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John Symons
University of Kansas
  1.  32
    Software Intensive Science.John Symons & Jack Horner - 2014 - Philosophy and Technology 27 (3):461-477.
    This paper argues that the difference between contemporary software intensive scientific practice and more traditional non-software intensive varieties results from the characteristically high conditionality of software. We explain why the path complexity of programs with high conditionality imposes limits on standard error correction techniques and why this matters. While it is possible, in general, to characterize the error distribution in inquiry that does not involve high conditionality, we cannot characterize the error distribution in inquiry that depends on software. Software intensive (...)
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  2.  28
    Epistemic Entitlements and the Practice of Computer Simulation.John Symons & Ramón Alvarado - 2019 - Minds and Machines 29 (1):37-60.
    What does it mean to trust the results of a computer simulation? This paper argues that trust in simulations should be grounded in empirical evidence, good engineering practice, and established theoretical principles. Without these constraints, computer simulation risks becoming little more than speculation. We argue against two prominent positions in the epistemology of computer simulation and defend a conservative view that emphasizes the difference between the norms governing scientific investigation and those governing ordinary epistemic practices.
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  3.  29
    Can We Trust Big Data? Applying Philosophy of Science to Software.John Symons & Ramón Alvarado - 2016 - Big Data and Society 3 (2).
    We address some of the epistemological challenges highlighted by the Critical Data Studies literature by reference to some of the key debates in the philosophy of science concerning computational modeling and simulation. We provide a brief overview of these debates focusing particularly on what Paul Humphreys calls epistemic opacity. We argue that debates in Critical Data Studies and philosophy of science have neglected the problem of error management and error detection. This is an especially important feature of the epistemology of (...)
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  4. Where’s the Bridge? Epistemology and Epistemic Logic.Vincent F. Hendricks & John Symons - 2006 - Philosophical Studies 128 (1):137-167.
    Epistemic logic begins with the recognition that our everyday talk about knowing and believing has some systematic features that we can track and re‡ect upon. Epistemic logicians have studied and extended these glints of systematic structure in fascinating and important ways since the early 1960s. However, for one reason or another, mainstream epistemologists have shown little interest. It is striking to contrast the marginal role of epistemic logic in contemporary epistemology with the centrality of modal logic for metaphysicians. This article (...)
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  5. Intuition and Philosophical Methodology.John Symons - 2008 - Axiomathes 18 (1):67-89.
    Intuition serves a variety of roles in contemporary philosophy. This paper provides a historical discussion of the revival of intuition in the 1970s, untangling some of the ways that intuition has been used and offering some suggestions concerning its proper place in philosophical investigation. Contrary to some interpretations of the results of experimental philosophy, it is argued that generalized skepticism with respect to intuition is unwarranted. Intuition can continue to play an important role as part of a methodologically conservative stance (...)
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  6.  88
    Limiting Skepticism.Vincent F. Hendricks & John Symons - 2011 - Logos and Episteme 2 (2):211–224.
    Skeptics argue that the acquisition of knowledge is impossible given the standing possibility of error. We present the limiting convergence strategy for responding to skepticism and discuss the relationship between conceivable error and an agent’s knowledge in the limit. We argue that the skeptic must demonstrate that agents are operating with a bad method or are in an epistemically cursed world. Such demonstration involves a significant step beyond conceivability and commits the skeptic to potentially convergent inquiry.
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  7.  11
    Understanding Error Rates in Software Engineering: Conceptual, Empirical, and Experimental Approaches.Jack K. Horner & John Symons - 2019 - Philosophy and Technology 32 (2):363-378.
    Software-intensive systems are ubiquitous in the industrialized world. The reliability of software has implications for how we understand scientific knowledge produced using software-intensive systems and for our understanding of the ethical and political status of technology. The reliability of a software system is largely determined by the distribution of errors and by the consequences of those errors in the usage of that system. We select a taxonomy of software error types from the literature on empirically observed software errors and compare (...)
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  8.  36
    How Computational Models Predict the Behavior of Complex Systems.John Symons & Fabio Boschetti - 2013 - Foundations of Science 18 (4):809-821.
    In this paper, we argue for the centrality of prediction in the use of computational models in science. We focus on the consequences of the irreversibility of computational models and on the conditional or ceteris paribus, nature of the kinds of their predictions. By irreversibility, we mean the fact that computational models can generally arrive at the same state via many possible sequences of previous states. Thus, while in the natural world, it is generally assumed that physical states have a (...)
