134 found
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  1. Scientific Realism: How Science Tracks Truth.Stathis Psillos - 1999 - Routledge.
    Scientific Realism is the optimistic view that modern science is on the right track: that the world really is the way our best scientific theories describe it to be. In his book, Stathis Psillos gives us a detailed and comprehensive study, which restores the intuitive plausibility of scientific realism. We see that throughout the twentieth century, scientific realism has been challenged by philosophical positions from all angles: from reductive empiricism, to instrumentalism and modern skeptical empiricism. Scientific Realism explains that the (...)
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  2. Scientific Realism: How Science Tracks Truth.Stathis Psillos - 1999 - Routledge.
    Scientific realism is the optimistic view that modern science is on the right track: that the world really is the way our best scientific theories describe it. In his book, Stathis Psillos gives us a detailed and comprehensive study which restores the intuitive plausibility of scientific realism. We see that throughout the twentieth century, scientific realism has been challenged by philosophical positions from all angles: from reductive empiricism, to instrumentalism and to modern sceptical empiricism. _Scientific Realism_ explains that the history (...)
     
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  3. Causation and Explanation.Stathis Psillos - 2002 - Routledge.
    What is the nature of causation? How is causation linked with explanation? And can there be an adequate theory of explanation? These questions and many others are addressed in this unified and rigorous examination of the philosophical problems surrounding causation, laws and explanation. Part 1 of this book explores Hume's views on causation, theories of singular causation, and counterfactual and mechanistic approaches. Part 2 considers the regularity view of laws and laws as relations among universals, as well as recent alternative (...)
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  4. Causation and Explanation.Stathis Psillos - 2002 - Routledge.
    What is the nature of causation? How is causation linked with explanation? And can there be an adequate theory of explanation? These questions and many others are addressed in this unified and rigorous examination of the philosophical problems surrounding causation, laws and explanation. Part 1 of this book explores Hume's views on causation, theories of singular causation, and counterfactual and mechanistic approaches. Part 2 considers the regularity view of laws and laws as relations among universals, as well as recent alternative (...)
     
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  5. Is Structural Realism Possible?Stathis Psillos - 2001 - Proceedings of the Philosophy of Science Association 2001 (3):S13-S24.
    This paper examines in detail two paths that lead to Structural Realism (SR), viz. a substantive philosophical position which asserts that only the structure of the world is knowable. The upward path is any attempt to begin with empiricist premises and reach a sustainable realist position. (It has been advocated by Russell, Weyl, and Maxwell among others.) The downward path is any attempt to start from realist premises and construct a weaker realist position. (It has been recently advocated by Worrall, (...)
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  6.  49
    Grasping at Realist Straws. [REVIEW]Juha Saatsi, Stathis Psillos, Rasmus Grønfeldt Winther & Kyle Stanford - 2009 - Metascience 18 (3):355-390.
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  7. Mechanisms, Then and Now: From Metaphysics to Practice.Stathis Psillos & Stavros Ioannidis - 2019 - In Brigitte Falkenburg & Gregor Schiemann (eds.), Mechanistic Explanations in Physics and Beyond. Cham: Springer Nature. pp. 11-31.
    For many old and new mechanists, Mechanism is both a metaphysical position and a thesis about scientific methodology. In this paper we discuss the relation between the metaphysics of mechanisms and the role of mechanical explanation in the practice of science, by presenting and comparing the key tenets of Old and New Mechanism. First, by focusing on the case of gravity, we show how the metaphysics of Old Mechanism constrained scientific explanation, and discuss Newton’s critique of Old Mechanism. Second, we (...)
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  8. A Glimpse of the Secret Connexion: Harmonizing Mechanisms with Counterfactuals.Stathis Psillos - 2003 - Perspectives on Science 12 (3):288-319.
    Among the current philosophical attempts to understand causation two seem to be the most prominent. The first is James Woodward’s counterfactual approach; the second is the mechanistic approach advocated by Peter Machamer, Lindley Darden, Carl Craver, Jim Bogen and Stuart Glennan. The counterfactual approach takes it that causes make a difference to their effects, where this difference-making is cashed out in terms of actual and counterfactual interventions. The mechanistic approach takes it that two events are causally related if and only (...)
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  9. In Defense of Methodological Mechanism: The Case of Apoptosis.Stavros Ioannidis & Stathis Psillos - 2017 - Axiomathes 27 (6):601-619.
    This paper advances the thesis of methodological mechanism, the claim that to be committed to mechanism is to adopt a certain methodological postulate, i.e. to look for causal pathways for the phenomena of interest. We argue that methodological mechanism incorporates a minimal account of understanding mechanisms, according to which a mechanism just is a causal pathway described in the language of theory. In order to argue for this position we discuss a central example of a biological mechanism, the mechanism of (...)
