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John R. Welch [33]John Robert Welch [1]
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John R. Welch
Saint Louis University
  1. Singular Analogy and Quantitative Inductive Logics.John R. Welch - 1999 - Theoria: Revista de Teoría, Historia y Fundamentos de la Ciencia 14 (2):207-247.
    The paper explores the handling of singular analogy in quantitative inductive logics. It concentrates on two analogical patterns coextensive with the traditional argument from analogy: perfect and imperfect analogy. Each is examined within Carnap’s λ-continuum, Carnap’s and Stegmüller’s λ-η continuum, Carnap’s Basic System, Hintikka’s α-λ continuum, and Hintikka’s and Niiniluoto’s K-dimensional system. Itis argued that these logics handle perfect analogies with ease, and that imperfect analogies, while unmanageable in some logics, are quite manageable in others. The paper concludes with a (...)
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  2.  79
    Real-Life Decisions and Decision Theory.John R. Welch - 2012 - In Sabine Roeser, Rafaela Hillerbrand, Per Sandin & Martin Peterson (eds.), Handbook of Risk Theory. Springer.
    Some decisions result in cognitive consequences such as information gained and information lost. The focus of this study, however, is decisions with consequences that are partly or completely noncognitive. These decisions are typically referred to as ‘real-life decisions’. According to a common complaint, the challenges of real-life decision making cannot be met by decision theory. This complaint has at least two principal motives. One is the maximizing objection that to require agents to determine the optimal act under real-world constraints is (...)
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  3.  31
    Coping with Ethical Uncertainty.John R. Welch - 2017 - Diametros 53:150-166.
    Most ethical decisions are conditioned by formidable uncertainty. Decision makers may lack reliable information about relevant facts, the consequences of actions, and the reactions of other people. Resources for dealing with uncertainty are available from standard forms of decision theory, but successful application to decisions under risk requires a great deal of quantitative information: point-valued probabilities of states and point-valued utilities of outcomes. When this information is not available, this paper recommends the use of a form of decision theory that (...)
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  4.  86
    Decision Theory and Cognitive Choice.John R. Welch - 2011 - European Journal for Philosophy of Science 1 (2):147-172.
    The focus of this study is cognitive choice: the selection of one cognitive option (a hypothesis, a theory, or an axiom, for instance) rather than another. The study proposes that cognitive choice should be based on the plausibilities of states posited by rival cognitive options and the utilities of these options' information outcomes. The proposal introduces a form of decision theory that is novel because comparative; it permits many choices among cognitive options to be based on merely comparative plausibilities and (...)
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  5.  73
    New Tools for Theory Choice and Theory Diagosis.John R. Welch - 2013 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 44 (3):318-329.
    Theory choice can be approached in at least four ways. One of these calls for the application of decision theory, and this article endorses this approach. But applying standard forms of decision theory imposes an overly demanding standard of numeric information, supposedly satisfied by point-valued utility and probability functions. To ameliorate this difficulty, a version of decision theory that requires merely comparative utilities and plausibilities is proposed. After a brief summary of this alternative, the article illustrates how comparative decision theory (...)
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  6.  59
    Moral Strata: Another Approach to Reflective Equilibrium.John R. Welch - 2014 - Springer.
    This volume recreates the received notion of reflective equilibrium. It reconfigures reflective equilibrium as both a cognitive ideal and a method for approximating this ideal. The ideal of reflective equilibrium is restructured using the concept of discursive strata, which are formed by sentences and differentiated by function. Sentences that perform the same kind of linguistic function constitute a stratum. The book shows how moral discourse can be analyzed into phenomenal, instrumental, and teleological strata, and the ideal of reflective equilibrium reworked (...)
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  7.  32
    New Tools for Theory Choice and Theory Diagnosis.John R. Welch - 2013 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 44 (3):318-329.
    Theory choice can be approached in at least four ways. One of these calls for the application of decision theory, and this article endorses this approach. But applying standard forms of decision theory imposes an overly demanding standard of numeric information, supposedly satisfied by point-valued utility and probability functions. To ameliorate this difficulty, a version of decision theory that requires merely comparative utilities and plausibilities is proposed. After a brief summary of this alternative, the article illustrates how comparative decision theory (...)
