Roughly, instrumentalism is the view that science is primarily, and should primarily be, an instrument for furthering our practical ends. It has fallen out of favour because historically influential variants of the view, such as logical positivism, suffered from serious defects. -/- In this book, however, Darrell P. Rowbottom develops a new form of instrumentalism, which is more sophisticated and resilient than its predecessors. This position—‘cognitive instrumentalism’—involves three core theses. First, science makes theoretical progress primarily when it furnishes us (...) with more predictive power or understanding concerning observable things. Second, scientific discourse concerning unobservable things should only be taken literally in so far as it involves observable properties or analogies with observable things. Third, scientific claims about unobservable things are probably neither approximately true nor liable to change in such a way as to increase in truthlikeness. -/- There are examples from science throughout the book, and Rowbottom demonstrates at length how cognitive instrumentalism fits with the development of late nineteenth- and early twentieth-century chemistry and physics, and especially atomic theory. Drawing upon this history, Rowbottom also argues that there is a kind of understanding, empirical understanding, which we can achieve without having true, or even approximately true, representations of unobservable things. In closing the book, he sets forth his view on how the distinction between the observable and unobservable may be drawn, and compares cognitive instrumentalism with key contemporary alternatives such as structural realism, constructive empiricism, and semirealism. -/- Overall, this book offers a strong defence of instrumentalism that will be of interest to scholars and students working on the debate about realism in philosophy of science. (shrink)
Popper’s Critical Rationalism presents Popper’s views on science, knowledge, and inquiry, and examines the significance and tenability of these in light of recent developments in philosophy of science, philosophy of probability, and epistemology. It develops a fresh and novel philosophical position on science, which employs key insights from Popper while rejecting other elements of his philosophy.
This book examines the threat that climate change poses to the projects of poverty eradication, sustainable development, and biodiversity preservation. It offers a careful discussion of the values that support these projects and a critical evaluation of the normative bases of climate change policy. This book regards climate change policy as a public problem that normative philosophy can shed light on. It assumes that the development of policy should be based on values regarding what is important to respect, preserve, and (...) protect. What sort of climate change policy do we owe the poor of the world who are particularly vulnerable to climate change? Why should our generation take on the burden of mitigating climate change that is caused, in no small part, by emissions from people now dead? What value is lost when natural species go extinct, as they may well do en masse because of climate change? This book presents a broad and inclusive discussion of climate change policy, relevant to those with interests in public policy, development studies, environmental studies, political theory, and moral and political philosophy. (shrink)
When a doctor tells you there’s a one percent chance that an operation will result in your death, or a scientist claims that his theory is probably true, what exactly does that mean? Understanding probability is clearly very important, if we are to make good theoretical and practical choices. In this engaging and highly accessible introduction to the philosophy of probability, Darrell Rowbottom takes the reader on a journey through all the major interpretations of probability, with reference to real–world (...) situations. In lucid prose, he explores the many fallacies of probabilistic reasoning, such as the ‘gambler’s fallacy’ and the ‘inverse fallacy’, and shows how we can avoid falling into these traps by using the interpretations presented. He also illustrates the relevance of the interpretation of probability across disciplinary boundaries, by examining which interpretations of probability are appropriate in diverse areas such as quantum mechanics, game theory, and genetics. Using entertaining dialogues to draw out the key issues at stake, this unique book will appeal to students and scholars across philosophy, the social sciences, and the natural sciences. (shrink)
Increasing global economic integration and recent military interventions in the name of human rights have forced questions of global justice into political discussions. Is the unequal distribution of wealth across the globe just? What's wrong with imperialism? Are the most indebted countries obligated to pay back their loans to international financ.