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  10. Living with the Abstract: Realism and Models.Stathis Psillos - 2011 - Synthese 180 (1):3-17.
    A natural way to think of models is as abstract entities. If theories employ models to represent the world, theories traffic in abstract entities much more widely than is often assumed. This kind of thought seems to create a problem for a scientific realist approach to theories. Scientific realists claim theories should be understood literally. Do they then imply the reality of abstract entities? Or are theories simply—and incurably—false? Or has the very idea of literal understanding to be abandoned? Is (...)
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  11.  12
    Is Structural Realism Possible?Stathis Psillos - 2001 - Philosophy of Science 68 (S3):S13-S24.
    This paper examines in detail two paths that lead to Structural Realism, viz. a substantive philosophical position which asserts that only the structure of the world is knowable. The upward path is any attempt to begin with empiricist premises and reach a sustainable realist position. The downward path is any attempt to start from realist premises and construct a weaker realist position. This paper unravels and criticizes the metaphysical presuppositions of both paths to SR. It questions its very possibility as (...)
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  12. What Do Powers Do When They Are Not Manifested?Stathis Psillos - 2006 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 72 (1):137-156.
    In the present paper, I offer a conceptual argument against the view that all properties are pure powers. I claim that thinking of all properties as pure powers leads to a regress. The regress, I argue, can be solved only if non-powers are admitted. The kernel of my thesis is that any attempt to answer the title question in an informative way will undermine a pure-power view of properties. In particular, I focus my critique on recent arguments in favour of (...)
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  13.  48
    Mechanistic Causation: Difference-Making is Enough.Stathis Psillos & Stavros Ioannidis - 2019 - Teorema: International Journal of Philosophy 3 (38):53-75.
    In this paper we defend the view that mechanisms are underpinned by networks of difference-making relations. First, we distinguish and criticise two different kinds of arguments in favour of an activity-based understanding of mechanism: Glennan’s metaphysics- first approach and Illari and Williamson’s science-first approach. Second, we present an alternative difference-making view of mechanism and illustrate it by looking at the history of the case of scurvy prevention. We use the case of scurvy to argue that evidence for a mechanism just (...)
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  14.  76
    The Fine Structure of Inference to the Best Explanation. [REVIEW]Stathis Psillos - 2007 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 74 (2):441–448.
    Traditionally, philosophers have focused mostly on the logical template of inference. The paradigm-case has been deductive inference, which is topic-neutral and context-insensitive. The study of deductive rules has engendered the search for the Holy Grail: syntactic and topic-neutral accounts of all prima facie reasonable inferential rules. The search has hoped to find rules that are transparent and algorithmic, and whose following will just be a matter of grasping their logical form. Part of the search for the Holy Grail has been (...)
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  15. Choosing the Realist Framework.Stathis Psillos - 2011 - Synthese 180 (2):301 - 316.
    There has been an empiricist tradition in the core of Logical Positivism/Empiricism, starting with Moritz Schlick and ending in Herbert Feigl (via Hans Reichenbach), according to which the world of empiricism need not be a barren place devoid of all the explanatory entities posited by scientific theories. The aim of this paper is to articulate this tradition and to explore ways in which its key elements can find a place in the contemporary debate over scientific realism. It presents a way (...)
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  16. Regularities, Natural Patterns and Laws of Nature.Stathis Psillos - 2014 - Theoria : An International Journal for Theory, History and Fundations of Science 29 (1):9-27.
    The goal of this paper is to sketch an empiricist metaphysics of laws of nature. The key idea is that there are regularities without regularity-enforcers. Differently put, there are natural laws without law-makers _of a distinct metaphysical kind_. This sketch will rely on the concept of a natural pattern and more significantly on the existence of a network of natural patterns in nature. The relation between a regularity and a pattern will be analysed in terms of mereology. Here is the (...)
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  17.  35
    Scientific Realism: Quo Vadis? Introduction: New Thinking About Scientific Realism.Stathis Psillos & Emma Ruttkamp-Bloem - 2017 - Synthese 194 (9):3187-3201.
    This Introduction has two foci: the first is a discussion of the motivation for and the aims of the 2014 conference on New Thinking about Scientific Realism in Cape Town South Africa, and the second is a brief contextualization of the contributed articles in this special issue of Synthese in the framework of the conference. Each focus is discussed in a separate section.
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  18.  61
    Critical Scientific Realism.Stathis Psillos - 2002 - Mind 111 (442):454-458.
