This paper offers a novel way of reconstructing conceptual change in empirical theories. Changes occur in terms of the structure of the dimensions—that is to say, the conceptual spaces—underlying the conceptual framework within which a given theory is formulated. Five types of changes are identified: (1) addition or deletion of special laws, (2) change in scale or metric, (3) change in the importance of dimensions, (4) change in the separability of dimensions, and (5) addition or deletion of dimensions. Given this (...) classification, the conceptual development of empirical theories becomes more gradual and rationalizable. Only the most extreme type—replacement of dimensions—comes close to a revolution. The five types are exemplified and applied in a case study on the development within physics from the original Newtonian mechanics to special relativity theory. (shrink)
This paper offers a probabilistic treatment of the conditions for argument cogency as endorsed in informal logic: acceptability, relevance, and sufficiency (RSA). Treating a natural language argument as a reason-claim-complex, our analysis identifies content features of defeasible argument on which the RSA conditions depend, namely: (i) change in the commitment to the reason, (ii) the reason’s sensitivity and selectivity to the claim, (iii) one’s prior commitment to the claim, and (iv) the contextually determined thresholds of acceptability for reasons and for (...) claims. Results contrast with, and may indeed serve to correct, the informal understanding and applications of the RSA criteria concerning their conceptual (in)dependence, their function as update-thresholds, and their status as obligatory rather than permissive norms, but also show how these formal and informal normative approaches can in fact align. (shrink)
Our aim in this article is to show how the theory of conceptual spaces can be useful in describing diachronic changes to conceptual frameworks, and thus useful in understanding conceptual change in the empirical sciences. We also compare the conceptual space approach to Moulines’s typology of intertheoretical relations in the structuralist tradition. Unlike structuralist reconstructions, those based on conceptual spaces yield a natural way of modeling the changes of a conceptual framework, including noncumulative changes, by tracing the changes to the (...) dimensions that reconstitute a conceptual framework. As a consequence, the incommensurability of empirical theories need not be viewed as a matter of conceptual representation. (shrink)
This article outlines how conceptual spaces theory applies to modeling changes of scientific frameworks when these are treated as spatial structures rather than as linguistic entities. The theory is briefly introduced and five types of changes are presented. It is then contrasted with Michael Friedman’s neo-Kantian account that seeks to render Kuhn’s “paradigm shift” as a communicatively rational historical event of conceptual development in the sciences. Like Friedman, we refer to the transition from Newtonian to relativistic mechanics as an example (...) of “deep conceptual change.” But we take the communicative rationality of radical conceptual change to be available prior to the philosophical meta-paradigms that Friedman deems indispensable for this purpose. (shrink)
Why is a red face not really red? How do we decide that this book is a textbook or not? Conceptual spaces provide the medium on which these computations are performed, but an additional operation is needed: Contrast. By contrasting a reddish face with a prototypical face, one gets a prototypical ‘red’. By contrasting this book with a prototypical textbook, the lack of exercises may pop out. Dynamic contrasting is an essential operation for converting perceptions into predicates. The existence of (...) dynamic contrasting may contribute to explaining why lexical meanings correspond to convex regions of conceptual spaces. But it also explains why predication is most of the time opportunistic, depending on context. While off-line conceptual similarity is a holistic operation, the contrast operation provides a context-dependent distance that creates ephemeral predicative judgments that are essential for interfacing conceptual spaces with natural language and with reasoning. (shrink)
Primarily addressed to readers unfamiliar with the structuralist approach in philosophy of science, we introduce the basic concepts that the contributions to this special issue presuppose. By means of examples, we briefly review set-theoretic structures and predicates, the potential and actual models of an empirical theory, intended applications, as well as links and specializations that are applied, among others, in reconstructing the empirical claim associated with a theory element.
