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Sheldon R. Smith [15]Sheldon Smith [10]Sheldon Russell Smith [1]
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Profile: Sheldon Smith (University of California, Los Angeles)
  1. Ceteris Paribus Lost.John Earman, John T. Roberts & Sheldon Smith - 2002 - Erkenntnis 57 (3):281-301.
    Many have claimed that ceteris paribus (CP) laws are a quite legitimate feature of scientific theories, some even going so far as to claim that laws of all scientific theories currently on offer are merely CP. We argue here that one of the common props of such a thesis, that there are numerous examples of CP laws in physics, is false. Moreover, besides the absence of genuine examples from physics, we suggest that otherwise unproblematic claims are rendered untestable by the (...)
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  2. Violated Laws, Ceteris Paribus Clauses, and Capacities.Sheldon Smith - 2002 - Synthese 130 (2):235-264.
    It is often claimed that the bulk of the laws of physics –including such venerable laws as Universal Gravitation– are violated in many (or even all) circumstances because they havecounter-instances that result when a system is not isolated fromother systems. Various accounts of how one should interpretthese (apparently) violated laws have been provided. In thispaper, I examine two accounts of (apparently) violated laws, thatthey are merely ceteris paribus laws and that they aremanifestations of capacities. Through an examination of theprimary example (...)
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  3.  81
    Elementary Classical Mechanics and the Principle of the Composition of Causes.Sheldon R. Smith - 2010 - Synthese 173 (3):353-373.
    In this paper, I explore whether elementary classical mechanics adheres to the Principle of Composition of Causes as Mill claimed and as certain contemporary authors still seem to believe. Among other things, I provide a proof that if one reads Mill’s description of the principle literally, it does not hold in any general sense. In addition, I explore a separate notion of Composition of Causes and note that it too does not hold in elementary classical mechanics. Among the major morals (...)
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  4.  34
    Causation in Classical Mechanics.Sheldon R. Smith - 2013 - In Robert Batterman (ed.), The Oxford Handbook of Philosophy of Physics. Oup Usa. pp. 107.
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  5. Models and the Unity of Classical Physics: Nancy Cartwright's Dappled World.Sheldon R. Smith - 2001 - Philosophy of Science 68 (4):456-475.
    In this paper, I examine the claim that any physical theory will have an extremely limited domain of application because 1) we have to use distinct theories to model different situations in the world and 2) no theory has enough textbook models to handle anything beyond a highly simplified situation. Against the first claim, I show that many examples used to bolster it are actually instances of application of the very same classical theory rather than disjoint theories. Thus, there is (...)
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  6. Resolving Russell's Anti-Realism About Causation.Sheldon R. Smith - 2000 - The Monist 83 (2):274-295.
    In "On the Notion of Cause," Bertrand Russell expressed an eliminativist view about causation driven by an examination of the contents of mathematical physics. Russell's primary reason for thinking that the notion of causation is absent in physics was that laws of nature are mere "functional dependencies" and not "causal laws." In this paper, I show that several ordinary notions of causation can be found within the functional dependencies of physics. Not only does this show that Russell's eliminitivism was misguided, (...)
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  7.  25
    Are Instantaneous Velocities Real and Really Instantaneous?: An Argument for the Affirmative.Sheldon R. Smith - 2003 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part B: Studies in History and Philosophy of Modern Physics 34 (2):261-280.
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  8.  14
    Does Kant Have a Pre-Newtonian Picture of Force in the Balance Argument? An Account of How the Balance Argument Works.Sheldon R. Smith - 2013 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 44 (3):470-480.
  9. Ceteris Paribus Post.John Earman, John Roberts & Sheldon Smith - 2002 - Erkenntnis 57 (3):281-301.
    Many have claimed that ceteris paribus laws are a quite legitimate feature of scientific theories, some even going so far as to claim that laws of all scientific theories currently on offer are merely CP. We argue here that one of the common props of such a thesis, that there are numerous examples of CP laws in physics, is false. Moreover, besides the absence of genuine examples from physics, we suggest that otherwise unproblematic claims are rendered untestable by the mere (...)
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  10.  1
    Symmetries and the Explanation of Conservation Laws in the Light of the Inverse Problem in Lagrangian Mechanics.Sheldon R. Smith - 2008 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part B: Studies in History and Philosophy of Modern Physics 39 (2):325-345.
  11.  45
    Symmetries and the Explanation of Conservation Laws in the Light of the Inverse Problem in Lagrangian Mechanics.Sheldon R. Smith - 2008 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part B: Studies in History and Philosophy of Modern Physics 39 (2):325-345.
  12.  32
    Incomplete Understanding of Concepts: The Case of the Derivative.Sheldon R. Smith - 2015 - Mind 124 (496):1163-1199.
    Many philosophers have discussed the ability of thinkers to think thoughts that the thinker cannot justify because the thoughts involve concepts that the thinker incompletely understands. A standard example of this phenomenon involves the concept of the derivative in the early days of the calculus: Newton and Leibniz incompletely understood the derivative concept and, hence, as Berkeley noted, they could not justify their thoughts involving it. Later, Weierstrass justified their thoughts by giving a correct explication of the derivative concept. This (...)
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  13.  3
    Violated Laws, Ceteris Paribus Clauses, and Capacities.Sheldon Smith - 2002 - Synthese 130 (2):235-264.
