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Claus Beisbart
University of Berne
  1. What is Understanding? An Overview of Recent Debates in Epistemology and Philosophy of Science.Christoph Baumberger, Claus Beisbart & Georg Brun - 2017 - In Stephen Grimm Christoph Baumberger & Sabine Ammon (eds.), Explaining Understanding: New Perspectives from Epistemolgy and Philosophy of Science. Routledge. pp. 1-34.
    The paper provides a systematic overview of recent debates in epistemology and philosophy of science on the nature of understanding. We explain why philosophers have turned their attention to understanding and discuss conditions for “explanatory” understanding of why something is the case and for “objectual” understanding of a whole subject matter. The most debated conditions for these types of understanding roughly resemble the three traditional conditions for knowledge: truth, justification and belief. We discuss prominent views about how to construe these (...)
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  2. How Can Computer Simulations Produce New Knowledge?Claus Beisbart - 2012 - European Journal for Philosophy of Science 2 (3):395-434.
    It is often claimed that scientists can obtain new knowledge about nature by running computer simulations. How is this possible? I answer this question by arguing that computer simulations are arguments. This view parallels Norton’s argument view about thought experiments. I show that computer simulations can be reconstructed as arguments that fully capture the epistemic power of the simulations. Assuming the extended mind hypothesis, I furthermore argue that running the computer simulation is to execute the reconstructing argument. I discuss some (...)
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  3.  56
    Are Computer Simulations Experiments? And If Not, How Are They Related to Each Other?Claus Beisbart - 2018 - European Journal for Philosophy of Science 8 (2):171-204.
    Computer simulations and experiments share many important features. One way of explaining the similarities is to say that computer simulations just are experiments. This claim is quite popular in the literature. The aim of this paper is to argue against the claim and to develop an alternative explanation of why computer simulations resemble experiments. To this purpose, experiment is characterized in terms of an intervention on a system and of the observation of the reaction. Thus, if computer simulations are experiments, (...)
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  4. Can We Justifiably Assume the Cosmological Principle in Order to Break Model Underdetermination in Cosmology?Claus Beisbart - 2009 - Journal for General Philosophy of Science / Zeitschrift für Allgemeine Wissenschaftstheorie 40 (2):175-205.
    If cosmology is to obtain knowledge about the whole universe, it faces an underdetermination problem: Alternative space-time models are compatible with our evidence. The problem can be avoided though, if there are good reasons to adopt the Cosmological Principle (CP), because, assuming the principle, one can confine oneself to the small class of homogeneous and isotropic space-time models. The aim of this paper is to ask whether there are good reasons to adopt the Cosmological Principle in order to avoid underdetermination (...)
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  5.  67
    Why Monte Carlo Simulations Are Inferences and Not Experiments.Claus Beisbart & John D. Norton - 2012 - International Studies in the Philosophy of Science 26 (4):403-422.
    Monte Carlo simulations arrive at their results by introducing randomness, sometimes derived from a physical randomizing device. Nonetheless, we argue, they open no new epistemic channels beyond that already employed by traditional simulations: the inference by ordinary argumentation of conclusions from assumptions built into the simulations. We show that Monte Carlo simulations cannot produce knowledge other than by inference, and that they resemble other computer simulations in the manner in which they derive their conclusions. Simple examples of Monte Carlo simulations (...)
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  6.  79
    Privileged, Typical, or Not Even That? – Our Place in the World According to the Copernican and the Cosmological Principles.Claus Beisbart & Tobias Jung - 2006 - Journal for General Philosophy of Science / Zeitschrift für Allgemeine Wissenschaftstheorie 37 (2):225-256.
    If we are to constrain our place in the world, two principles are often appealed to in science. According to the Copernican Principle, we do not occupy a privileged position within the Universe. The Cosmological Principle, on the other hand, says that our observations would roughly be the same, if we were located at any other place in the Universe. In our paper we analyze these principles from a logical and philosophical point of view. We show how they are related, (...)