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  9.  60
    Epistemic Logic.John Symons - unknown
    Epistemic logic is the logic of knowledge and belief. It provides insight into the properties of individual knowers, has provided a means to model complicated scenarios involving groups of knowers and has improved our understanding of the dynamics of inquiry.
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  10. Computational Models of Emergent Properties.John Symons - 2008 - Minds and Machines 18 (4):475-491.
    Computational modeling plays an increasingly important explanatory role in cases where we investigate systems or problems that exceed our native epistemic capacities. One clear case where technological enhancement is indispensable involves the study of complex systems.1 However, even in contexts where the number of parameters and interactions that define a problem is small, simple systems sometimes exhibit non-linear features which computational models can illustrate and track. In recent decades, computational models have been proposed as a way to assist us in (...)
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  11.  11
    Reply to Angius and Primiero on Software Intensive Science.Jack Horner & John Symons - 2014 - Philosophy and Technology 27 (3):491-494.
    This paper provides a reply to articles by Nicola Angius and Guiseppe Primiero responding to our paper “Software Intensive Science”.
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  12.  20
    Emergence and Reflexive Downward Causation.John Symons - 2002 - Principia 6 (1):183-202.
    This paper responds to Jaegwon Kim's powerful objection to the very possibility of genuinely novel emergent properties. Kim argues that the incoherence of reflexive downward causation means that the causal power of an emergent phenomenon is ultimately reducible to the causal powers of its constituents. I offer a simple argument showing how to characterize emergent properties m terms of the effects of structural relations an the causal powers of that. constituents.
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  13.  62
    The Routledge Companion to Philosophy of Psychology.Sarah Robins, John Symons & Paco Calvo (eds.) - 2009 - Routledge.
    _The Routledge Companion to Philosophy of Psychology, Second Edition_ is an invaluable guide and major reference source to the major topics, problems, concepts and debates in philosophy of psychology and is the first companion of its kind. A team of renowned international contributors provide forty-nine chapters organised into six clear parts: Historical background to Philosophy of Psychology Psychological Explanation Cognition and Representation The biological basis of psychology Perceptual Experience Personhood. _The Companion_ covers key topics such as the origins of experimental (...)
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  14. 10. Simulated Experiments: Methodology for a Virtual World Simulated Experiments: Methodology for a Virtual World (Pp. 105-125). [REVIEW]Noretta Koertge, Janet A. Kourany, Ronald N. Giere, Peter Gildenhuys, Thomas A. C. Reydon, Stéphanie Ruphy, Samir Okasha, Jaakko Hintikka & John Symons - 2003 - Philosophy of Science 70 (1).
  15.  11
    Why There is No General Solution to the Problem of Software Verification.John Symons & Jack J. Horner - forthcoming - Foundations of Science.
    How can we be certain that software is reliable? Is there any method that can verify the correctness of software for all cases of interest? Computer scientists and software engineers have informally assumed that there is no fully general solution to the verification problem. In this paper, we survey approaches to the problem of software verification and offer a new proof for why there can be no general solution.
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  16.  28
    Ontology and Methodology in Analytic Philosophy.John Symons - 2010 - In Roberto Poli & Johanna Seibt (eds.), Theory and Applications of Ontology: Philosophical Perspectives. Springer Verlag. pp. 349--394.
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  17. Systems of Visual Identification in Neuroscience: Lessons From Epistemic Logic.Jaakko Hintikka & John Symons - 2003 - Philosophy of Science 70 (1):89-104.
    The following analysis shows how developments in epistemic logic can play a nontrivial role in cognitive neuroscience. We argue that the striking correspondence between two modes of identification, as distinguished in the epistemic context, and two cognitive systems distinguished by neuroscientific investigation of the visual system (the "where" and "what" systems) is not coincidental, and that it can play a clarificatory role at the most fundamental levels of neuroscientific theory.
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  18. Formal Philosophy.Vincent F. Hendricks & John Symons (eds.) - 2005 - Automatic Press/VIP.
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  19.  10
    Logic, Epistemology and the Unity of Science: An Encyclopedic Project in the Spirit of Neurath and Diderot.Shahid Rahman & John Symons - 2004 - In S. Rahman J. Symons (ed.), Logic, Epistemology, and the Unity of Science. Kluwer Academic Publisher. pp. 3--15.
  20.  37
    Emergence and Reflexive Downward.John Symons - 2002 - Principia: An International Journal of Epistemology 6 (1):183-201.
    This paper responds to Jaegwon Kim's powerful objection to the very possibility of genuinely novel emergent properties Kim argue that the incoherence of reflexive downward causation means that the causal power of an emergent phenomenon is ultimately reducible to the causal powers of its constituents. I offer a a simple argument showing how to characterize emergent properties m terms of the effects of structural relations an the causal powers of that constituents.
