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Bert Leuridan
University of Antwerp
  1. Three Problems for the Mutual Manipulability Account of Constitutive Relevance in Mechanisms.Bert Leuridan - 2012 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 63 (2):399-427.
    In this article, I present two conceptual problems for Craver's mutual manipulability account of constitutive relevance in mechanisms. First, constitutive relevance threatens to imply causal relevance despite Craver (and Bechtel)'s claim that they are strictly distinct. Second, if (as is intuitively appealing) parthood is defined in terms of spatio-temporal inclusion, then the mutual manipulability account is prone to counterexamples, as I show by a case of endosymbiosis. I also present a methodological problem (a case of experimental underdetermination) and formulate two (...)
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  2. Can Mechanisms Really Replace Laws of Nature?Bert Leuridan - 2010 - Philosophy of Science 77 (3):317-340.
    Today, mechanisms and mechanistic explanation are very popular in philosophy of science and are deemed a welcome alternative to laws of nature and deductive‐nomological explanation. Starting from Mitchell's pragmatic notion of laws, I cast doubt on their status as a genuine alternative. I argue that (1) all complex‐systems mechanisms ontologically must rely on stable regularities, while (2) the reverse need not hold. Analogously, (3) models of mechanisms must incorporate pragmatic laws, while (4) such laws themselves need not always refer to (...)
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  3.  65
    Modelling Mechanisms with Causal Cycles.Brendan Clarke, Bert Leuridan & Jon Williamson - 2014 - Synthese 191 (8):1-31.
    Mechanistic philosophy of science views a large part of scientific activity as engaged in modelling mechanisms. While science textbooks tend to offer qualitative models of mechanisms, there is increasing demand for models from which one can draw quantitative predictions and explanations. Casini et al. (Theoria 26(1):5–33, 2011) put forward the Recursive Bayesian Networks (RBN) formalism as well suited to this end. The RBN formalism is an extension of the standard Bayesian net formalism, an extension that allows for modelling the hierarchical (...)
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  4. Supervenience: Its Logic and its Inferential Role in Classical Genetics.Bert Leuridan - 2007 - Logique Et Analyse 198:147-171.
    Supervenience is mostly conceived of as a purely philosophical concept. Nevertheless, I will argue, it played an important and very fruitful inferential role in classical genetics. Gregor Mendel assumed that phenotypic traits supervene on underlying factors, and this assumption allowed him to successfully predict and explain the phenotypical regularities he had experimentally discovered. Therefore it is interesting to explicate how we reason about supervenience relations. I will tackle the following two questions. Firstly, can a reliable method (a logic) be found (...)
     
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  5. The IARC and Mechanistic Evidence.Bert Leuridan & Erik Weber - 2011 - In Phyllis Illari, Federica Russo & Jon Williamson (eds.), Causality in the Sciences. Oxford University Press. pp. 91--109.
    The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) is an organization which seeks to identify the causes of human cancer. Per agent, such as betel quid or Human Papillomaviruses, they review the available evidence deriving from epidemiological studies, animal experiments and information about mechanisms (and other data). The evidence of the different groups is combined such that an overall assessment of the carcinogenicity of the agent in question is obtained. In this paper, we critically review the IARC’s carcinogenicity evaluations. First (...)
     
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  6.  66
    Where the Design Argument Goes Wrong: Auxiliary Assumptions and Unification.Maarten Boudry & Bert Leuridan - 2011 - Philosophy of Science 78 (4):558-578.
    Sober has reconstructed the biological design argument in the framework of likelihoodism, purporting to demonstrate that it is defective for intrinsic reasons. We argue that Sober’s restriction on the introduction of auxiliary hypotheses is too restrictive, as it commits him to rejecting types of everyday reasoning that are clearly valid. Our account shows that the design argument fails, not because it is intrinsically untestable but because it clashes with the empirical evidence and fails to satisfy certain theoretical desiderata (in particular, (...)
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  7. The Structure of Scientific Theories, Explanation, and Unification. A Causal–Structural Account.Bert Leuridan - 2014 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 65 (4):717-771.
    What are scientific theories and how should they be represented? In this article, I propose a causal–structural account, according to which scientific theories are to be represented as sets of interrelated causal and credal nets. In contrast with other accounts of scientific theories (such as Sneedian structuralism, Kitcher’s unificationist view, and Darden’s theory of theoretical components), this leaves room for causality to play a substantial role. As a result, an interesting account of explanation is provided, which sheds light on explanatory (...)
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  8.  20
    On Lawfulness in History and Historiography.Bert Leuridan & Anton Froeyman - 2012 - History and Theory 51 (2):172-192.
    The use of general and universal laws in historiography has been the subject of debate ever since the end of the nineteenth century. Since the 1970s there has been a growing consensus that general laws such as those in the natural sciences are not applicable in the scientific writing of history. We will argue against this consensus view, not by claiming that the underlying conception of what historiography is—or should be—is wrong, but by contending that it is based on a (...)
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  9.  80
    Causality and Explanation in the Sciences.Bert Leuridan & Erik Weber - 2012 - Theoria: Revista de Teoría, Historia y Fundamentos de la Ciencia 27 (2):133-136.
    Editors’ introduction to the special issue on the Causality and Explanation in the Sciences conference, held at the University of Ghent in September 2011.Presentación del número monográfico sobre el congreso Causality and Explanation in the Sciences, celebrado en la Universidad de Gante en septiembre de 2011.