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  7.  40
    Virtual Realism: Really Realism or Only Virtually So? A Comment on D. J. Chalmers’s Petrus Hispanus Lectures.Claus Beisbart - 2019 - Disputatio 11 (55):297-331.
    What is the status of a cat in a virtual reality environment? Is it a real object? Or part of a fiction? Virtual realism, as defended by D. J. Chalmers, takes it to be a virtual object that really exists, that has properties and is involved in real events. His preferred specification of virtual realism identifies the cat with a digital object. The project of this paper is to use a comparison between virtual reality environments and scientific computer simulations to (...)
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  8.  27
    A Humean Guide to Spielraum Probabilities.Claus Beisbart - 2016 - Journal for General Philosophy of Science / Zeitschrift für Allgemeine Wissenschaftstheorie 47 (1):189-216.
    The most promising accounts of ontic probability include the Spielraum conception of probabilities, which can be traced back to J. von Kries and H. Poincaré, and the best system account by D. Lewis. This paper aims at comparing both accounts and at combining them to obtain the best of both worlds. The extensions of both Spielraum and best system probabilities do not coincide because the former only apply to systems with a special dynamics. Conversely, Spielraum probabilities may not be part (...)
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  9. Introduction.Claus Beisbart & Stephan Hartmann - 2011 - In Claus Beisbart & Stephan Hartmann (eds.), Probabilities in Physics. Oxford University Press.
  10.  31
    Probabilities in Physics.Claus Beisbart & Stephan Hartmann (eds.) - 2011 - Oxford University Press.
    This volume is the first to provide a philosophical appraisal of probabilities in all of physics.
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  11.  70
    Are We Sims? How Computer Simulations Represent and What This Means for the Simulation Argument.Claus Beisbart - 2014 - The Monist 97 (3):399-417.
    N. Bostrom’s simulation argument and two additional assumptions imply that we likely live in a computer simulation. The argument is based upon the following assumption about the workings of realistic brain simulations: The hardware of a computer on which a brain simulation is run bears a close analogy to the brain itself. To inquire whether this is so, I analyze how computer simulations trace processes in their targets. I describe simulations as fictional, mathematical, pictorial, and material models. Even though the (...)
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  12.  61
    How to Fix Directions Or Are Assignments of Vector Characteristics Attributions of Intrinsic Properties?Claus Beisbart - 2009 - Dialectica 63 (4):503-524.
    In physics, objects are often assigned vector characteristics such as a specific velocity. How can this be understood from a metaphysical point of view – is assigning an object a vector characteristic to attribute it an intrinsic property? As a short review of Newtonian, special relativistic and general relativistic physics shows, if we wish to assign some object a vector characteristic, we have to relate it to something – call it S. If S is to be different from the original (...)
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  13.  64
    A Utilitarian Assessment of Alternative Decision Rules in the Council of Ministers.Claus Beisbart, Luc Bovens & Stephan Hartmann - 2005 - European Union Politics 6 (4):395-419.
    We develop a utilitarian framework to assess different decision rules for the European Council of Ministers. The proposals to be decided on are conceptualized as utility vectors and a probability distribution is assumed over the utilities. We first show what decision rules yield the highest expected utilities for different means of the probability distri- bution. For proposals with high mean utility, simple bench- mark rules (such as majority voting with proportional weights) tend to outperform rules that have been proposed in (...)
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  14.  55
    Good Just Isn't Good Enough - Humean Chances and Boltzmannian Statistical Physics.Claus Beisbart - 2014 - In Maria C. Galavotti (ed.), New Directions in the Philosophy of Science, The Philosophy of Science in a European Perspective 5. Springer. pp. 511-529.
    Statistical physicists assume a probability distribution over micro-states to explain thermodynamic behavior. The question of this paper is whether these probabilities are part of a best system and can thus be interpreted as Humean chances. I consider two Boltzmannian accounts of the Second Law, viz. a globalist and a localist one. In both cases, the probabilities fail to be chances because they have rivals that are roughly equally good. I conclude with the diagnosis that well-defined micro-probabilities under-estimate the robust character (...)