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  8. Reconstructing Aristotle: The Practical Syllogism.John R. Welch - 1991 - Philosophia 21 (1-2):69-88.
    This article tackles a number of puzzles related to Aristotle’s practical syllogism, notably the relationship between deliberation and the practical syllogism, the distinction between deliberative and reconstructive practical syllogisms, and the nature of the conclusion of the practical syllogism.
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  9.  18
    Analogy in Ethics: Pragmatics and Semantics.John R. Welch - 1997 - In Paul Weingartner, Gerhard Schurz & Georg Dorn (eds.), The Role of Pragmatics in Contemporary Philosophy. Die Österreichische Ludwig Wittgenstein Gesellschaft. pp. Vol. II, 1016-1021.
    This chapter explores arguments from analogy containing ethical predicates like 'just', 'courageous', and 'honest'. The approach is Wittgensteinian in a double sense. The role of paradigm cases in ethical discourse is emphasized, first of all, and the inductive logics to be employed spring from Wittgenstein's remarks on probability (1922). Although these logics rely on a semantic concept of range, they yield results for the ethical problems treated here only if grounded in certain kinds of pragmatic consensus.
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  10. Cleansing the Doors of Perception: Aristotle on Induction.John R. Welch - 2001 - In Konstantine Boudouris (ed.), Greek Philosophy and Epistemology. International Association for Greek Philosophy.
    This chapter has two objectives. The first is to clarify Aristotle’s view of the first principles of the sciences. The second is to stake out a critical position with respect to this view. The paper sketches an alternative to Aristotle’s intuitionism based in part on the use of quantitative inductive logics.
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  11.  16
    Ethics and Perplexity: Toward a Critique of Dialogical Reason.John R. Welch (ed.) - 2004 - Rodopi.
    Javier Muguerza’s Ethics and Perplexity makes a highly original contribution to the debate over dialogical reason. The work opens with a letter that establishes a parallel between Ethics and Perplexity and Maimonides’s classic Guide of the Perplexed. It concludes with an interview that repeatedly strikes sparks on Spanish philosophy’s emergence from its “long quarantine,” as Muguerza puts it. These informal pieces—witty, informative, conversational—orbit the nucleus of the work: a formidable critique of dialogical reason. The result is a volume by turns (...)
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  12.  1
    Responsabilidad colectiva y reduccionismo.John R. Welch - 1992 - Pensamiento 48 (189/192):49–68.
    This is the Spanish translation of "Corporate Agency and Reduction," The Philosophical Quarterly 39 (1989), 409–424.
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  13.  30
    Corporate Agency and Reduction.John R. Welch - 1989 - Philosophical Quarterly 39 (157):409-424.
    Individual people are morally responsible. But can groups of people - corporations and nations, for example - be morally responsible as well? An affirmative answer has been defended by appealing to two criteria, here identified as the turnover test and the distribution test. The article argues for a Scotch verdict: neither criterion proves the point.
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  14.  23
    American Catholic Philosophical Quarterly 842.John Lemos, Thomas J. McPartland, John C. Médaille, Robert J. Spitzer, Runar M. Thorsteinsson, John R. Welch & Notre Dame - 2010 - American Catholic Philosophical Quarterly 84 (4).
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  15.  49
    Apuntes sobre el pensamiento matemático de Ramón Llull.John R. Welch - 1989 - Theoria: Revista de Teoría, Historia y Fundamentos de la Ciencia 4 (2):451-459.
    This paper attempts to clarify some of the mathematical details of Ramón Llull's combinatorial logic.
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  16.  31
    Animal Minds and Human Morals (Review). [REVIEW]John R. Welch - 1996-97 - Philosophia 25 (1-4):473-480.
  17.  30
    Conclusions as Hedged Hypotheses.John R. Welch - 2016 - In Argumentation, Objectivity, and Bias. Windsor, CA: Windsor University Press.
    How can the objectivity of an argument’s conclusion be determined? To propose an answer, this paper builds on Betz’s view of premises as hedged hypotheses. If an argument’s premises are hedged, its conclusion must be hedged as well. But how? The paper first introduces a two-dimensional critical grid. The grid’s vertical dimension is inductive, reflecting the argument’s downward flow from premises to conclusion. It specifies the inductive probability of the conclusion given the premises. The grid’s horizontal dimension is epistemic, focusing (...)
