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  1.  31
    Quantum Mechanics: Keeping It Real?Craig Callender - 2023 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 74 (4):837-851.
    This article is an introduction to and advertisement of Erwin Schrödinger’s little-known real-valued wave equation, the first published time dependent Schrödinger equation. I argue that this equation is not merely a historical curiosity. Not only does it show that quantum mechanics need not be viewed as essentially complex-valued, but the real formalism also provides a deep insight into the puzzling nature of time reversal in a quantum world. It is hoped that this observation will stimulate the discovery of other areas (...)
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  2. Putting History Back into Mechanisms.Justin Garson - 2023 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 74 (4):921-940.
    Mechanisms, in the prominent biological sense of the term, are historical entities. That is, whether or not something is a mechanism for something depends on its history. Put differently, while your spontaneously-generated molecule-for-molecule double has a heart, and its heart pumps blood around its body, its heart does not have a mechanism for pumping, since it does not have the right history. My argument for this claim is that mechanisms have proper functions; proper functions are historical entities; so, mechanisms are (...)
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  3.  59
    On the Proper Epistemology of the Mental for Psychiatry: What’s the Point of Understanding and Explaining?Joe Gough - 2023 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 74 (4):975-998.
    The distinction between explanation and understanding was foundational to Jaspers’ ‘phenomenological’ approach to psychiatry. It makes sense that those now calling for a phenomenological approach to psychiatry would look to Jaspers for inspiration, and that in doing so, they would take up this distinction. However, I argue that it is and was a mistake to use the distinction in work on psychiatry: adhering to the distinction now would undermine, rather than support, the goals of those advocating a phenomenological approach to (...)
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  4.  61
    Un-debunking Ordinary Objects with the Help of Predictive Processing.Paweł Gładziejewski - 2023 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 74 (4):1047-1068.
    Debunking arguments aim to undermine common sense beliefs by showing that they are not explanatorily or causally linked to the entities they are purportedly about. Rarely are facts about the aetiology of common sense beliefs invoked for the opposite aim, that is, to support the reality of entities that furnish our manifest image of the world. Here I undertake this sort of un-debunking project. My focus is on the metaphysics of ordinary physical objects. I use the view of perception as (...)
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  5.  35
    Proofs, Reliable Processes, and Justification in Mathematics.Yacin Hamami - 2023 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 74 (4):1027-1045.
    Although there exist today a variety of non-deductive reliable processes able to determine the truth of certain mathematical propositions, proof remains the only form of justification accepted in mathematical practice. Some philosophers and mathematicians have contested this commonly accepted epistemic superiority of proof on the ground that mathematicians are fallible: when the deductive method is carried out by a fallible agent, then it comes with its own level of reliability, and so might happen to be equally or even less reliable (...)
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  6. Epistemic Dependence and Understanding: Reformulating through Symmetry.Josh Hunt - 2023 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 74 (4):941-974.
    Science frequently gives us multiple, compatible ways of solving the same problem or formulating the same theory. These compatible formulations change our understanding of the world, despite providing the same explanations. According to what I call "conceptualism," reformulations change our understanding by clarifying the epistemic structure of theories. I illustrate conceptualism by analyzing a typical example of symmetry-based reformulation in chemical physics. This case study poses a problem for "explanationism," the rival thesis that differences in understanding require ontic explanatory differences. (...)
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  7. The Coalescence Approach to Inequivalent Representation: Pre-QM ∞ Parallels.Caspar Jacobs - 2023 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 74 (4):1069-1090.
    Ruetsche ([2011]) argues that the occurrence of unitarily inequivalent representations in quantum theories with infinitely many degrees of freedom poses a novel interpretational problem. According to Ruetsche, such theories compel us to reject the so-called ideal of pristine interpretation; she puts forward the ‘coalescence approach’ as an alternative. In this paper I offer a novel defence of the coalescence approach. The defence rests on the claim that the ideal of pristine interpretation already fails before one considers the peculiarities of QM∞: (...)
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  8.  60
    Escaping the Fundamental Dichotomy of Scientific Realism.Shahin Kaveh - 2023 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 74 (4):999-1025.
    The central motivation behind the scientific realism debate is explaining the impressive success of scientific theories. The debate has been dominated by two rival types of explanations: the first relies on some sort of static, referentially transparent relationship between the theory and the unobservable world, such as truthlikeness, representation, or structural similarity; the second relies on no robust relationship between the theory and unobservable reality at all, and instead draws on predictive similarity and the stringent methodology of science to explain (...)