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  15.  5
    What is a Computer Simulation and What Does This Mean for Simulation Validation?Claus Beisbart - 2019 - In Claus Beisbart & Nicole J. Saam (eds.), Computer Simulation Validation - Fundamental Concepts, Methodological Frameworks, and Philosophical Perspectives. Springer. pp. 901-923.
    Many questions about the fundamentals of some area take the form “What is …?” It does not come as a surprise then that, at the dawn of Western philosophy, Socrates asked the questions of what piety, courage, and justice are. Nor is it a wonder that the philosophical preoccupation with computer simulations centered, among other things, about the question of what computer simulations are. Very often, this question has been answered by stating that computer simulation is a species of a (...)
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  16.  4
    What is Validation of Computer Simulations? Toward a Clarification of the Concept of Validation and of Related Notions.Claus Beisbart - 2019 - In Claus Beisbart & Nicole J. Saam (eds.), Computer Simulation Validation - Fundamental Concepts, Methodological Frameworks, and Philosophical Perspectives. Cham, Schweiz: Springer. pp. 35-67.
    This chapter clarifies the concept of validation of computer simulations by comparing various definitions that have been proposed for the notion. While the definitions agree in taking validation to be an evaluationEvaluation, they differ on the following questions: What exactly is evaluated—results from a computer simulation, a model, a computer codeCode? What are the standardsStandard of evaluationEvaluation––truthTruth, accuracyAccuracy, and credibilityCredibility or also something else? What type of verdict does validation lead to––that the simulation is such and such good, or that (...)
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  17.  28
    Welfarist Evaluations of Decision Rules for Boards of Representatives.Claus Beisbart & Luc Bovens - 2007 - Social Choice and Welfare 29 (4):581-608.
    We consider a decision board with representatives who vote on proposals on behalf of their constituencies. We look for decision rules that realize utilitarian and egalitarian ideals. We set up a simple model and obtain roughly the following results. If the interests of people from the same constituency are uncorrelated, then a weighted rule with square root weights does best in terms of both ideals. If there are perfect correlations, then the utilitarian ideal requires proportional weights, whereas the egalitarian ideal (...)
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  18.  66
    Normativity and Naturalism, Edited by Peter Schaber.Claus Beisbart - 2008 - European Journal of Philosophy 16 (2):325-329.
  19. Welfarist Evaluations of Decision Rules Under Interstate Utility Dependencies.Claus Beisbart & Stephan Hartmann - 2010 - Social Choice and Welfare 34 (2):315-344.
    We provide welfarist evaluations of decision rules for federations of states and consider models, under which the interests of people from different states are stochastically dependent. We concentrate on two welfarist standards; they require that the expected utility for the federation be maximized or that the expected utilities for people from different states be equal. We discuss an analytic result that characterizes the decision rule with maximum expected utility, set up a class of models that display interstate dependencies and run (...)
     
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  20.  2
    Introduction: Computer Simulation Validation.Claus Beisbart & Nicole J. Saam - 2019 - In Claus Beisbart & Nicole J. Saam (eds.), Computer Simulation Validation - Fundamental Concepts, Methodological Frameworks, and Philosophical Perspectives. Cham: Springer. pp. 1-31.
    To provide an introduction to this book, we explain the motivation to publish this volume, state its main goal, characterize its intended readership, and give an overview of its content. To this purpose, we briefly summarize each chapter and put it in the context of the whole volume. We also take the opportunity to stress connections between the chapters. We conclude with a brief outlook.The main motivation to publish this volume was the diagnosis that the validation of computer simulation needs (...)
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  21.  2
    Should Validation and Verification Be Separated Strictly?Claus Beisbart - 2019 - In Claus Beisbart & Nicole J. Saam (eds.), Computer Simulation Validation - Fundamental Concepts, Methodological Frameworks, and Philosophical Perspectives. Springer. pp. 1005-1028.