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  21.  23
    The Individuality of Artifacts and Organisms.John Symons - 2010 - History and Philosophy of the Life Sciences 32 (2-3).
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  22. Somos Fronterizos: By looking carefully at the city of El Paso-Ciudad Juàrez we can correct popular misunderstandings of the border between the United States and Mexico. Perhaps the Fronterizos provide positive new models for transnational life.John Symons - 2003 - Multitudes 11.
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  23.  4
    Why There is No General Solution to the Problem of Software Verification.John Symons & Jack K. Horner - forthcoming - Foundations of Science:1-17.
    How can we be certain that software is reliable? Is there any method that can verify the correctness of software for all cases of interest? Computer scientists and software engineers have informally assumed that there is no fully general solution to the verification problem. In this paper, we survey approaches to the problem of software verification and offer a new proof for why there can be no general solution.
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  24.  22
    Beyond “Error-Correction”.Paco Calvo, John Symons & Emma Martín - 2012 - Frontiers in Psychology 3.
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  25.  59
    Editorial.Johan van Benthem, Vincent F. Hendricks & John Symons - 2008 - Synthese 160 (1):1-3.
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  26. A New Kind of Science.John Symons - 2004 - International Journal of Philosophical Studies 12 (4):504.
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  27.  50
    What Can Neuroscience Explain?John Symons - 2001 - Brain and Mind 2 (2):243-248.
    Horgan’s perceptive discussion of Freudian psychology, Prozac and evolutionary biology cannot mitigate the problems that seriously weaken his book (Horgan, 1999). While he certainly manages to deflate some of the more outrageous hype surrounding the scientific and often not-so-scientific study of the mind, his criticism of the brain and behavioral sciences contains a number of flaws, some of which I will address below. My response focuses on his discussion of neuroscience. As we shall see, the three mysteries that Horgan believes (...)
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  28.  51
    Radical Embodiment and Morphological Computation: Against the Autonomy of (Some) Special Sciences.Paco Calvo & John Symons - unknown
    An asymmetry between the demands at the computational and algorithmic levels of description furnishes the illusion that the abstract profile at the computational level can be multiply realized, and that something is actually being shared at the algorithmic one. A disembodied rendering of the situation lays the stress upon the different ways in which an algorithm can be implemented. However, from an embodied approach, things look rather different. The relevant pairing, I shall argue, is not between implementation and algorithm, but (...)
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  29.  47
    A Computational Modeling Strategy for Levels.John Symons - 2008 - Philosophy of Science 75 (5):608-620.
    Rather than taking the ontological fundamentality of an ideal microphysics as a starting point, this article sketches an approach to the problem of levels that swaps assumptions about ontology for assumptions about inquiry. These assumptions can be implemented formally via computational modeling techniques that will be described below. It is argued that these models offer a way to save some of our prominent commonsense intuitions concerning levels. This strategy offers a way of exploring the individuation of higher level properties in (...)
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  30.  40
    Editorial.Johan van Benthem, Vincent F. Hendricks & John Symons - 2006 - Synthese 148 (1):1-3.
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  31.  1
    Emergence and Reflexive Downward.John Symons - 2002 - Principia: Revista Internacional de Epistemologia 6 (1):183-202.
    This paper responds to Jaegwon Kim’s powerful objection to the very possibility of genuinely novel emergent properties. Kim argues that the incoherence of reflexive downward causation means that the causal power of an emergent phenomenon is ultimately reducible to the causal powers of its constituents. I offer a simple argument showing how to characterize emergent properties in terms of the effects of structural relations on the causal powers of their constituents.
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  32.  18
    The Results Are In: The Scope and Import of Hintikka's Philosophy.Daniel Kolak & John Symons - 2004 - In D. Kolak & J. Symons (eds.), Quantifiers, Questions and Quantum Physics. Springer. pp. 209--271.
  33. Review of Giandomenico Sica (Ed.) What is Category Theory? Polimetrica, 2006. [REVIEW]John Symons - unknown
    Giandomenico Sica’s volume is a collection of eleven papers on category theory by philosophers, mathematicians, and mathematical physicists. In addition to papers of direct interest to philosophers of mathematics, the volume contains some introductory expositions of category theory along with a valuable discussion of the relationship between category theory and physics by Bob Coecke. While there are several technically difficult papers, the volume as a whole is reasonably accessible to those with some familiarity with the basics of category theory. The (...)
     
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  34.  31
    Editorial Note.John Symons - 2004 - Synthese 138 (1):1-1.