This article provides a spatial analysis of the conceptual framework of fluid dynamics during the nineteenth century, focusing on the transition from the Euler equation to the Navier–Stokes equation. A dynamic version of Peter Gärdenfors's theory of conceptual spaces is applied which distinguishes changes of five types: addition and deletion of special laws; change of metric; change in importance; change in separability; addition and deletion of dimensions. The case instantiates all types but the deletion of dimensions. We also provide a (...) new view upon limiting case reduction at the conceptual level that clarifies the relation between the predecessor and successor conceptual framework. The nineteenth-century development of fluid dynamics is argued to be an instance of normal science development. (shrink)
There is a great deal of justified concern about continuity through scientific theory change. Our thesis is that, particularly in physics, such continuity can be appropriately captured at the level of conceptual frameworks using conceptual space models. Indeed, we contend that the conceptual spaces of three of our most important physical theories—Classical Mechanics, Special Relativity Theory, and Quantum Mechanics —have already been so modelled as phase-spaces. Working with their phase-space formulations, one can trace the conceptual changes and continuities in transitioning (...) from CM to QM, and from CM to SRT. By offering a revised severity-ordering of changes that conceptual frameworks can undergo, we provide reasons to doubt the commonly held view that CM is conceptually closer to SRT than QM. (shrink)
I present a “reduced” version of the fifteen Pragma-dialectical rules and inquire into their theoretical status as necessary conditions for a critical discussion. Questions: In what respect is PD’s non-sufficiency a deficiency, can and must it be remedied? Brief answers: with respect to defining the concept ‘critical discussion,’ possibly, yes, if, and only if, one seeks to identify the concept ‘critical discussion’; no, if PD is for fallacy-detection.
I discuss under what conditions the objection that an expert’s argument is biased by her self-interest can be a meaningful and sound argumentative move. I suggest replacing the idea of bias qua self-interest by that of a conflict of interests, exploit the distinction between an expert context and a public context, and hold that the objection can be meaningful. Yet, the evaluation is overall negative, because the motivational role of self-interest for human behavior remains unclear. Moreover, if recent social-psychological results (...) from the “heuristics and biases” program are accepted, it is plausible to assume that humans also satisfice (rather than optimize/maximize) when identifying and then acting in their self-interest. My thesis is: insofar as the objection is sound with a particular audience, it is not needed; and insofar as the objection is needed, it is unsound. (shrink)
This paper analyzes and evaluates the 2007 majority opinion of the German National Ethics Council which seeks to establish new information (as to the inferior quality of legally procurable human embryonic stem cells) as a sufficient reason for a relaxation of the 2002 Stem Cell Law. A micro-level analysis of the opinion’s central section is conducted and evaluated vis à vis the strongest known opponent position in the national debate at that time. The argumentation is claimed to rely on an (...) unsupported semantic assumption regarding the parthood relation of the 2002 compromise and to misconstrue the strongest known opponent position. (shrink)
Recent work on conditional reasoning argues that denying the antecedent [DA] and affirming the consequent [AC] are defeasible but cogent patterns of argument, either because they are effective, rational, albeit heuristic applications of Bayesian probability, or because they are licensed by the principle of total evidence. Against this, we show that on any prevailing interpretation of indicative conditionals the premises of DA and AC arguments do not license their conclusions without additional assumptions. The cogency of DA and AC inferences rather (...) depends on contingent factors extrinsic to, and independent of, what is asserted by DA and AC arguments. arguments do not license their conclusions without additional assumptions. The cogency of DA and AC inferences rather depends on contingent factors extrinsic to, and independent of, what is asserted by DA and AC arguments. (shrink)
Gerhard Schurz [2001, Journal for General Philosophy of Science, 32, 65-107] has proposed to reconstruct auxiliary hypothesis addition, e.g., postulation of Neptune to immunize Newtonian mechanics, with concepts from non-monotonous inference to avoid the retention of false predictions that are among the consequence-set of the deductive model. However, the non-monotonous reconstruction retains the observational premise that is indeed rejected in the deductive model. Hence, his proposal fails to do justice to Lakatos' core-belt model, therefore fails to meet what Schurz coined (...) "Lakatos' challenge". It is argued that Lakatos's distinction between core and belt of a research program is not mapable onto premise-set and consequence-set and that Schurz's understanding of a ceteris paribus clause as a transfinite list of (absent) interfering factors is problematic. I propose a simple reading of Lakatos's use of the term ceteris paribus clause and motivate why the term hypothesis addition, despite not being interpretable literally, came to be entrenched. (shrink)
Parmenides as Secret Hero. Gregor Betz’s Theorie Dialektischer Strukturen (Theory of Dialectical Structures) Content Type Journal Article Pages 1-13 DOI 10.1007/s10503-011-9213-z Authors Frank Zenker, Department of Philosophy and Cognitive Science, Lund University, Kungshuset, Lundagård, 222 22 Lund, Sweden Journal Argumentation Online ISSN 1572-8374 Print ISSN 0920-427X.