    Verification and validation are methods with which computer simulations are tested. While many practitioners draw a clear line between verification and validation and demand that the former precedes the latter, some philosophers have suggested that the distinction has been over-exaggerated. This chapter clarifies the relationship between verification and validation. Regarding the latter, validation of the conceptual and of the computational modelComputational model are distinguished. I argue that, as a method, verification is clearly different from validation of either of the models. (...)
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  22.  2
    Simulation Validation From a Bayesian Perspective.Claus Beisbart - 2019 - In Claus Beisbart & Nicole J. Saam (eds.), Computer Simulation Validation - Fundamental Concepts, Methodological Frameworks, and Philosophical Perspectives. Springer. pp. 173-201.
    Bayesian epistemologyEpistemology offers a powerful framework for characterizing scientific inference. Its basic idea is that rational belief comes in degrees that can be measured in terms of probabilities. The axioms of the probability calculus and a rule for updatingUpdating emerge as constraints on the formation of rational belief. Bayesian epistemologyEpistemology has led to useful explications of notions such asConfirmation confirmation. It thus is natural to ask whether Bayesian epistemologyEpistemology offers a useful framework for thinking about the inferences implicit in the (...)
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  23.  46
    Matthias Adam: Theoriebeladenheit Und Objektivität. Zur Rolle von Beobachtungen in den Naturwissenschaften. [REVIEW]Claus Beisbart - 2007 - Journal for General Philosophy of Science / Zeitschrift für Allgemeine Wissenschaftstheorie 38 (1):193-200.
    Ever since work of Paul Feyerabend, Russell Hanson and Thomas Kuhn in the 1960s, the thesis of the theory-ladenness of scientific observation has attracted much attention both in the philosophy and the sociology of science. The main concern has always been epistemic. It was argued –or feared– that if scientific observations depend on prevalent theories, an objective empirical test of theories and hypotheses by independent observation and experience is impossible. This suggests that theories might appear to be well confirmed by (...)
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  24.  36
    Groups Can Make a Difference: Voting Power Measures Extended. [REVIEW]Claus Beisbart - 2010 - Theory and Decision 69 (3):469-488.
    The voting power of a voter—the extent to which she can affect the outcome of a collective decision—is often quantified in terms of the probability that she is critical. This measure is extended to a series of power measures of different ranks. The measures quantify the extent to which a voter can be part of a group that can jointly make a difference as to whether a bill passes or not. It is argued that the series of these measures allow (...)
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  25.  20
    Probabilistic Modeling in Physics.Claus Beisbart - 2011 - In Claus Beisbart & Stephan Hartmann (eds.), Probabilities in Physics. Oxford University Press. pp. 143.
  26.  51
    Kant’s Characterization of Natural Ends.Claus Beisbart - 2009 - Kant Yearbook 1 (1).
    What is it to judge something to be a natural end? And what objects may properly be judged natural ends? These questions pose a challenge, because the predicates “natural” and “end” seemingly can not be instantiated at the same time – at least given some Kantian assumptions. My paper defends the thesis that Kant’s “Critique of Teleological Judgment”, nevertheless, provides a sensible account of judging something a natural end. On the account, a person judges an object O a natural end, (...)
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  27.  69
    Measuring Voting Power for Dependent Voters Through Causal Models.Luc Bovens & Claus Beisbart - 2011 - Synthese 179 (1):35 - 56.
    We construct a new measure of voting power that yields reasonable measurements even if the individual votes are not cast independently. Our measure hinges on probabilities of counterfactuals, such as the probability that the outcome of a collective decision would have been yes, had a voter voted yes rather than no as she did in the real world. The probabilities of such counterfactuals are calculated on the basis of causal information, following the approach by Balke and Pearl. Opinion leaders whose (...)
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  28. Welfarism and the Assessment of Social Decision Rules.Claus Beisbart & Stephan Hartmann - 2006 - In Jerome Lang & Ulle Endriss (eds.), Computational Social Choice 2006. University of Amsterdam.