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  18.  29
    Credence for conclusions: a brief for Jeffrey’s rule.John R. Welch - 2020 - Synthese 197 (5):2051-2072.
    Some arguments are good; others are not. How can we tell the difference? This article advances three proposals as a partial answer to this question. The proposals are keyed to arguments conditioned by different degrees of uncertainty: mild, where the argument’s premises are hedged with point-valued probabilities; moderate, where the premises are hedged with interval probabilities; and severe, where the premises are hedged with non-numeric plausibilities such as ‘very likely’ or ‘unconfirmed’. For mild uncertainty, the article proposes to apply a (...)
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  19.  6
    Commentary on “The Strategic Formulation of Abductive Arguments in Everyday Reasoning”.John R. Welch - 2016 - Argumentation, Objectivity, and Bias: Proceedings of the 11th International Conference of the Ontario Society for the Study of Argumentation (OSSA).
    Henrike Jansen’s “The strategic formulation of abductive arguments in everyday reasoning” insightfully explores the terrain of abductive argumentation. The purpose of this note is to continue the exploration along lines marked out by her paper. This further exploration proceeds in two stages. Section 2 of the paper addresses the nature of abductive inference by distinguishing two types of abduction, identifying some of abduction’s formal and nonformal properties, and relating abduction to enthymematic inference. Section 3 focuses on some of Jansen’s examples, (...)
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  20.  1
    Hacia una lógica de analogía.John R. Welch - 1994 - Revista Latinoamericana de Filosofia 20 (1):161-167.
    How do we distinguish good and bad analogies? Luis A. Camacho proposed that false analogies be construed as false material conditionals. This article offers a counter-proposal: analogies of all sorts can be understood as singular inductive inferences. For the sake of simplicity, this proposal is illustrated with reference to Carnap's favorite inductive method c*.
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  21. Llull and Leibniz: The Logic of Discovery.John R. Welch - 1990 - Catalan Review 4:75-83.
    Llull and Leibniz both subscribed to conceptual atomism: the belief that the majority of concepts are compounds constructed from a relatively small number of primitive concepts. Llull worked out techniques for finding the logically possible combinations of his primitives, but Leibniz criticized Llull’s execution of these techniques. This article argues that Leibniz was right about things being more complicated than Llull thought but that he was wrong about the details. The paper attempts to correct these details.
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  22.  15
    La antiteoría y la filosofía del Renacimiento.John R. Welch - 1993 - Cuadernos Salmantinos de Filosofía 20:173-178.
    This article defends the philosophy of the Renaissance against a critique by Ortega y Gasset. Renaissance philosophy, it is argued, was a rebirth of the Hellenistic and Roman conviction that theory should not be pursued for its own sake; rather, it should be kept on a short leash controlled by practical ends. This Renaissance view is a precursor to the contemporary anti-theory of thinkers like Aranguren, Toulmin, and Williams.
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  23.  14
    Memory of the West: The Contemporaneity of Forgotten Jewish Thinkers.John R. Welch (ed.) - 2004 - Rodopi.
    Reyes Mate's Memory of the West looks back in order to look forward. It is a sustained reflection on the great disillusion Europe experienced after World War I. Europeans understood that bombs had buried the Enlightenment. They knew that, to avoid catastrophe, they had to think anew. The catastrophe came, but Cohen, Benjamin, Kafka, and Rosenzweig had sounded the warning.
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  24.  38
    Other Voices: Readings in Spanish Philosophy.John R. Welch (ed.) - 2010 - Notre Dame, USA: University of Notre Dame Press.
    Other Voices: Readings in Spanish Philosophy represents high points of nearly two millennia of Spanish philosophy, from first-century thinkers in Roman Hispania to those of the twentieth century. John R. Welch has selected, and in several cases translated, excerpts from the works of thirteen philosophers: Seneca, Quintilian, Isidore of Seville, Ibn Rushd (Averroës), Moses Maimonides, Ramón Llull, Juan Luis Vives, Francisco de Vitoria, Bartolomé de Las Casas, Francisco Suárez, Benito Jerónimo Feijóo, Miguel de Unamuno, and José Ortega y Gasset. Welch (...)