  19. Moving Molecules Above the Scientific Horizon: On Perrin’s Case for Realism. [REVIEW]Stathis Psillos - 2011 - Journal for General Philosophy of Science / Zeitschrift für Allgemeine Wissenschaftstheorie 42 (2):339-363.
    This paper aims to cast light on the reasons that explain the shift of opinion—from scepticism to realism—concerning the reality of atoms and molecules in the beginning of the twentieth century, in light of Jean Perrin’s theoretical and experimental work on the Brownian movement. The story told has some rather interesting repercussions for the rationality of accepting the reality of explanatory posits. Section 2 presents the key philosophical debate concerning the role and status of explanatory hypotheses c. 1900, focusing on (...)
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  20.  4
    Inference to the Best Explanation.Stathis Psillos - 2007 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 74 (2):441-448.
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  21.  92
    Rudolf Carnap's ‘Theoretical Concepts In Science'.Stathis Psillos - 2000 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 31 (4):151-172.
    Rudolf Carnap delivered the hitherto unpublished lecture ‘Theoretical Concepts in Science’ at the meeting of the American Philosophical Association, Pacific Division, at Santa Barbara, California, on 29 December 1959. It was part of a symposium on ‘Carnap’s views on Theoretical Concepts in Science’. In the bibliography that appears in the end of the volume, ‘The Philosophy of Rudolf Carnap’, edited by Paul Arthur Schilpp, a revised version of this address appears to be among Carnap’s forthcoming papers. But although Carnap started (...)
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  22. On Van Fraassen's Critique of Abductive Reasoning.Stathis Psillos - 1996 - Philosophical Quarterly 46 (182):31-47.
  23. Scientific Realism and the 'Pessimistic Induction'.Stathis Psillos - 1996 - Philosophy of Science 63 (3):314.
    Philosophy of Science, Volume 63, Issue Supplement. Proceedings of the 1996 Biennial Meetings of the Philosophy of Science Association. Part I: Contributed Papers (Sep.
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  24. Regularity Theories.Stathis Psillos - 2009 - In Helen Beebee, Christopher Hitchcock & Peter Menzies (eds.), The Oxford Handbook of Causation. Oxford University Press.
  25.  95
    Adding Modality to Ontic Structuralism: An Exploration and Critique.Stathis Psillos - unknown
    Ontic Structural Realism (OSR) gives ontic priority to structures over objects. In its perhaps most extreme form (captured, admittedly, by a slogan) it states that “all that there is, is structure” (da Costa and French 2003, 189). If this is true, if there is nothing but structure(s) in the world, the very idea of contrasting structure to nonstructure loses any force it might have. Actually, if the slogan is right, the very idea of characterising what there is as structure—as opposed (...)
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  26. What is General Philosophy of Science?Stathis Psillos - 2012 - Journal for General Philosophy of Science / Zeitschrift für Allgemeine Wissenschaftstheorie 43 (1):93-103.
    The very idea of a general philosophy of science relies on the assumption that there is this thing called science —as opposed to the various individual sciences. In this programmatic piece I make a case for the claim that general philosophy of science is the philosophy of science in general or science as such. Part of my narrative makes use of history, for two reasons. First, general philosophy of science is itself characterised by an intellectual tradition which aimed to develop (...)
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  27. A Philosophical Study Of The Transition From The Caloric Theory Of Heat To Thermodynamics: Resisting the Pessimistic Meta-Induction.Stathis Psillos - 1994 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 25 (2):159-190.
    I began this study with Laudan's argument from the pessimistic induction and I promised to show that the caloric theory of heat cannot be used to support the premisses of the meta-induction on past scientific theories. I tried to show that the laws of experimental calorimetry, adiabatic change and Carnot's theory of the motive power of heat were independent of the assumption that heat is a material substance, approximately true, deducible and accounted for within thermodynamics.I stressed that results and were (...)
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  28. Mechanisms, Counterfactuals and Laws.Stavros Ioannidis & Stathis Psillos - 2018 - In Stuart Glennan & Phyllis Illari (eds.), The Routledge Handbook of Mechanisms and Mechanical Philosophy. Routledge. pp. 144-156.
    In this chapter we examine the relation between mechanisms and laws/counterfactuals by revisiting the main notions of mechanism found in the literature. We distinguish between two different conceptions of ‘mechanism’: mechanisms-of underlie or constitute a causal process; mechanisms-for are complex systems that function so as to produce a certain behavior. According to some mechanists, a mechanism fulfills both of these roles simultaneously. The main argument of the chapter is that there is an asymmetrical dependence between both kinds of mechanisms and (...)