    The choice of a social decision rule for a federal assembly affects the welfare distribution within the federation. But which decision rules can be recommended on welfarist grounds? In this paper, we focus on two welfarist desiderata, viz. (i) maximizing the expected utility of the whole federation and (ii) equalizing the expected utilities of people from different states in the federation. We consider the European Union as an example, set up a probabilistic model of decision making and explore how different (...)
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  29.  2
    Review of Margaret Morrison, Reconstructing Reality: Models, Mathematics, and Simulations. [REVIEW]Claus Beisbart - 2015 - Notre Dame Philosophical Review.
  30.  12
    Editorial: Fifty Years Journal for General Philosophy of Science.Claus Beisbart, Helmut Pulte & Thomas Reydon - 2019 - Journal for General Philosophy of Science / Zeitschrift für Allgemeine Wissenschaftstheorie 50 (1):1-8.
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  31.  52
    Minimizing the Threat of a Positive Majority Deficit in Two-Tier Voting Systems with Equipopulous Units.Claus Beisbart & Luc Bovens - 2013 - Public Choice 132 (1-2):75-94.
    The mean majority deficit in a two-tier voting system is a function of the partition of the population. We derive a new square-root rule: For odd-numbered population sizes and equipopulous units the mean majority deficit is maximal when the member size of the units in the partition is close to the square root of the population size. Furthermore, within the partitions into roughly equipopulous units, partitions with small even numbers of units or small even-sized units yield high mean majority deficits. (...)
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  32.  85
    Review of M. Wille, Mathematics and the Synthetic A Priori: Epistemological Investigations Into the Status of Mathematical Axioms[REVIEW]Claus Beisbart - 2008 - Philosophia Mathematica 16 (1):130-132.
    Kant famously thought that mathematics contains synthetic a priori truths. In his book, Wille defends a version of the Kantian thesis on not-so-Kantian grounds. Wille calls his account neo-Kantian, because it makes sense of Kantian tenets by using a methodology that takes the linguistic and pragmatic turns seriously.Wille's work forms part of a larger project in which the statuses of mathematics and proof theory are investigated. The official purpose of the present book is to answer the question: what is mathematics. (...)
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  33.  75
    Factions in Rousseau's du Contrat Social and Federal Representation.Luc Bovens & Claus Beisbart - 2007 - Analysis 67 (1):12–20.
    Consider the following two seemingly unrelated questions. First, why does Rousseau (1993 [1762]) believe that the formation of factions or partial associations is not conducive to the general will in Du Contrat Social, II, 3? Second, why do federal assemblies typically strive for some form of degressive proportionality, i.e. a balance between equal and proportional representation, for the countries in the federation? We will show that there is a surprising connection between these questions. We turn to our first question. It (...)
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  34.  25
    Gabriele Gramelsberger: Computerexperimente. Zum Wandel der Wissenschaft im Zeitalter des Computers. [REVIEW]Claus Beisbart - 2011 - Journal for General Philosophy of Science / Zeitschrift für Allgemeine Wissenschaftstheorie 42 (1):185-188.
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  35.  45
    Theoriebeladenheit Und Objektivität. Zur Rolle Von Beobachtungen in den Naturwissenschaften. Reihe Epistemische Stu-Dien, Schriften Zur Erkenntnis- Und Wissenschaftstheorie.Claus Beisbart - 2007 - Journal for General Philosophy of Science / Zeitschrift für Allgemeine Wissenschaftstheorie 38 (1):193-200.
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  36.  21
    Varieties of Goodness at Work: The Relationship Between Business and Morality.Claus Beisbart - 2012 - Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy 55 (4):405-430.
    Abstract What do we mean to say when we call some person a good business manager? And where do the criteria flow from by which we judge people good business managers? I answer these questions by drawing on von Wright's distinction between several varieties of goodness. We can then discriminate between instrumental, technical and moral senses of the expression ?to be a good business manager?. The first two senses presume that business managers have a characteristic task or that they engage (...)
