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  1. The plurality of assumptions about fossils and time.Caitlin Donahue Wylie - 2019 - History and Philosophy of the Life Sciences 41 (2):21.
    A research community must share assumptions, such as about accepted knowledge, appropriate research practices, and good evidence. However, community members also hold some divergent assumptions, which they—and we, as analysts of science—tend to overlook. Communities with different assumed values, knowledge, and goals must negotiate to achieve compromises that make their conflicting goals complementary. This negotiation guards against the extremes of each group’s desired outcomes, which, if achieved, would make other groups’ goals impossible. I argue that this diversity, as a form (...)
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  • Variety-of-Evidence Reasoning About the Distant Past: A Case Study in Paleoclimate Reconstruction.Martin Vezér - 2017 - European Journal for Philosophy of Science 7 (2):257-265.
    The epistemology of studies addressing questions about historical and prehistorical phenomena is a subject of increasing discussion among philosophers of science. A related field of inquiry that has yet to be connected to this topic is the epistemology of climate science. Branching these areas of research, I show how variety-of-evidence reasoning accounts for scientific inferences about the past by detailing a case study in paleoclimate reconstruction. This analysis aims to clarify the logic of historical inquiry in general and, by focusing (...)
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  • Geoengineering Tensions.Adrian Currie - forthcoming - Futures.
    There has been much discussion of the moral, legal and prudential implications of geoengineering, and of governance structures for both the research and deployment of such technologies. However, insufficient attention has been paid to how such measures might affect geoengineering in terms of the incentive structures which underwrite scientific progress. There is a tension between the features that make science productive, and the need to govern geoengineering research, which has thus far gone underappreciated. I emphasize how geoengineering research requires governance (...)
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  • Method Pluralism, Method Mismatch, & Method Bias.Adrian Currie & Shahar Avin - 2019 - Philosophers' Imprint 19.
    Pluralism about scientific method is more-or-less accepted, but the consequences have yet to be drawn out. Scientists adopt different methods in response to different epistemic situations: depending on the system they are interested in, the resources at their disposal, and so forth. If it is right that different methods are appropriate in different situations, then mismatches between methods and situations are possible. This is most likely to occur due to method bias: when we prefer a particular kind of method, despite (...)
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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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  • Underdetermination and Evidence in the Developmental Plasticity Debate.Karen Kovaka - 2019 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 70 (1):127-152.
    I identify a controversial hypothesis in evolutionary biology called the plasticity-first hypothesis. I argue that the plasticity-first hypothesis is underdetermined and that the most popular means of studying the plasticity-first hypothesis are insufficient to confirm or disconfirm it. I offer a strategy for overcoming this problem. Researchers need to develop a richer middle range theory of plasticity-first evolution that allows them to identify distinctive empirical traces of the hypothesis. They can then use those traces to discriminate between rival explanations of (...)
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