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Sandy C. Boucher [14]Sandy Boucher [3]
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Sandy C. Boucher
University of New England (Australia)
  1. What is a Philosophical Stance? Paradigms, Policies and Perspectives.Sandy C. Boucher - 2014 - Synthese 191 (10):2315-2332.
    Since van Fraassen first put forward the suggestive idea that many philosophical positions should be construed as ‘stances’ rather than factual beliefs, there have been various attempts to spell out precisely what a philosophical stance might be, and on what basis one should be adopted. In this paper I defend a particular account of stances, the view that they are pragmatically justified perspectives or ways of seeing the world, and compare it to some other accounts that have been offered. In (...)
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  2.  29
    Pluralism, Realism and the Units of Selection.Sandy C. Boucher - 2020 - South African Journal of Philosophy 1 (39):47-62.
    I consider two attempts to combine realism with pluralism about the units of selection: Sober and Wilson’s combination of “model” and “unit” pluralism, and Sterelny and Griffiths’ “local pluralism”. I argue that both of these attempts fail to show that realism and pluralism are compatible. Sober and Wilson’s pluralism turns out, on closer inspection, to be a kind of monism in disguise, while Sterelny and Griffiths’ local pluralism involves a combination of realism and anti-realism about interactors, and the units of (...)
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  3.  48
    Cladism, Monophyly and Natural Kinds.Sandy C. Boucher - 2022 - Croatian Journal of Philosophy 22 (64):39-68.
    Cladism, today the dominant school of systematics in biology, includes a classification component – the view that classification ought to reflect phylogeny only, such that all and only taxa are monophyletic (i.e. consist of an ancestor and all its descendants) - and a metaphysical component – the view that all and only real groups or kinds of organisms are monophyletic. For the most part these are seen as amounting to much the same thing, but I argue they can and should (...)
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  4.  44
    Conceptual Engineering and Conceptual Extension in Science.Sandy C. Boucher - forthcoming - Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy.
    I argue that the Conceptual Ethics and Conceptual Engineering framework, in its pragmatist version as recently defended by Thomasson, provides a means of articulating and defending the conventionalist interpretation of projects of conceptual extension (e.g. the extended mind, the extended phenotype) in biology and psychology. This promises to be illuminating in both directions: it helps to make sense of, and provides an explicit methodology for, pragmatic conceptual extension in science, while offering further evidence for the value and fruitfulness of the (...)
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  5.  93
    Functionalism and Structuralism as Philosophical Stances: Van Fraassen Meets the Philosophy of Biology.Sandy C. Boucher - 2015 - Biology and Philosophy 30 (3):383-403.
    I consider the broad perspectives in biology known as ‘functionalism’ and ‘structuralism’, as well as a modern version of functionalism, ‘adaptationism’. I do not take a position on which of these perspectives is preferable; my concern is with the prior question, how should they be understood? Adapting van Fraassen’s argument for treating materialism as a stance, rather than a factual belief with propositional content, in the first part of the paper I offer an argument for construing functionalism and structuralism as (...)
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  6.  23
    Stances and Epistemology: Values, Pragmatics, and Rationality.Sandy Boucher - 2018 - Metaphilosophy 49 (4):521-547.
    Van Fraassen has argued that many philosophical positions should be understood as stances rather than factual beliefs. In this paper I discuss the vexed question of whether and how such stances can be rationally justified. Until this question has been satisfactorily answered, the otherwise promising stance approach cannot be considered a viable metaphilosophical option. One can find hints, and the beginnings of an answer to this question, in van Fraassen’s (and others’) writings, but no general, fully clear and convincing account (...)
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  7.  48
    A Computational Approach to Linguistic Knowledge.Ian Gold & Sandy C. Boucher - 2002 - Language and Communication 1 (22):211-229.
    The rejection of behaviorism in the 1950s and 1960s led to the view, due mainly to Noam Chomsky, that language must be studied by looking at the mind and not just at behavior. It is an understatement to say that Chomskyan linguistics dominates the field. Despite being the overwhelming majority view, it has not gone unchallenged, and the challenges have focused on different aspects of the theory. What is almost universally accepted, however, is Chomsky’s view that understanding language demands a (...)
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  8. Who’s Watching? Surveillance, Big Data and Applied Ethics in the Digital Age.Adrian Walsh & Sandy C. Boucher - forthcoming - Research in Ethical Issues in Organisations.
    Editors' Introduction to the special issue of Research in Ethical Issues in Organisations, the proceedings of the 27th Annual Conference of the Australian Association of Professional and Applied Ethics, hosted by the Discipline of Philosophy and Religious Studies at the University of New England in 2020.
     
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  9.  43
    Methodological naturalism in the sciences.Sandy C. Boucher - 2020 - International Journal for Philosophy of Religion 88 (1):57-80.