This paper presents new data on the representation of women who publish in 25 top philosophy journals as ranked by the Philosophical Gourmet Report for the years 2004, 2014, and 2015. It also provides a new analysis of Schwitzgebel’s 1955–2015 journal data. The paper makes four points while providing an overview of the current state of women authors in philosophy. In all years and for all journals, the percentage of female authors was extremely low, in the range of 14–16%. The (...) percentage of women authors is less than the percentage of women faculty in different ranks and at different kinds of institutions. In addition, there is great variation across individual journals, and the discrepancy between women authors and women faculty appears to be different in different subfields. Interestingly, journals which do not practice anonymous review seem to have a higher percentage of women authors than journals which practice double anonymous or triple anonymous review. This paper also argues that we need more data on academic publishing to better understand whether this can explain why there are so few full-time female faculty in philosophy, since full-time hiring and tenuring practices presumably depend on a candidate’s academic publishing. (shrink)
In this paper I argue that hope is best understood as a compound psychological state. When we take hope according to the details of this account, we are in a good position to understand why it is a political virtue of persons. I also argue that securing the institutional bases of hope is a virtue of state institutions, particularly in states in transition from severe injustice. And, finally, when the bases are secure, a person who fails to hope for the (...) political future is in that regard prima facie blameworthy. (shrink)
Abstract: William Conklin takes on Hegel’s interpretation of Sophocles’ Antigone in this essay. Hegel asked what makes human laws human and what makes divine laws divine? After outlining Hegel’s interpretation of Antigone in the light of this issue, Conklin argues that we must address what makes human law law? and what makes divine law law? Taking his cue from Michel Foucault’s “What is an Author?”, the key to understanding Sophocles’ Antigone and Hegel’s interpretation to it, according to (...) class='Hi'>Conklin, is the relationship between legal authority and an author. Antigone’s divine law opposes Creon’s human law in terms of whether the sense of legal authority presupposes an author. Antigone’s tribe recognises divine laws as nested in an impersonal Fate or Moira common to the Helenes as experienced through rituals and other personal experiences. Such an unwritten law lacks an author “whose origin we know not when”. The city-state’s citizens recognize authority in terms of whether a law has a source in a juridical representer of an invisible author. The invisible author is the city-state external to the representers. The representers interpret human laws in a manner which tries to access the invisible author. What becomes important is that philosophical consciousness observes how the characteristics of the two senses of legal authority clash. (shrink)
This book explores the changing perspective of astrology from the Middle Ages to the Early Modern Era. It introduces a framework for understanding both its former centrality and its later removal from legitimate knowledge and practice. The discussion reconstructs the changing roles of astrology in Western science, theology, and culture from 1250 to 1500. The author considers both the how and the why. He analyzes and integrates a broad range of sources. This analysis shows that the history of astrology—in particular, (...) the story of the protracted criticism and ultimate removal of astrology from the realm of legitimate knowledge and practice—is crucial for fully understanding the transition from premodern Aristotelian-Ptolemaic natural philosophy to modern Newtonian science. This removal, the author argues, was neither obvious nor unproblematic. Astrology was not some sort of magical nebulous hodge-podge of beliefs. Rather, astrology emerged in the 13th century as a richly mathematical system that served to integrate astronomy and natural philosophy, precisely the aim of the “New Science” of the 17th century. As such, it becomes a fundamentally important historical question to determine why this promising astrological synthesis was rejected in favor of a rather different mathematical natural philosophy—and one with a very different causal structure than Aristotle's. (shrink)