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  9.  32
    The Unreasonable Effectiveness of Physics in Mathematics.Daniele Molinini - 2023 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 74 (4):853-874.
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  10. Law-Abiding Causal Decision Theory.Timothy Luke Williamson & Alexander Sandgren - 2023 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 74 (4):899-920.
    In this paper we discuss how Causal Decision Theory should be modified to handle a class of problematic cases involving deterministic laws. Causal Decision Theory, as it stands, is problematically biased against your endorsing deterministic propositions (for example it tells you to deny Newtonian physics, regardless of how confident you are of its truth). Our response is that this is not a problem for Causal Decision Theory per se, but arises because of the standard method for assessing the truth of (...)
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  11. What does the world look like according to superdeterminism.Augustin Baas & Baptiste Le Bihan - 2023 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 74 (3):555-572.
    The violation of Bell inequalities seems to establish an important fact about the world: that it is non-local. However, this result relies on the assumption of the statistical independence of the measurement settings with respect to potential past events that might have determined them. Superdeterminism refers to the view that a local, and determinist, account of Bell inequalities violations is possible, by rejecting this assumption of statistical independence. We examine and clarify various problems with superdeterminism, looking in particular at its (...)
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  12. Grasping in Understanding.Miloud Belkoniene - 2023 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 74 (3):603-617.
    There is, among philosophers involved in the debate concerning the nature and epistemology of understanding, a general recognition that this state has a grasping component that accounts for some of its distinctive features. This paper defends the view that this component of understanding consists of a knowledge of how to use a particular explanation to account for a given phenomenon. The way in which a subject acquires this knowledge is examined and the result of this examination is shown to highlight (...)
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  13.  67
    Monothematic Delusions and the Limits of Rationality.Adam Bradley & Quinn Hiroshi Gibson - 2023 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 74 (3):811-835.
    Monothematic delusions are delusions whose contents pertain to a single subject matter. Examples include Capgras delusion, the delusion that a loved one has been replaced by an impostor, and Cotard delusion, the delusion that one is dead or does not exist. Two-factor accounts of such delusions hold that they are the result of both an experiential deficit, for instance flattened affect, coupled with an aberrant cognitive response to that deficit. In this paper we develop a new expressivist two-factor account of (...)
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  14. Black Boxes or Unflattering Mirrors? Comparative Bias in the Science of Machine Behaviour.Cameron Buckner - 2023 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 74 (3):681-712.
    The last 5 years have seen a series of remarkable achievements in deep-neural-network-based artificial intelligence research, and some modellers have argued that their performance compares favourably to human cognition. Critics, however, have argued that processing in deep neural networks is unlike human cognition for four reasons: they are (i) data-hungry, (ii) brittle, and (iii) inscrutable black boxes that merely (iv) reward-hack rather than learn real solutions to problems. This article rebuts these criticisms by exposing comparative bias within them, in the (...)
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  15. On Valence: Imperative or Representation of Value?Peter Carruthers - 2023 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 74 (3):533-553.
    Affective valence is increasingly thought to be the common currency underlying all forms of intuitive, non-discursive decision making, in both humans and other animals. And it is thought to constitute the good or bad (pleasant or unpleasant) aspects of all desires, emotions, and moods. This article contrasts two theories of valence. According to one, valence is an experience-directed imperative (‘more of this!’ or ‘less of this!’); according to the other, valence is a representation of adaptive value or disvalue. The latter (...)
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  16.  36
    Toward a Theory of Homology: Development and the De-Coupling of Morphological and Molecular Evolution.James DiFrisco - 2023 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 74 (3):771-810.
    Advances in developmental genetics and evo-devo in the last several decades have enabled the growth of novel developmental approaches to the classic theme of homology. These approaches depart from the more standard phylogenetic view by contending that homology between morphological characters depends on developmental-genetic individuation and explanation. This article provides a systematic re-examination of the relationship between developmental and phylogenetic homology in light of current evidence from developmental and evolutionary genetics and genomics. I present a qualitative model of the processes (...)
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  17.  32
    Truthlikeness for Quantitative Deterministic Laws.Alfonso García-Lapeña - 2023 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 74 (3):649-679.
    Truthlikeness is a property of a theory or a proposition that represents its closeness to the truth. According to Niiniluoto, truthlikeness for quantitative deterministic laws can be defined by the Minkowski metric. I present some counterexamples to the definition and argue that it fails because it considers truthlikeness for quantitative deterministic laws to be just a function of accuracy, but an accurate law can be wrong about the actual ‘structure’ or ‘behaviour’ of the system it intends to describe. I develop (...)