    It is often claimed that the bulk of the laws of physics -- including such venerable laws as Universal Gravitation -- are violated in many circumstances because they have counter-instances that result when a system is not isolated from other systems. Various accounts of how one should interpret these violated laws have been provided. In this paper, I examine two accounts of violated laws, that they are merely ceteris paribus laws and that they are manifestations of capacities. Through an examination (...)
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  14.  2
    Are Instantaneous Velocities Real and Really Instantaneous?: An Argument for the Affirmative.Sheldon R. Smith - 2003 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part B: Studies in History and Philosophy of Modern Physics 34 (2):261-280.
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  15.  22
    Kant's Picture of Monads in the Physical Monadology.Sheldon Smith - 2013 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 44 (1):102-111.
    Many discussions of Kant’s picture of monads in his early Physical Monadology highlight the similarities between the view in it and Roger Joseph Boscovich’s view. Though I find this comparison interesting, I argue in this paper that Kant shows significant strands of having a fundamentally non-Boscovichian view in this work. Moreover, I trace the various strands that, I believe, pushed Kant to think about things in a non-Boscovichian way.
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  16.  32
    Ethics and Tax Evasion: A Comparative Study of Utah and Florida Opinion.Robert W. McGee & Sheldon R. Smith - manuscript
    The ethics of tax evasion has been discussed sporadically in the theological and philosophical literature for at least 500 years. Martin Crowe wrote a doctoral thesis that reviewed much of that literature in 1944. The debate revolved around about 15 issues. Over the centuries, three main views evolved on the topic. But the business ethics literature has paid scant attention to this issue, perhaps because of the belief that tax evasion is always unethical. This paper reports the results of an (...)
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  17.  13
    The Mystery of Applied Mathematics?: A Case Study in Mathematical Development Involving the Fractional Derivative.Sheldon R. Smith - 2014 - Philosophia Mathematica 22 (1):35-69.
    I discuss the applicability of mathematics via a detailed case study involving a family of mathematical concepts known as ‘fractional derivatives.’ Certain formulations of the mystery of applied mathematics would lead one to believe that there ought to be a mystery about the applicability of fractional derivatives. I argue, however, that there is no clear mystery about their applicability. Thus, via this case study, I think that one can come to see more clearly why certain formulations of the mystery of (...)
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  18.  2
    Resolving Russell’s Anti-Realism About Causation: The Connection Between Causation and the Functional Dependencies of Mathematical Physics.Sheldon R. Smith - 2000 - The Monist 83 (2):274-295.
    In "On the Notion of Cause," Bertrand Russell expressed an eliminativist view about causation driven by an examination of the contents of mathematical physics. Russell's primary reason for thinking that the notion of causation is absent in physics was that laws of nature are mere "functional dependencies" and not "causal laws." In this paper, I show that several ordinary notions of causation can be found within the functional dependencies of physics. Not only does this show that Russell's eliminitivism was misguided, (...)
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  19.  5
    Author's Response.Sheldon Smith - 2003 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part B: Studies in History and Philosophy of Modern Physics 34 (2):283.
  20.  16
    Special Cases, Composition of Causes, and the Complexity of Nature.Sheldon Smith - 2007 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part B: Studies in History and Philosophy of Modern Physics 38 (1):80-96.
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  21.  1
    Kant’s Picture of Monads in the Physical Monadology.Sheldon Smith - 2013 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 44 (1):102-111.
    Many discussions of Kant’s picture of monads in his early Physical Monadology highlight the similarities between the view in it and Roger Joseph Boscovich’s view. Though I find this comparison interesting, I argue in this paper that Kant shows significant strands of having a fundamentally non-Boscovichian view in this work. Moreover, I trace the various strands that, I believe, pushed Kant to think about things in a non-Boscovichian way.
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  22.  9
    Opinions on the Ethics of Tax Evasion: A Comparative Study of Utah and New Jersey.Robert W. McGee & Sheldon R. Smith - manuscript
    The ethics of tax evasion has been discussed sporadically in the theological and philosophical literature for at least 500 years. Martin Crowe wrote a doctoral thesis that reviewed much of that literature in 1944. The debate revolved around about 15 issues. Over the centuries, three main views evolved on the topic. But the business ethics literature has paid scant attention to this issue, perhaps because of the belief that tax evasion is always unethical. This paper reports the results of an (...)
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  23. Special Cases, Composition of Causes, and the Complexity of Nature.Sheldon Smith - 2007 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part B: Studies in History and Philosophy of Modern Physics 38 (1):80-96.
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  24. Special Cases, Composition of Causes, and the Complexity of Nature.Sheldon Smith - 2006 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Modern Physics 38 (1):80-96.
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  25. The Mystery of Applied Mathematics?: A Case Study in Mathematical Development Involving the Fractional Derivative†: Articles.Sheldon R. Smith - 2014 - Philosophia Mathematica 22 (1):35-69.
    I discuss the applicability of mathematics via a detailed case study involving a family of mathematical concepts known as ‘fractional derivatives.’ Certain formulations of the mystery of applied mathematics would lead one to believe that there ought to be a mystery about the applicability of fractional derivatives. I argue, however, that there is no clear mystery about their applicability. Thus, via this case study, I think that one can come to see more clearly why certain formulations of the mystery of (...)
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