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  29.  8
    The Fine Structure of Inference to the Best Explanation.Stathis Psillos - 2007 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 74 (2):441-448.
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  30.  33
    Conventions and Relations in Poincaré’s Philosophy of Science.Stathis Psillos - unknown
    How was Poincaré’s conventionalism connected to his relationism? How, in other words, is it the case that the basic principles of geometry and mechanics are, ultimately, freely chosen conventions and that, at the same time, science reveals to us the structure of the world? This lengthy study aims to address these questions by setting Poincaré’s philosophy within its historical context and by examining in detail Poincaré’s developing views about the status and role of conventions in science and the status and (...)
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  31.  11
    Scientific Realism: How Science Tracks the Truth.Stathis Psillos - 2004 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 68 (2):495-497.
  32.  64
    Making Contact with Molecules: On Perrin and Achinstein.Stathis Psillos - 2011 - In Gregory J. Morgan (ed.), Philosophy of Science Matters: The Philosophy of Peter Achinstein. Oxford University Press. pp. 177.
  33. The Scope and Limits of the No Miracles Argument1.Stathis Psillos - 2011 - In Dennis Dieks, Wenceslao Gonzalo, Thomas Uebel, Stephan Hartmann & Marcel Weber (eds.), Explanation, Prediction, and Confirmation. Springer. pp. 23--35.
  34. Scientific Realism and Metaphysics.Stathis Psillos - 2005 - Ratio 18 (4):385–404.
    When we think of scientific realism, there seem to be to ways to conceive of what it is about. The first is to see it as a view about scientific theories; the second is to see it as a view about the world. Some philosophers, most typically from Australia, think that the second way is the correct way. Scientific realism, they argue, is a metaphysical thesis: it asserts the reality of some types of entity, most typically, unobservable entities. I agree (...)
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  35.  62
    Rani Lill Anjum & Stephen Mumford What Tends to Be: The Philosophy of Dispositional Modality. London & New York: Routledge, Hbk Pp. X+193. [REVIEW]Stathis Psillos & Stavros Ioannidis - 2019 - Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews 201903.
    There seems to be widespread agreement that there are two modal values: necessity and possibility. X is necessary if it is not possible that not-X; and Y is possible if it is not necessary that not-Y. In their path-breaking book, Rani Lill Anjum and Stephen Mumford defend the radical idea that there is a third modal value, weaker than necessity and stronger than possibility. This third value is dubbed 'dispositional modality' (DM) or 'tendency' and is taken to be an irreducible (...)
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  36.  53
    Broken Structuralism.Stathis Psillos - unknown
    This essay offers a critical review of Steven French's The Structure of the World: Metaphysics & Representation. I challenge some of the reasons that French adduces against ‘thick’ objects as well as his conception of laws—which I think is problematic.
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  37. Inference to the Best Explanation and Bayesianism.Stathis Psillos - 2004 - Vienna Circle Institute Yearbook 11:83-91.
    Niiniluoto has offered an incisive and comprehensive review of the recent debates about abduction. There is little on which I disagree with him. So, in this commentary, I shall try to cast some doubts to the attempts to render Inference to the Best Explanation within a Bayesian framework.
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  38.  52
    How Not to Defend Constructive Empiricism: A Rejoinder.Stathis Psillos - 1997 - Philosophical Quarterly 47 (188):369-372.
    No doubt my earlier paper has struck a sensitive nerve among existing and prospective constructive empiricists – hence their united reply.1 I shall, for brevity, introduce an imaginary single author of their critique and call him CE. In this rejoinder, I try to show, first, that CE’s counter-arguments do not refute my original arguments; and second, that a claim of CE’s paper is very close to the conclusion of my original paper. A central point of my original piece was that (...)
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  39. Carnap, the Ramsey-Sentence and Realistic Empiricism.Stathis Psillos - 2000 - Erkenntnis 52 (2):253-279.
    Based on archival material from the Carnap and FeiglArchives, this paper re-examines Carnap's approach tothe issue of scientific realism in the 1950s and theearly 1960s. It focuses on Carnap's re-invention ofthe Ramsey-sentence approach to scientific theoriesand argues that Carnap wanted to entertain a genuineneutral stance in the realism-instrumentalism debate.Following Grover Maxwell, it claims that Carnap'sposition may be best understood as a version of`structural realism'. However, thus understood,Carnap's position faces the challenge that Newmanraised against Russell's structuralism: the claim thatthe knowledge of (...)
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  40.  80
    Evidence: Wanted, Alive or Dead.Stathis Psillos - 2015 - Canadian Journal of Philosophy 45 (3):357-381.