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  18.  90
    Quantifying proportionality and the limits of higher-level causation and explanation.Alexander Gebharter & Markus Ilkka Eronen - 2023 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 74 (3):573-601.
    Supporters of the autonomy of higher-level causation (or explanation) often appeal to proportionality, arguing that higher-level causes are more proportional than their lower-level realizers. Recently, measures based on information theory and causal modeling have been proposed that allow one to shed new light on proportionality and the related notion of specificity. In this paper we apply ideas from this literature to the issue of higher vs. lower-level causation (and explanation). Surprisingly, proportionality turns out to be irrelevant for the question of (...)
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  19. Analogue Computation and Representation.Corey J. Maley - 2023 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 74 (3):739-769.
    Relative to digital computation, analogue computation has been neglected in the philosophical literature. To the extent that attention has been paid to analogue computation, it has been misunderstood. The received view—that analogue computation has to do essentially with continuity—is simply wrong, as shown by careful attention to historical examples of discontinuous, discrete analogue computers. Instead of the received view, I develop an account of analogue computation in terms of a particular type of analogue representation that allows for discontinuity. This account (...)
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  20. Neural Oscillations as Representations.Manolo Martínez & Marc Artiga - 2023 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 74 (3):619-648.
    We explore the contribution made by oscillatory, synchronous neural activity to representation in the brain. We closely examine six prominent examples of brain function in which neural oscillations play a central role, and identify two levels of involvement that these oscillations take in the emergence of representations: enabling (when oscillations help to establish a communication channel between sender and receiver, or are causally involved in triggering a representation) and properly representational (when oscillations are a constitutive part of the representation). We (...)
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  21. Science Communication and the Problematic Impact of Descriptive Norms.Uwe Peters - 2023 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 74 (3):713-738.
    When scientists or science reporters communicate research results to the public, this often involves ethical and epistemic risks. One such risk arises when scientific claims cause cognitive or behavioural changes in the audience that contribute to the self-fulfilment of these claims. I argue that the ethical and epistemic problems that such self-fulfilment effects may pose are much broader and more common than hitherto appreciated. Moreover, these problems are often due to a specific psychological phenomenon that has been neglected in the (...)
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  22. Σ01 soundness isn’t enough: Number theoretic indeterminacy’s unsavory physical commitments.Sharon Berry - 2023 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 74 (2):469-484.
    It’s sometimes suggested that we can (in a sense) settle the truth-value of some statements in the language of number theory by stipulation, adopting either φ or ¬φ as an additional axiom. For example, in Clarke-Doane (2020b) and a series of recent APA presentations, Clarke-Doane suggests that any Σ01 sound expansion of our current arithmetical practice would express a truth. In this paper, I’ll argue that (given a certain popular assumption about the model-theoretic representability of languages like ours) we can’t (...)
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  23.  24
    The PC Algorithm and the Inference to Constitution.Lorenzo Casini & Michael Baumgartner - 2023 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 74 (2):405-429.
    Gebharter has proposed using one of the best known Bayesian network causal discovery algorithms, PC, to identify the constitutive dependencies underwriting mechanistic explanations. His proposal assumes that mechanistic constitution behaves like deterministic direct causation, such that PC is directly applicable to mixed variable sets featuring both causal and constitutive dependencies. Gebharter claims that such mixed sets, under certain restrictions, comply with PC’s background assumptions. The aim of this article is to show that Gebharter’s proposal incurs severe problems, ultimately rooted in (...)
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  24.  44
    Epistemic Engagement, Aesthetic Value, and Scientific Practice.Adrian Currie - 2023 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 74 (2):313-334.
    I develop an account of the relationship between aesthetics and knowledge, focusing on scientific practice. Cognitivists infer from ‘partial sensitivity’—aesthetic appreciation partly depends on doxastic states—to ‘factivity’, the idea that the truth or otherwise of those beliefs makes a difference to aesthetic appreciation. Rejecting factivity, I develop a notion of ‘epistemic engagement’: partaking genuinely in a knowledge-directed process of coming to epistemic judgements, and suggest that this better accommodates the relationship between the aesthetic and the epistemic. Scientific training (and other (...)
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  25.  31
    Evidence in Default: Rejecting Default Models of Animal Minds.Mike Dacey - 2023 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 74 (2):291-312.
    Comparative psychology experiments typically test a null statistical hypothesis against an alternative. Coupled with Morgan’s canon, this is often taken to imply that the model positing the simpler psychological capacity should be treated as a ‘default’ that must be ruled out before any other model can be accepted. It has been posited that this practice neglects evidence. I argue that the problem is deeper, including the way it structures the evaluation of evidence that is considered; it frames model choice around (...)