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  35.  29
    Explanation and Complexity.John Symons - 2001 - Minds and Machines 11 (4):455-455.
  36. A Sketch of the History and Methodology of Ontology in the Analytic Tradition.John Symons - manuscript
    The analytic tradition is sometimes criticized as being narrowly focused on language, logic or conceptual analysis to the detriment of deeper investigations into ontological, metaphysical or moral questions.1 More specifically, analytic philosophy has been associated with a positivist attitude which favored replacing the philosophy’s traditional focus on fundamental questions with an obsequiously deferential relationship to mathematics and the natural sciences. While this line of criticism obscures the historical reality and contemporary diversity of the analytic tradition, it is certainly true that (...)
     
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  37.  15
    Somos fronterizos.John Symons - 2003 - Multitudes 1 (1):79-89.
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  38.  14
    The Complexity of Information-Processing Tasks in Vision.John Symons - 2007 - In Carlos Gershenson, Diederik Aerts & Bruce Edmonds (eds.), Worldviews, Science, and Us: Philosophy and Complexity. World Scientific. pp. 300.
  39. Functionalism and Fallibility.John Symons - manuscript
    Functionalism in the philosophy of mind rests on the claim that mental states are multiply realizable; mental states can be realized by or instantiated in a variety of distinct physical structures. To see them as multiply realizable we take mental states as causal roles rather than particular physical structures. As such, functionalism can be contrasted with metaphysical accounts which treat mental states as instances of a mental substance. Instead of puzzling over the relationship between mental and physical kinds, functionalists understand (...)
     
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  40.  26
    Book Reviews. [REVIEW]John Symons - 2008 - Studia Logica 89 (2):285-289.
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  41.  22
    Information, Representation, and the Dynamic Systems Approach to Language.John Symons - 2002 - Behavioral and Brain Sciences 25 (5):640-641.
    Shanker & King (S&K) provide a criticism of information-theoretic approaches to language, but the real obstacle to their dynamicist approach is the argument that representations are an indispensable part of any cognitive theory. Since the dynamicist approach has a prima facie anti-representationalist bent, the authors must show why dynamicist views can provide adequate explanations of intelligent behavior.
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  42. Teleology in Biology: Haddox on the Basic Principles of the Living World.John Symons - manuscript
    was a detailed analysis of the methodology of biological investigation. The dissertation examined case studies involving enzymes, proteins, catalysis and other matters apparently far removed from his later work on Mexican and Chicano thought. However, Haddox’s existential engagement with basic philosophical questions is evident throughout this work.
     
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  43.  4
    Entre darwinisme et biopolitique, le naturalisme en chantier.John Symons - 2004 - Multitudes 2 (2):15-26.
    In this interview, Symons discusses the scope and character of philosophy of biology, including some reflections on the political implications of biological developments. Topics addressed include the nature of biological knowledge; the status of reductionism; and contemporary discussions of Darwinism, biotechnology and cloning.
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  44.  41
    The Architecture of Cognition: Rethinking Fodor and Pylyshyn's Systematicity Challenge.Paco Calvo & John Symons (eds.) - 2014 - MIT Press.
    Philosophers and cognitive scientists reassess systematicity in the post-connectionist era, offering perspectives from ecological psychology, embodied and distributed cognition, enactivism, and other methodologies.
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  45. Routledge Companion to the Philosophy of Psychology.Francisco Garzon & John Symons (eds.) - 2009 - Routledge.
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  46. Masses of Formal Philosophy.Vincent F. Hendricks & John Symons (eds.) - 2006 - Automatic Press/VIP.
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  47. Routledge Companion to Philosophy of Psychology, 2nd Edition.Sarah K. Robins, John Symons & Paco Calvo (eds.) - forthcoming
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  48. Daniel Dennett.John Symons (ed.) - 2014 - Routledge.
    SPECIAL INTRODUCTORY PRICE! Daniel Dennett has been one of the central voices in the philosophy of mind for at least the past forty years. Unlike most philosophers of his generation, Dennett’s work has resonated far and wide. It has powerfully influenced the development of cognitive science, robotics, developmental psychology, and artificial intelligence. Indeed, his work has led to many new lines of inquiry. For example, he has developed a theory of consciousness which provides an approach to naturalizing mind which circumvents (...)
     
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  49. New Approaches to the Unity of Science, Vol. 1: Otto Neurath and the Unity of Science.John Symons, Juan Manuel Torres & Olga Plomb (eds.) - 2011 - Springer.
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  50. On Dennett.John Symons - 2001 - Wadsworth/Thompson Learning.
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