Elgin has argued that scientific models that are, strictly speaking, inaccurate representations of the world, are epistemically valuable because the “falsehoods” they contain are “felicitous”. Many, including Elgin herself, have interpreted this claim as offering an alternative to scientific realism and “veritism”. In this paper, I will argue that there is a more felicitous interpretation of Elgin’s work: “felicitous falsehoods” do play a role in the epistemic value of inaccurate models, but that role is of instrumental value. Elgin’s view is (...) not best understood as claiming that falsehoods provide scientific understanding in and of themselves, only that they facilitate epistemic access to the fundamental, even if partial, truths that are contained within models. While falsehoods may be felicitous in that they facilitate exemplification, the epistemic value of inaccurate models ultimately relies on their partial accuracy. (shrink)
In this paper, a modest version of the Semantic View is motivated as both tenable and potentially fruitful for philosophy of science. An analysis is proposed in which the Semantic View is characterized by three main claims. For each of these claims, a distinction is made between stronger and more modest interpretations. It is argued that the criticisms recently leveled against the Semantic View hold only under the stronger interpretations of these claims. However, if one only commits to the modest (...) interpretation for all the claims, then the view obtained, the Modest Semantic View, is tenable and fruitful for the philosophy of science. (shrink)
The demise of the value-free ideal constitutes a threat to public trust in science. One proposal is that whenever making value judgments, scientists rely only on democratic values. Since the influence of democratic values on scientific claims and recommendations is legitimate, public trust in science is warranted. I challenge this proposal. Appealing to democratic values will not suffice to secure trust because of at least two obstacles: polarization and marginalization.
The aim of this article is to critically build on Justin Biddle and Anna Leuschner’s characterization of epistemologically detrimental dissent in the context of science. We argue that the presence of nonepistemic agendas and severe nonepistemic consequences offers neither necessary nor sufficient conditions for EDD to obtain. We clarify their role by arguing that they are contingent enabling factors, not stable difference-makers, in the production of EDD. We maintain that two stable difference-makers are core to the production of EDD: production (...) of skewed science and effective public dissemination. (shrink)
Since he proved his theorem in 1982, Fine has been challenging the traditional interpretation of the experimental violation of the Bell Inequalities (BI). A natural interpretation of Fine's theorem is that it provides us with an alternative set of assumptions on which to place blame for the failure of the BI, and opens to a new interpretation of the violation of the BI. Fine has a stronger interpretation for his theorem. He claims that his result undermines the traditional interpretation in (...) terms of local realism. The aim of this paper is to understand and to assess Fine's claim. We distinguish three different strategies that Fine uses in order to support his view. We show that none of these strategies is successful. Fine fails to prove that local realism is not at stake in the violation of the BI by quantum phenomena. (shrink)
Since he proved his theorem in 1982, Fine has been challenging the traditional interpretation of the experimental violation of the Bell Inequalities. A natural interpretation of Fine's theorem is that it provides us with an alternative set of assumptions on which to place blame for the failure of the BI, and opens to a new interpretation of the violation of the BI. Fine has a stronger interpretation for his theorem. He claims that his result undermines the traditional interpretation in terms (...) of local realism. The aim of this paper is to understand and to assess Fine's claim. We distinguish three different strategies that Fine uses in order to support his view. We show that none of these strategies is successful. Fine fails to prove that local realism is not at stake in the violation of the BI by quantum phenomena. (shrink)
Cet ouvrage présente, pour la première fois en France, un panorama de la recherche contemporaine en philosophie de la physique, domaine extrêmement actif dans la tradition philosophique anglo-saxonne. Il réunit les contributions de seize spécialistes français et étrangers sur les grandes questions en physique et notamment celle de la constitution fondamentale de l'Univers. Ce précis constitue, pour les étudiants en Licence 3 et en Master en sciences physiques et en philosophie des sciences, un support d'approfondissement du cours mais aussi de (...) préparation à la nouvelle épreuve d'épistémologie du CAPES de sciences physiques. Il sera également précieux aux doctorants et aux chercheurs confi rmés qui souhaitent élargir ou actualiser leur savoir dans ce domaine. (shrink)
It so happens that classical physical theories can be interpreted as a representation of local interactions between systems with determinate properties. Orthodox quantum mechanics, which is one of our most experimentally well-confirmed theories, is notoriously resistant to being interpreted in terms of the above framework. Bell-type theorems and Bell-type experiments have made such an interpretation impossible. In the early sixties, John Bell demonstrated that any theory that represents its domain in terms of the above framework satisfies a set of inequalities, (...) the so-called Bell inequalities. Experiments on quantum phenomena violate Bell-type inequalities. By a simple modus tollens, the upshot is that no theory that includes all the elements of the above framework can recover all statistical predictions of quantum mechanics. Philosophers have been trying to interpret this result, that is, to understand what the world might be like if it is true that physical interactions between systems are non-local, or that physical systems do not possess determinate properties. This line of thought found its climax in program of Òexperimental metaphysicsÓ that developed after the violation of Bell-type inequalities was observed. Experimental metaphysics consists in deriving metaphysical conclusions from the Bell-type experimental results. The mainstream interpretation within experimental metaphysics is that Bell-type experiments force us to accept the existence of a form of non-locality at the ontological level, but a form that we can consider benign because it is of a non-causal type. In my dissertation, I assess to what extent philosophical investigation can help us decide what the world is like on the basis of our best physical theories, from the point of view of the quantum domain and with an emphasis on Bell-type phenomena. My conclusions point to a more modest view on the possible achievements of philosophy of physics than the experimental metaphysics program would have us believe. In the first part of my dissertation, I investigate what role philosophy of physics can legitimately hope to play in the development and evaluation of various accounts of quantum phenomena. I claim that it is not the role of philosophy of physics to impose criteria of acceptability on physical theories, in addition to coherence and empirical adequacy. By contrast, I take in my dissertation that the legitimate role of philosophy of physics is to clearly determine what is imposed by the phenomena and our best theories from what is a matter of preference on the basis of the structural analysis of the phenomena and theories. In the second part of my dissertation, I turn to the more specific case of the interpretation of Bell-type theorems and Bell-type phenomena. I undertake a systematic examination of the mainstream interpretation. I show that the mainstream interpretation includes three claims, one about locality, another one about causation and a last one about holism. I utilize theories of locality and causation in order to assess these three claims. On the one hand, the upshot of my analysis is that the claim about locality can be supported by a rigorous theory of locality. On the other hand, no theory of probabilistic causation can support the claims of the mainstream interpretation about causation when it is construed as a strong program of experimental metaphysics yielding conclusions about the ontology of the world. That said, weakened versions of the mainstream interpretation, those that do without conclusions about the ontology of the world, can be made compatible with some theories of probabilistic causation. In particular, the mainstream interpretation can be rigorously supported if its claims are restricted to the empirical level. (shrink)