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  26.  84
    Explaining the Success of Induction.Igor Douven - 2023 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 74 (2):381-404.
    It is undeniable that inductive reasoning has brought us much good. At least since Hume, however, philosophers have wondered how to justify our reliance on induction. In important recent work, Schurz points out that philosophers have been wrongly assuming that justifying induction is tantamount to showing induction to be reliable. According to him, to justify our reliance on induction, it is enough to show that induction is optimal. His optimality approach consists of two steps: an analytic argument for meta-induction (that (...)
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  27.  29
    A Note on Verisimilitude and Accuracy.Randall G. McCutcheon - 2023 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 74 (2):431-434.
    Schoenfield has constructed examples of proper inaccuracy measures that value verisimilitude (in a certain sense) in spaces of worlds equipped with a particular variety of verisimilitude metric. However, Schoenfield left it as an open question whether ‘for every space of worlds, there is a proper inaccuracy measure that values verisimilitude’. Here I answer this question in the affirmative.
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  28.  53
    Correspondence Theory of Semantic Information.Marcin Miłkowski - 2023 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 74 (2):485-510.
    A novel account of semantic information is proposed. The gist is that structural correspondence, analysed in terms of similarity, underlies an important kind of semantic information. In contrast to extant accounts of semantic information, it does not rely on correlation, covariation, causation, natural laws, or logical inference. Instead, it relies on structural similarity, defined in terms of correspondence between classifications of tokens into types. This account elucidates many existing uses of the notion of information, for example, in the context of (...)
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  29.  45
    Micro-foundations and Methodology: A Complexity-Based Reconceptualization of the Debate.Nadia Ruiz & Armin W. Schulz - 2023 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 74 (2):359-379.
    In a number of very influential publications, Epstein and Hoover (among other authors) have recently argued that a thoroughly micro-foundationalist approach towards economics is unconvincing for metaphysical reasons. However, as we show in this article, this metaphysical/social ontological approach to the debate fails to resolve the status of micro-foundations in the practice of economic modelling. To overcome this, we argue that endogenizing a model—that is, providing micro-foundations for it—correlates with making that model more complex. Specifically, we show that models with (...)
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  30.  18
    Classical Particle Indistinguishability, Precisely.James Wills - 2023 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 74 (2):335-358.
    I present a new perspective on the meaning of indistinguishability of classical particles. This leads to a solution to the problem in statistical mechanics of justifying the inclusion of a factor N! in a probability distribution over the phase space of N indistinguishable classical particles.
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  31.  33
    Self-Assembling Games and the Evolution of Salience.Jeffrey A. Barrett - 2023 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 74 (1):75-89.
    This article considers how a generalized signalling game may self-assemble as the saliences of the agents evolve by reinforcement on those sources of information that in fact lead to successful action. On the present account, generalized signalling games self-assemble even as the agents co-evolve meaningful representations and successful dispositions for using those representations. We will see how reinforcement on successful information sources also provides a mechanism whereby simpler games might compose to form more complex games. Along the way, I consider (...)
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  32. The Value of Biased Information.Nilanjan Das - 2023 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 74 (1):25-55.
    In this article, I cast doubt on an apparent truism, namely, that if evidence is available for gathering and use at a negligible cost, then it’s always instrumentally rational for us to gather that evidence and use it for making decisions. Call this ‘value of information’ (VOI). I show that VOI conflicts with two other plausible theses. The first is the view that an agent’s evidence can entail non-trivial propositions about the external world. The second is the view that epistemic (...)
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  33. Evidential Probabilities and Credences.Anna-Maria Asunta Eder - 2023 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 74 (1).
    Enjoying great popularity in decision theory, epistemology, and philosophy of science, Bayesianism as understood here is fundamentally concerned with epistemically ideal rationality. It assumes a tight connection between evidential probability and ideally rational credence, and usually interprets evidential probability in terms of such credence. Timothy Williamson challenges Bayesianism by arguing that evidential probabilities cannot be adequately interpreted as the credences of an ideal agent. From this and his assumption that evidential probabilities cannot be interpreted as the actual credences of human (...)
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  34.  21
    Boolean Difference-Making: A Modern Regularity Theory of Causation.Christoph Falk & Michael Baumgartner - 2023 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 74 (1):171-197.