    This paper is meant to link the philosophical debate concerning the underdetermination of theories by evidence with a rather significant socio-political issue that has been taking place in Canada over the past few years: the so-called ‘death of evidence’ controversy. It places this debate within a broader philosophical framework by discussing the connection between evidence and theory; by bringing out the role of epistemic values in the so-called scientific method; and by examining the role of social values in science. While (...)
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  41. How to Do Things with Theories: An Interactive View of Language and Models in Science.Robin F. Hendry & Stathis Psillos - 2007 - In Jerzy Brzeziński, Andrzej Klawiter, Theo A. F. Kuipers, Krzysztof Łastowski, Katarzyna Paprzycka & Piotr Przybysz (eds.), The Courage of Doing Philosophy: Essays Dedicated to Leszek Nowak. Rodopi. pp. 123--157.
  42. What Powers Are Not.Elina Pechlivanidi & Stathis Psillos - unknown
    This paper analyses and criticizes the idea that powers are representable as vectors. Mumford and Anjum have recently developed a vector model of powers as part of their account of dispositional causation. The purpose of this model is to represent dispositionality, i.e. a sui generis type of modality introduced by their power-based ontology, as well as to explain various features of their account of causation. In this paper, we criticise both the claim that powers are vectors and the concomitant claim (...)
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  43.  19
    Scientific Realism and the 'Pessimistic Induction'.Stathis Psillos - 1996 - Philosophy of Science 63 (5):S306-S314.
    Over the last two decades, the debate over scientific realism has been dominated by two arguments that pull in contrary directions: the 'no miracle' argument and the 'pessimistic induction'. The latter suggests that the historical record destroys the realist's belief in an explanatory connection between truthlikeness and genuine empirical success. This paper analyzes the structure of the 'pessimistic induction', presents a move--the divide et impera move--that neutralizes it, and motivates a substantive yet realistic version of scientific realism. This move is (...)
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  44.  16
    Resisting Scientific Anti-Realism: K. Brad Wray. Resisting Scientific Realism. Cambridge University Press, 2018, 224 Pp, $105 HB. [REVIEW]Stathis Psillos - 2020 - Metascience 29 (1):17-24.
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  45. Philosophy of Language and the Challenge to Scientific Realism. By Christopher Norris. [REVIEW]Stathis Psillos - 2005 - Journal of Critical Realism 4 (1):255-261.
  46. Semirealism or Neo-Aristotelianism?Stathis Psillos - 2013 - Erkenntnis 78 (1):29 - 38.
    Chakravartty claims that science does not imply any specific metaphysical theory of the world. In this sense, science is consistent with both neo-Aristotelianism and neo-Humeanism. But, along with many others, he thinks that a neo-Aristotelian outlook best suits science. In other words, neo-Aristotelianism is supposed to win on the basis of an inference to the best explanation (IBE). I fail to see how IBE can be used to favour neo-Aristotelianism over neo-Humeanism. In this essay, I aim to do two things. (...)
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  47.  59
    Scientific Realism: Between Platonism and Nominalism.Stathis Psillos - 2010 - Philosophy of Science 77 (5):947-958.
  48. Thinking About the Ultimate Argument for Realism.Stathis Psillos - 2003 - In Colin Cheyne & John Worrall (eds.), Rationality and Reality: Conversations with Alan Musgrave. Springer. pp. 133--156.
    The aim of this paper is to rebut two major criticisms of the No-Miracles Argument for Realism. The first comes from Musgrave. The second comes from Colin Howson. Interestingly enough, these criticisms are the mirror image of each other. Yet, they both point to the conclusion that NMA is fallacious. Musgrave’s misgiving against NMA is that if it is seen as an inference to the best explanation, it is deductively fallacious. Being a deductivist, he tries to correct it by turning (...)
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  49.  52
    Mechanisms in Practice: A Methodological Approach.Stavros Ioannidis & Stathis Psillos - 2018 - Journal of Evaluation in Clinical Practice 24 (5):1177-1183.
    In this paper we offer a minimal characterisation of the concept of mechanism in biomedicine, according to which a mechanism is a theoretically described causal pathway. We argue that this conceptionan be drawn from scientific practice, as illustrated by how a central biological and biomedical mechanism, the mechanism of apoptosis, was first identified and characterised. We will use the example of cytological and biochemical theoretical descriptions of the mechanism of apoptosis to draw lessons about the meaning of the concept of (...)
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  50. The Present State of the Scientific Realism Debate.Stathis Psillos - 2003 - In Peter Clark & Katherine Hawley (eds.), Philosophy of Science Today. Clarendon Press.
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