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  25.  49
    Plausibilistic Coherence.John R. Welch - 2014 - Synthese 191 (10):2239-2253.
    Why should coherence be an epistemic desideratum? One response is that coherence is truth-conducive: mutually coherent propositions are more likely to be true, ceteris paribus, than mutually incoherent ones. But some sets of propositions are more coherent, while others are less so. How could coherence be measured? Probabilistic measures of coherence exist; some are identical to probabilistic measures of confirmation, while others are extensions of such measures. Probabilistic measures of coherence are fine when applicable, but many situations are so information-poor (...)
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  26.  43
    Referential Inscrutability: Coming to Terms Without It.John R. Welch - 1984 - Southern Journal of Philosophy 22 (2):263-273.
    According to Quine, terms of divided reference like 'rabbit' have two sorts of problems: problems of direct and deferred ostension. Hence the reference of these terms is inscrutable. This article holds that the problems of deferred ostension can be handled by Goodman's theory of projection, and that the problems of direct ostension turn out to be pedestrian problems of signs.
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  27.  11
    Rethinking the Rhetorical Tradition: From Plato to Postmodernism (Review). [REVIEW]John R. Welch - 1997 - Philosophy in Review 17:262-264.
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  28.  4
    Rebooting the New Evidence Scholarship.John R. Welch - 2020 - International Journal of Evidence and Proof 24 (4):351-373.
    The new evidence scholarship addresses three distinct approaches: legal probabilism, Bayesian decision theory and relative plausibility theory. Each has major insights to offer, but none seems satisfactory as it stands. This paper proposes that relative plausibility theory be modified in two substantial ways. The first is by defining its key concept of plausibility, hitherto treated as primitive, by generalising the standard axioms of probability. The second is by complementing the descriptive component of the theory with a normative decision theory adapted (...)
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  29. Science and Ethics: Toward a Theory of Ethical Value.John R. Welch - 1994 - Journal for General Philosophy of Science / Zeitschrift für Allgemeine Wissenschaftstheorie 25 (2):279 - 292.
    This article sketches descriptive and normative components of a theory of ethical value. The normative component, which receives the lion’s share of attention, is developed by adapting Laudan’s levels of scientific discourse. The resulting levels of ethical discourse can be critically addressed through the use of inductive inference, falsification, and causal inference. These techniques are likewise appropriate to the corresponding levels of scientific discourse.
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  30.  53
    The Art and Logic of Ramon Llull: A User's Guide. [REVIEW]John R. Welch - 2009 - Journal of the History of Philosophy 47 (2):pp. 313-314.
    Ramon Llull was acutely aware of Islamic and Jewish divergences from Christian belief. He undertook a quest for "necessary reasons" to show that, where these belief systems diverged, Christian belief is true. Though largely self-taught, Llull managed three stays at the University of Paris. Encounters between the incandescent Mallorcan and academic orthodoxy contributed hugely to Llull's changing conception of necessary reasons. These changes are abundantly documented in Anthony Bonner's The Art and Logic of Ramon Llull.Llull's understanding of necessary reasons is (...)
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  31. Two Types of Moral Dilemma.John R. Welch - 2001 - In Matti Häyry & Tuija Takala (eds.), The Future of Value Inquiry. Rodopi.
    This chapter identifies two types of moral dilemma. The first type is described as ethical clash: whether affirmative action is just or unjust, for example, or whether withholding information from an inquisitive relative is honest or dishonest. In these cases the dilemma takes the form of conflict between an ethical predicate and its complement. The second type of moral dilemma is ethical overlap. Instead of a clash between a single predicate and its complement, here two or more predicates apply. Dilemmas (...)
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  32.  4
    When Econs Are Human.John R. Welch - 2020 - Journal of Economic Methodology 27 (3):212-225.
    Econs are presumed to be unboundedly rational, while Humans are boundedly rational. Nevertheless, in certain conditions, Econs aiming to optimize would choose like Humans trying to satisfice. The conditions are imposed by Knightian uncertainty. Although expected utilities are incalculable in these conditions, an Econ could still optimize by relying on a comparative version of decision theory that takes inputs of comparative plausibility and desirability and produces outputs of plausibilistic expectation. The paper shows that comparative decision theory is a special case (...)
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