    A regularity theory of causation analyses type-level causation in terms of Boolean difference-making. The essential ingredient that helps this theoretical framework overcome the problems of Hume’s and Mill’s classical accounts is a principle of non-redundancy: only Boolean dependency structures from which no elements can be eliminated track causation. The first part of this article argues that the recent regularity-theoretic literature has not consistently implemented this principle, for it disregarded an important type of redundancies: structural redundancies. Moreover, it is shown that (...)
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  35.  39
    The Kalām Cosmological Argument Meets the Mentaculus.Dan Linford - 2023 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 74 (1):91-115.
    According to the orthodox interpretation of bounce cosmologies, the universe was born from an entropy-reducing phase in a previous universe. To defend the thesis that the whole of physical reality was caused to exist a finite time ago, Craig and Sinclair have argued the low-entropy interface between universes should instead be understood as the beginning of two universes. Here, I present Craig and Sinclair with a dilemma. On the one hand, if the direction of time is reducible, as friends of (...)
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  36.  33
    Varieties of Error and Varieties of Evidence in Scientific Inference.Barbara Osimani & Jürgen Landes - 2023 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 74 (1):117-170.
    According to the variety of evidence thesis items of evidence from independent lines of investigation are more confirmatory, ceteris paribus, than, for example, replications of analogous studies. This thesis is known to fail (Bovens and Hartmann; Claveau). However, the results obtained by Bovens and Hartmann only concern instruments whose evidence is either fully random or perfectly reliable; instead, for Claveau, unreliability is modelled as deterministic bias. In both cases, the unreliable instrument delivers totally irrelevant information. We present a model that (...)
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  37.  26
    Conventionality and Causality in Lewis-Type Evolutionary Prediction Games.Gordon Michael Purves - 2023 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 74 (1):199-219.
    Barrett and others have used Lewis-style evolutionary games to argue that we ought not to trust our scientific languages to inform us about ontology. More specifically, Barrett has shown that in some simple evolutionary contexts the best descriptive languages need not cut nature at its joints, that they may guide action as successfully as possible while simultaneously being deeply conventional. The present article expands upon Barrett’s argument, exploring the space for conventionalism in more metaphysically robust causal evolutionary models. By using (...)
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  38.  9
    Essentially Ergodic Behaviour.Paula Reichert - 2023 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 74 (1):57-73.
    I prove a theorem on the precise connection of the time and phase-space average of the Boltzmann equilibrium showing that the behaviour of a dynamical system with a stationary measure and a dominant equilibrium state is qualitatively ergodic. Explicitly, I show that given a dynamical system with a stationary measure and a region of overwhelming phase-space measure, almost all trajectories spend almost all of their time in that region. Conversely, given that almost all trajectories spend almost all of their time (...)
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  39. Anti-reductionist Interventionism.Reuben Stern & Benjamin Eva - 2023 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 74 (1):241-267.
    Kim’s causal exclusion argument purports to demonstrate that the non-reductive physicalist must treat mental properties (and macro-level properties in general) as causally inert. A number of authors have attempted to resist Kim’s conclusion by utilizing the conceptual resources of Woodward’s interventionist conception of causation. The viability of these responses has been challenged by Gebharter, who argues that the causal exclusion argument is vindicated by the theory of causal Bayesian networks (CBNs). Since the interventionist conception of causation relies crucially on CBNs (...)
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  40. Explanatory Distance.Elanor Taylor - 2023 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 74 (1):221-239.
    When a train operator tells us that our train will be late ‘because of delays’, their attempt at explanation fails because there is insufficient distance between the explanans and the explanandum. In this paper, I motivate and defend an account of ‘explanatory distance’, based on the idea that explanations give information about dependence. I show that this account offers useful resources for addressing problem cases, including recent debates about grounding explanation, and the historical case of Molière’s dormitive virtue.
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  41.  96
    Comparing Mathematical Explanations.Isaac Wilhelm - 2023 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 74 (1):269-290.
    Philosophers have developed several detailed accounts of what makes some mathematical proofs explanatory. Significantly less attention has been paid, however, to what makes some proofs more explanatory than other proofs. That is problematic, since the reasons for thinking that some proofs explain are also reasons for thinking that some proofs are more explanatory than others. So in this paper, I develop an account of comparative explanation in mathematics. I propose a theory of the `at least as explanatory as' relation among (...)
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  42.  23
    Muhammad Ali Khalidi's Cognitive Ontology. [REVIEW]Carrie Figdor - 2023 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science.
    A review of Muhammad Ali Khalidi's Cognitive Ontology: Taxonomic Practices in the Mind-Brain Sciences.
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