Nell’ambito della filosofia della scienza, il dibattito tra realismo scientifico e antirealismo scientifico ricopre un ruolo di straordinaria importanza. In questo ambito, le posizioni filosofiche elaborate non sono poche. The Instrument of Science di Darrell P. Rowbottom presenta e difende una nuova variante della celebre posizione nota come strumentalismo, di chiaro orientamento antirealista. Questa nuova proposta viene denominata strumentalismo cognitivo (cognitive instrumentalism). Nello specifico, gli obbiettivi dell’autore sono due: definire in modo preciso lo strumentalismo cognitivo, chiarendone le tesi costituenti, (...) e mostrare che questa visione è almeno tanto plausibile quanto lo sono le più accreditate teorie realiste della scienza. (shrink)
Anthropogenic climate change is a global process affecting the lives and well-being of millions of people now and countless number of people in the future. For humans, the consequences may include significant threats to food security globally and regionally, increased risks of from food-borne and water-borne as well as vector-borne diseases, increased displacement of people due migrations, increased risks of violent conflicts, slowed economic growth and poverty eradication, and the creation of new poverty traps. Principles of justice are statements of (...) what persons are owed either by others or by institutions and policies. Climate change gives rise to many concern of justice. This article briefly summarizes some of the most important of these, including claims to have climate change mitigated, claims regarding the sharing of the costs of climate change mitigation, claims for investment into adaptation, and claims to be compensated. (shrink)
This article provides the first large-scale, longitudinal study examining publication rates by gender in philosophy journals. We find that from 1900 to 1990 the proportion of women authorships in philosophy increased, but it has plateaued since the 1990s. Top Philosophy journals publish the lowest proportion of women, and anonymous review does not increase the proportion publishing in these journals. Value Theory journals do not publish articles by women in proportion to their presence in the subdiscipline. Although the proportion of women (...) authorships in philosophy has increased over time, measurable disparities persist. (shrink)
This Article argues that a particular political theory underlies the judicial interpretation of ‘equality before the law’. The Canadian Courts at the date of writing have elaborated two tests for the signification of ‘equality before the law’. The Article traces the two tests to the utilitarian political theory outlined by John Stuart Mill. The one test sets out the ‘greatest happiness of the greatest number’ or ‘social interests’ as the criterion for adjudicating equality. The second test identifies the reasonable relationship (...) of an alleged statutory classification vis-à-vis the statutory purpose. The Article offers an alternative approach based upon democratic theory. Examples of the two tests and the alternative approach are drawn from judicial constitutional interpretations in the USA and Canada. (shrink)
First, I argue that scientific progress is possible in the absence of increasing verisimilitude in science’s theories. Second, I argue that increasing theoretical verisimilitude is not the central, or primary, dimension of scientific progress. Third, I defend my previous argument that unjustified changes in scientific belief may be progressive. Fourth, I illustrate how false beliefs can promote scientific progress in ways that cannot be explicated by appeal to verisimilitude.
_Popper’s Critical Rationalism_ presents Popper’s views on science, knowledge, and inquiry, and examines the significance and tenability of these in light of recent developments in philosophy of science, philosophy of probability, and epistemology. It develops a fresh and novel philosophical position on science, which employs key insights from Popper while rejecting other elements of his philosophy. Central theses include: Crucial questions about scientific method arise at the level of the group, rather than that of the individual. Although criticism is vital (...) for science, dogmatism is important too. Belief in scientific theories is permissible even in the absence of evidence in their favour. The aim of science is to eliminate false theories. Critical rationalism can be understood as a form of virtue epistemology. (shrink)
First, I answer the controversial question ’What is scientific realism?’ with extensive reference to the varied accounts of the position in the literature. Second, I provide an overview of the key developments in the debate concerning scientific realism over the past decade. Third, I provide a summary of the other contributions to this special issue.