    Creationists have long argued that evolutionary science is committed to a dogmatic metaphysics of naturalism and materialism, which is based on faith or ideology rather than evidence. The standard response to this has been to insist that science is not committed to any such metaphysical doctrine, but only to a methodological version of naturalism, according to which science may only appeal to natural entities and processes. But this whole debate presupposes that there is a clear distinction between the natural and (...)
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  10.  13
    Biological Teleology, Reductionism, and Verbal Disputes.Sandy C. Boucher - 2021 - Foundations of Science 26 (4):859-880.
    The extensive philosophical discussions and analyses in recent decades of function-talk in biology have done much to clarify what biologists mean when they ascribe functions to traits, but the basic metaphysical question—is there genuine teleology and design in the natural world, or only the appearance of this?—has persisted, as recent work both defending, and attacking, teleology from a Darwinian perspective, attest. I argue that in the context of standard contemporary evolutionary theory, this is for the most part a verbal, rather (...)
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  11.  25
    What is the Relation Between a Philosophical Stance and Its Associated Beliefs?Sandy C. Boucher - 2018 - Dialectica 72 (4):509-524.
    Van Fraassen’s view that many philosophical positions should be understood as stances rather than factual beliefs with propositional content, has become increasingly popular. But the precise relation between a philosophical stance, and the factual beliefs that typically accompany it, is an unresolved issue. It is widely accepted that no factual belief is sufficient for holding a particular stance, but some have argued that holding certain factual beliefs is nonetheless necessary for adopting a given stance. I argue against this claim, along (...)
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  12.  16
    Evolutionary Debunking Arguments, Commonsense and Scepticism.Sandy C. Boucher - 2020 - Synthese 198 (12):11217-11239.
    Evolutionary debunking arguments seek to infer from the evolutionary origin of human beliefs about a particular domain to the conclusion that those beliefs are unjustified. In this paper I discuss EDAs with respect to our everyday, commonsense beliefs. Those who seriously entertain EDAs for commonsense argue that natural selection does not care about truth, it only cares about fitness, and thus it will equip us with beliefs that are useful rather than true. In recent work Griffiths and Wilkins argue that (...)
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  13. Cladism, Monophyly and Natural Kinds.Sandy C. Boucher - 2022 - Croatian Journal of Philosophy 22 (1):39-68.
    Cladism, today the dominant school of systematics in biology, includes a classification component—the view that classification ought to reflect phylogeny only, such that all and only taxa are monophyletic —and a metaphysical component—the view that all and only real groups or kinds of organisms are monophyletic. For the most part these are seen as amounting to much the same thing, but I argue they can and should be distinguished, in particular that cladists about classifi cation need not accept the typically (...)
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  14. Scientific Imperialism, Pluralism, and Folk Morality.Adrian Walsh & Sandy C. Boucher - 2018 - In U. Maki and M. F. Pinto A. Walsh (ed.), Scientific Imperialism. London, UK: pp. 13-30.
    Current debates over so-called ‘scientific imperialism’, on one plausible reading, explore significant general issues about the proper boundaries between distinct disciplines. They raise questions about whether some forms of territorial expansion by scientific disciplines into other domains of inquiry are undesirable. Clearly there is a strong normative undercurrent here, as the use of the pejorative term ‘imperialism’ would indicate. However, we face a genuine puzzle here: why should we regard some forms of expansion as illegitimate? Why should any particular boundaries (...)
     
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  15.  16
    An Empiricist Conception of the Relation Between Metaphysics and Science.Sandy Boucher - 2018 - Philosophia 47 (5):1355-1378.
    It is widely acknowledged that metaphysical assumptions, commitments and presuppositions play an important role in science. Yet according to the empiricist there is no place for metaphysics as traditionally understood in the scientific enterprise. In this paper I aim to take a first step towards reconciling these seemingly irreconcilable claims. In the first part of the paper I outline a conception of metaphysics and its relation to science that should be congenial to empiricists, motivated by van Fraassen’s work on ‘stances’. (...)
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  16.  12
    Reviews: Turning the Wheel: American Women Creating the New Buddhism, Sakyadhita: Daughters of the Buddha. [REVIEW]Anne C. Klein, Sandy Boucher & Karma Lekshe Tsomo - 1991 - Buddhist-Christian Studies 11:325.
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  17.  9
    Gould on Species, Metaphysics and Macroevolution: A Critical Appraisal.Sandy C. Boucher - 2017 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C: Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences 62:25-34.
    Stephen Jay Gould’s views on the ontology of species were an important plank of his revisionist program in evolutionary theory. In this paper I cast a critical philosopher’s eye over those views. I focus on three central aspects of Gould’s views on species: the relation between the Darwinian and the metaphysical notions of individuality, the relation between the ontology of species and macroevolution, and the issue of contextualism and conventionalism about the metaphysics of species.
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