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  37. Richard Johns, A Theory of Physical Probability. [REVIEW]Claus Beisbart - 2004 - Philosophy in Review 24:34-36.
     
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  38.  23
    Computersimulationen in der Angewandten Politischen Philosophie - Ein Beispiel.Claus Beisbart & Stephan Hartmann - forthcoming - In Carl-Friedrich Gethmann (ed.), Lebenswelt und Wissenschaft. Meiner. pp. 601-634.
    In den vergangenen Jahren hat die Europäische Union (EU) wiederholt versucht, ihre Institutionen zu reformieren. Als der Entwurf für eine Europäische Verfassung und später der Vertrag von Lissabon ausgehandelt wurden, betraf einer der meistdiskutiertesten Streitpunkte die Frage, nach welcher Entscheidungsregel der EU-Ministerrat abstimmen sollte. Diese Frage ist eine genuin normative Frage. Deshalb sollten auch politische Philosophen und Ethiker etwas zu dieser Frage beitragen können. Im folgenden wollen wir uns dieser Herausforderung stellen und alternative Entscheidungsregeln für den EU-Ministerrat bewerten. Dabei erweisen (...)
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  39. Richard Johns, A Theory of Physical Probability Reviewed By.Claus Beisbart - 2004 - Philosophy in Review 24 (1):34-36.
     
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  40.  17
    Computer Simulation Validation - Fundamental Concepts, Methodological Frameworks, and Philosophical Perspectives.Claus Beisbart & Nicole J. Saam - 2019 - Springer.
    This unique volume introduces and discusses the methods of validating computer simulations in scientific research. The core concepts, strategies, and techniques of validation are explained by an international team of pre-eminent authorities, drawing on expertise from various fields ranging from engineering and the physical sciences to the social sciences and history. The work also offers new and original philosophical perspectives on the validation of simulations. Topics and features: introduces the fundamental concepts and principles related to the validation of computer simulations, (...)
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  41. Computer Simulation Validation: Fundamental Concepts, Methodological Frameworks, and Philosophical Perspectives.Claus Beisbart & Nicole J. Saam (eds.) - 2019 - Springer Verlag.
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  42. Gabriele Gramelsberger: Computerexperimente. Zum Wandel der Wissenschaft im Zeitalter des Computers: Transcript, Bielefeld, 2010, 313 pp., € 29.80, ISBN 978-3-89942-986-2. [REVIEW]Claus Beisbart - 2011 - Journal for General Philosophy of Science / Zeitschrift für Allgemeine Wissenschaftstheorie 42 (1):185-188.
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  43. Philosophy and Cosmology.Claus Beisbart - 2016 - In Paul Humphreys (ed.), Oxford Handbook in the Philosophy of Science. Oxford, Vereinigtes Königreich: pp. 817-835.
    Cosmological questions (e.g., how far the world extends and how it all began) have occupied humans for ages and given rise to numerous conjectures, both within and outside philosophy. To put to rest fruitless speculation, Kant argued that these questions move beyond the limits of human knowledge. This article begins with Kant’s doubts about cosmology and shows that his arguments presuppose unreasonably high standards on knowledge and unwarranted assumptions about space-time. As an analysis of the foundations of twentieth-century cosmology reveals, (...)
     
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  44. Thinking About Space and Time.Claus Beisbart, Tilman Sauer & Christian Wüthrich (eds.) - forthcoming - Birkhäuser.
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  45. The Messy Mass? On the Concept of Mass in Special Relativity.Claus Beisbart & Tobias Jung - 2003 - Philosophia Naturalis 40:1-52.
     
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  46. Ulla Wessels: Die gute Samariterin. [REVIEW]Claus Beisbart - 2003 - Philosophischer Literaturanzeiger 56 (3).
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  47. What Is Life? And Why Is the Question Still Open?Claus Beisbart - 2017 - In Andreas Losch (ed.), What Is Life? On Earth and Beyond. Cambridge, Vereinigtes Königreich: pp. 111-131.
     
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