The Notion of ‘civilisation’ in European and post-Enlightenment writings has recently been reassessed. Critics have especially reread the works of Immanuel Kant by highlighting his racial categories. However, this Paper argues that something is missing in this contemporary literature: namely, the role of the European legal culture in the development of a racial and ethnic hierarchy of societies. The clue to this missing element rests in how ‘civilisation’ has been understood. This Paper examines how one of the leading jurists of (...) the 19th and 20th centuries, George W. Hegel (1770-1831), took for granted a sense of a legal culture that excluded indigenous inhabitants of the Americas as legal persons worthy of legal protection. -/- Such an exclusionary legal culture represented a crucial feature of ‘civilisation’ according to Hegel. This Paper identifies a series of factors which Hegel highlighted as instrumental in constituting a civilised society: Bildung, an ethos, a written legal culture, a self-creative author (the state), territorial knowledge, and a hierarchy of societies. Hegel emphasized the need of jurists to analytically “leap” from a traditional society to a legal culture before the jurist could identify a law. The traditional societies of the Americas, according to Hegel, were considered lawless because they lacked a European sense of a legal culture. Why Hegel characterised traditional communities as lacking a legal culture is then explained. The Paper ends by suggesting that the features of a legal culture that Hegel highlights remain with us today. (shrink)
Thomas Aquinas, one of the "founding fathers" of just war theory, offers an account of virtuous warfare in practice. The author argues that Aquinas's approach to warfare, with its emphasis on justice and charity, is helpful in providing a coherent moral account of war to which Christians can subscribe. Particular attention is given to the role of charity, since this virtue is the distinguishing characteristic of the Christian soldier. Charity compels him to soldier justly, and by fighting justly, he is (...) elevated by God to friendship with God. Notable features of this approach are its emphasis on the criteria for judging whether a war is just and its relativizing of the criteria for proper combat behavior. (shrink)
We argue that the inference from dispositional essentialism about a property (in the broadest sense) to the metaphysical necessity of laws involving it is invalid. Let strict dispositional essentialism be any view according to which any given property’s dispositional character is precisely the same across all possible worlds. Clearly, any version of strict dispositional essentialism rules out worlds with different laws involving that property. Permissive dispositional essentialism is committed to a property’s identity being tied to its dispositional profile or causal (...) role, yet is compatible with moderate interworld variation in a property’s dispositional profile. We provide such a model of dispositional essentialism about a property and metaphysical contingency of the laws involving it. (shrink)
Popper repeatedly emphasised the significance of a critical attitude, and a related critical method, for scientists. Kuhn, however, thought that unquestioning adherence to the theories of the day is proper; at least for ‘normal scientists’. In short, the former thought that dominant theories should be attacked, whereas the latter thought that they should be developed and defended (for the vast majority of the time). -/- Both seem to have missed a trick, however, due to their apparent insistence that each individual (...) scientist should fulfil similar functions (at any given point in time). The trick is to consider science at the group level; and doing so shows how puzzle solving and ‘offensive’ critical activity can simultaneously have a legitimate place in science. This analysis shifts the focus of the debate. The crucial question becomes ‘How should the balance between functions be struck?’. (shrink)
This article discusses two doctrines of jus ex bello concerning whether and how to end wars. In Section I, I defend the claim that there is a distinct morality of ending wars. Section II rebuts a challenge that the account is too permissive of war. Section III rejects a forward-looking conception of proportionality for jus ex bello. In Section IV, I allow an exception in cases in which the just cause for the war has changed. In Section V, I defend (...) five principles governing how to end a war. (shrink)
Popper repeatedly emphasised the significance of a critical attitude, and a related critical method, for scientists. Kuhn, however, thought that unquestioning adherence to the theories of the day is proper; at least for ‘normal scientists’. In short, the former thought that dominant theories should be attacked, whereas the latter thought that they should be developed and defended. Both seem to have missed a trick, however, due to their apparent insistence that each individual scientist should fulfil similar functions. The trick is (...) to consider science at the group level; and doing so shows how puzzle solving and ‘offensive’ critical activity can simultaneously have a legitimate place in science. This analysis shifts the focus of the debate. The crucial question becomes ‘How should the balance between functions be struck?’. (shrink)
Stanford’s argument against scientific realism focuses on theories, just as many earlier arguments from inconceivability have. However, there are possible arguments against scientific realism involving unconceived (or inconceivable) entities of different types: observations, models, predictions, explanations, methods, instruments, experiments, and values. This paper charts such arguments. In combination, they present the strongest challenge yet to scientific realism.
This paper challenges a recent argument of Bird’s, which involves imagining that Réné Blondlot’s belief in N-rays was true, in favour of the view that scientific progress should be understood in terms of knowledge rather than truth. By considering several variants of Bird’s thought-experiment, it shows that the semantic account of progress cannot be so easily vanquished. A key possibility is that justification is only instrumental in, and not partly constitutive of, progress.