer simulations, than the (...)
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  • Mental Causation for Dualists.Paul M. Pietroski - 1994 - Mind and Language 9 (3):336-366.
    The philosophical problem of mental causation concerns a clash between commonsense and scientific views about the causation of human behaviour. On the one hand, commonsense suggests that our actions are caused by our mental states—our thoughts, intentions, beliefs and so on. On the other hand, neuroscience assumes that all bodily movements are caused by neurochemical events. It is implausible to suppose that our actions are causally overdetermined in the same way that the ringing of a bell may be overdetermined by (...)
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  • Approximations, Idealizations, and Models in Statistical Mechanics.Chuang Liu - 2004 - Erkenntnis 60 (2):235-263.
    In this paper, a criticism of the traditional theories of approximation and idealization is given as a summary of previous works. After identifying the real purpose and measure of idealization in the practice of science, it is argued that the best way to characterize idealization is not to formulate a logical model – something analogous to Hempel's D-N model for explanation – but to study its different guises in the praxis of science. A case study of it is then made (...)
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  • Humeanism and Exceptions in the Fundamental Laws of Physics.Billy Wheeler - 2017 - Principia: An International Journal of Epistemology 21 (3):317-337.
    It has been argued that the fundamental laws of physics do not face a ‘problem of provisos’ equivalent to that found in other scientific disciplines (Earman, Roberts and Smith 2002) and there is only the appearance of exceptions to physical laws if they are confused with differential equations of evolution type (Smith 2002). In this paper I argue that even if this is true, fundamental laws in physics still pose a major challenge to standard Humean approaches to lawhood, as they (...)
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  • Russellianism and Prediction.David Braun - 2001 - Philosophical Studies 105 (1):59 - 105.
    Russellianism (also called `neo-Russellianism, `Millianism, and `thenaive theory') entails that substitution of co-referring names inattitude ascriptions preserves truth value and proposition expressed.Thus, on this view, if Lucy wants Twain to autograph her book, thenshe also wants Clemens to autograph her book, even if she says ``I donot want Clemens to autograph my book''. Some philosophers (includingMichael Devitt and Mark Richard) claim that attitude ascriptions canbe used to predict behavior, but argue that if Russellianism weretrue, then this would not be so. (...)
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  • Thinking Without Global Generalisations: A Cognitive Defence of Moral Particularism.Nancy Salay - 2008 - Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy 51 (4):390 – 411.
    In their article entitled “Ethical Particularism and Patterns”, Frank Jackson, Philip Pettit, and Michael Smith (JPS henceforth) argue that moral particularism is a cognitively implausible theory since it appears to entail the view that one might have a skill that is not grounded in an ability to recognise and represent natural patterns in the world. This charge echoes the complaints of computational theorists of cognition against their embodied cognition counterparts, namely that, theories of cognition that eschew talk of mental representation (...)
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  • Metaphysical Presuppositions of Scientific Practice: ‘Atomism’ Vs. ‘Wholism’.Alexander Rueger & W. David Sharp - 1998 - Canadian Journal of Philosophy 28 (1):1-20.
    A certain order or stability of nature has often been seen as a necessary presupposition of many of our scientific practices, in particular of our use of information gained in one kind of circumstance to explain or predict what happens in quite different situations. John Maynard Keynes and, more recently, Nancy Cartwright have argued that these practices commit us to the existence of stable ‘atoms’ or ‘natures’ or ‘tendencies.’ The phenomena we observe in nature are, on this view, the result (...)
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  • Ceteris Paribus Conditionals and Comparative Normalcy.Martin Smith - 2007 - Journal of Philosophical Logic 36 (1):97-121.
    Our understanding of subjunctive conditionals has been greatly enhanced through the use of possible world semantics and, more precisely, by the idea that they involve variably strict quantification over possible worlds. I propose to extend this treatment to ceteris paribus conditionals – that is, conditionals that incorporate a ceteris paribus or ‘other things being equal’ clause. Although such conditionals are commonly invoked in scientific theorising, they traditionally arouse suspicion and apprehensiveness amongst philosophers. By treating ceteris paribus conditionals as a species (...)
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  • Idealizations and Concretizations in Laws and Explanations in Physics.Igor Hanzel - 2008 - Journal for General Philosophy of Science / Zeitschrift für Allgemeine Wissenschaftstheorie 39 (2):273-301.
    The paper tries to provide an alternative to Hempel’s approach to scientific laws and scientific explanation as given in his D-N model. It starts with a brief exposition of the main characteristics of Hempel’s approach to deductive explanations based on universal scientific laws and analyzes the problems and paradoxes inherent in this approach. By way of solution, it analyzes the scientific laws and explanations in classical mechanics and then reconstructs the corresponding models of explanation, as well as the types of (...)
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  • Theories, Models And Constraints.Friedel Weinert - 1999 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 30 (2):303-333.