A proposal by Ferguson [2003, Argumentation 17, 335–346] for a fully monotonic argument form allowing for the expression of defeasible generalizations is critically examined and rejected as a general solution. It is argued that (i) his proposal reaches less than the default-logician’s solution allows, e.g., the monotonously derived conclusion is one-sided and itself not defeasible. (ii) when applied to a suitable example, his proposal derives the wrong conclusion. Unsuccessful remedies are discussed.
We present empirical evidence from social psychological research which suggests that standard methods employed when teaching the heuristics and biases program in the context of critical thinking instruction are likelier to facilitate the discernment and correction of biases in others’ reasoning than to have a similar effect in the self-monitoring case. Exemplified by the social phenomenon of false polarization, we suggest that CT instruction may be improved by fostering student’s abilities at counterfactual meta-cognition, and present a corresponding teaching and learning (...) activity. (shrink)
According to Michael Rescorla’s recent defense of dialectical egalitarianism reasoned discourse lacks a foundational structure, but saves the foundational intuition that some propositions are basic. On this view, I may select the reasons forwarded in support of a claim according to their being accepted by particular communities/audiences. I discuss the epistemic risk of doing so, and clarify if Rescorla’s is an epistemic approach in disguise.
Gerhard Schurz [2001, Journal for General Philosophy of Science, 32, 65-107] has proposed to reconstruct auxiliary hypothesis addition, e.g., postulation of Neptune to immunize Newtonian mechanics, with concepts from non-monotonous inference to avoid the retention of false predictions that are among the consequence-set of the deductive model. However, the non-monotonous reconstruction retains the observational premise that is indeed rejected in the deductive model. Hence, his proposal fails to do justice to Lakatos' core-belt model, therefore fails to meet what Schurz coined (...) "Lakatos' challenge". It is argued that Lakatos's distinction between core and belt of a research program is not mapable onto premise-set and consequence-set and that Schurz's understanding of a ceteris paribus clause as a transfinite list of interfering factors is problematic. I propose a simple reading of Lakatos's use of the term ceteris paribus clause and motivate why the term hypothesis addition, despite not being interpretable literally, came to be entrenched. (shrink)
Rhetorical analyses typically characterize structural, topical, and stylistic features of written or spoken argumentative text, and may also consider the context of interaction as well as the epistemic and social standing of participants as these relate to the goals of gaining, sustaining, and strengthening an audience’s adherence to a thesis or a course of action. Such considerations, broadly conceived, are taken to constitute rhetorical insights, insofar as they bear on effecting audience persuasion or, for that matter, fail to do so. (...) In the following, I am concerned with the question what a normative approach to argumentation may stand to gain from rhetorical insights. First, I follow Thomas Conley .. (shrink)
In this chapter, we outline the range of argument forms involving causation that can be found in everyday discourse. We also survey empirical work concerned with the generation and evaluation of such arguments. This survey makes clear that there is presently no unified body of research concerned with causal argument. We highlight the benefits of a unified treatment both for those interested in causal cognition and those interested in argumentation, and identify the key challenges that must be met for a (...) full understanding of causal argumentation. (shrink)
This paper discusses an example of social policy argumentation from an opinion of the 2007 majority among the German National Ethics Council. It is employed to problematize argument reconstruction with respect to the Informal Logic quality criteria relevance, sufficiency, acceptability. The main thesis is conditional and rather weak: If the RSA criteria are sub-stitutes for the notion of soundness, then—next to premise-truth and validity—they also substitute recon-structive charity.