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  10.  51
    The Practical Value of Spurious Correlations: Selective Versus Manipulative Policy.Leuridan Bert, Weber Erik & Dyck Maarten Van - 2008 - Analysis 68 (4):298 - 303.
    In the past 25 years, many philosophers have endorsed the view that the practical value of causal knowledge lies in the fact that manipulation of causes is a good way to bring about a desired change in the effect. This view is intuitively very plausible. For instance, we can predict a storm on the basis of a barometer reading, but we cannot avoid the storm by manipulating the state of the barometer (barometer status and storm are effects of a common (...)
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  11.  68
    Galton's Blinding Glasses. Modern Statistics Hiding Causal Structure in Early Theories of Inheritance.Bert Leuridan - 2007 - In Federica Russo & Jon Williamson (eds.), Causality and Probability in the Sciences. pp. 243--262.
    ABSTRACT. Probability and statistics play an important role in contemporary -philosophy of causality. They are viewed as glasses through which we can see or detect causal relations. However, they may sometimes act as blinding glasses, as I will argue in this paper. In the 19th century, Francis Galton tried to statistically analyze hereditary phenomena. Although he was a far better statistician than Gregor Mendel, his biological theory turned out to be less fruitful. This was no sheer accident. His knowledge of (...)
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  12.  36
    What Are Mechanisms in Social Science?Bert Leuridan - 2012 - Metascience 21 (2):395-398.
    What are mechanisms in social science? Content Type Journal Article Category Book Review Pages 1-4 DOI 10.1007/s11016-011-9610-9 Authors Bert Leuridan, Centre for Logic and Philosophy of Science, Ghent University, Blandijnberg 2, Room 2.03, 9000 Ghent, Belgium Journal Metascience Online ISSN 1467-9981 Print ISSN 0815-0796.
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  13.  23
    Challenging Lewis’s Challenge to the Best System Account of Lawhood.Rafal Urbaniak & Bert Leuridan - 2018 - Synthese 195 (4):1649-1666.
    David Lewis has formulated a well-known challenge to his Best System account of lawhood: the content of any system whatever can be formulated very simply if one allows for perverse choices of primitive vocabulary. We show that the challenge is not that dangerous, and that to account for it one need not invoke natural properties or relativized versions of the Best System account. This way, we help to move towards an even better Best System account. We discuss extensions of our (...)
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  14.  26
    A Logic for the Discovery of Deterministic Causal Regularities.Mathieu Beirlaen, Bert Leuridan & Frederik Van De Putte - 2018 - Synthese 195 (1):367-399.
    We present a logic, \, for the discovery of deterministic causal regularities starting from empirical data. Our approach is inspired by Mackie’s theory of causes as INUS-conditions, and implements a more recent adjustment to Mackie’s theory according to which the left-hand side of causal regularities is required to be a minimal disjunction of minimal conjunctions. To derive such regularities from a given set of data, we make use of the adaptive logics framework. Our knowledge of deterministic causal regularities is, as (...)
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  15. General Theories of Explanation: Buyer Beware.José Díez, Kareem Khalifa & Bert Leuridan - 2013 - Synthese 190 (3):379-396.
    We argue that there is no general theory of explanation that spans the sciences, mathematics, and ethics, etc. More specifically, there is no good reason to believe that substantive and domain-invariant constraints on explanatory information exist. Using Nickel (Noûs 44(2):305–328, 2010 ) as an exemplar of the contrary, generalist position, we first show that Nickel’s arguments rest on several ambiguities, and then show that even when these ambiguities are charitably corrected, Nickel’s defense of general theories of explanation is inadequate along (...)
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    Causal Discovery and the Problem of Ignorance. An Adaptive Logic Approach.Bert Leuridan - 2009 - Journal of Applied Logic 7 (2):188-205.
    In this paper, I want to substantiate three related claims regarding causal discovery from non-experimental data. Firstly, in scientific practice, the problem of ignorance is ubiquitous, persistent, and far-reaching. Intuitively, the problem of ignorance bears upon the following situation. A set of random variables V is studied but only partly tested for (conditional) independencies; i.e. for some variables A and B it is not known whether they are (conditionally) independent. Secondly, Judea Pearl’s most meritorious and influential algorithm for causal discovery (...)
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  17.  6
    The Practical Value of Spurious Correlations: Selective Versus Manipulative Policy.Bert Leuridan, Erik Weber & Maarten Van Dyck - 2008 - Analysis 68 (4):298-303.
  18. Counterfactual Causality, Empirical Research and the Role of Theory in the Social Sciences (Review Essay). [REVIEW]Erik Weber & Bert Leuridan - 2008 - Historical Methods 41 (4):197-201.
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  19.  17
    Causality and Explanation in the Sciences: The Rest of the Best. [REVIEW]Bert Leuridan & Erik Weber - 2013 - Erkenntnis 78 (2):147-151.
  20. Causality and Explanation in the Sciences.Bert Leuridan & Erik Weber - 2012 - Theoria : An International Journal for Theory, History and Fundations of Science 27 (2):133-136.
    Editors’ introduction to the special issue on the Causality and Explanation in the Sciences conference, held at the University of Ghent in September 2011.
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  21. Studying Scientific Thought Experiments in Their Context: Albert Einstein and Electromagnetic Induction.Jan Potters & Bert Leuridan - 2017 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part B: Studies in History and Philosophy of Modern Physics 58:1-11.
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