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  1. Scientific Theories as Bayesian Nets: Structure and Evidence Sensitivity.Patrick Grim, Frank Seidl, Calum McNamara, Hinton Rago, Isabell Astor, Caroline Diaso & Peter Ryner - forthcoming - Philosophy of Science.
    We model scientific theories as Bayesian networks. Nodes carry credences and function as abstract representations of propositions within the structure. Directed links carry conditional probabilities and represent connections between those propositions. Updating is Bayesian across the network as a whole. The impact of evidence at one point within a scientific theory can have a very different impact on the network than does evidence of the same strength at a different point. A Bayesian model allows us to envisage and analyze the (...)
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  2. Epistemic Dependence & Understanding: Reformulating Through Symmetry.Josh Hunt - forthcoming - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science.
    Science frequently gives us multiple, compatible ways of solving the same problem or formulating the same theory. These compatible formulations change our understanding of the world, despite providing the same explanations. According to what I call "conceptualism," reformulations change our understanding by clarifying the epistemic structure of theories. I illustrate conceptualism by analyzing a typical example of symmetry-based reformulation in chemical physics. This case study poses a problem for "explanationism," the rival thesis that differences in understanding require ontic explanatory differences. (...)
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  3. Discovering Patterns: On the Norms of Mechanistic Inquiry.Lena Kästner & Philipp Haueis - forthcoming - Erkenntnis 3:1-26.
    What kinds of norms constrain mechanistic discovery and explanation? In the mechanistic literature, the norms for good explanations are directly derived from answers to the metaphysical question of what explanations are. Prominent mechanistic accounts thus emphasize either ontic or epistemic norms. Still, mechanistic philosophers on both sides agree that there is no sharp distinction between the processes of discovery and explanation. Thus, it seems reasonable to expect that ontic and epistemic accounts of explanation will be accompanied by ontic and epistemic (...)
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  4. Constitutive Elements in Science Beyond Physics: The Case of the Hardy–Weinberg Principle.Michele Luchetti - forthcoming - Synthese.
    In this paper, I present a new framework supporting the claim that some elements in science play a constitutive function, with the aim of overcoming some limitations of Friedman's (2001) account. More precisely, I focus on what I consider to be the gradualism implicit in Friedman's interpretation of the constitutive a priori, that is, the fact that it seems to allow for degrees of 'constitutivity'. I tease out such gradualism by showing that the constitutive character Friedman aims to track can (...)
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  5. Kuhn's Kantian Dimensions.Lydia Patton - forthcoming - In K. Brad Wray (ed.), Interpreting Kuhn. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
    Two questions should be considered when assessing the Kantian dimensions of Kuhn’s thought. First, was Kuhn himself a Kantian? Second, did Kuhn have an influence on later Kantians and neo-Kantians? Kuhn mentioned Kant as an inspiration, and his focus on explanatory frameworks and on the conditions of knowledge appear Kantian. But Kuhn’s emphasis on learning; on activities of symbolization; on paradigms as practical, not just theoretical; and on the social and community aspects of scientific research as constitutive of scientific reasoning, (...)
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  6. Realism and Explanatory Perspectivism.Juha Saatsi - forthcoming - In Michela Massimi & C. D. McCoy (eds.), Understanding Perspectivism: Scientific Challenges and Methodological Prospects. New York: Routledge.
    This chapter defends a (minimal) realist conception of progress in scientific understanding in the face of the ubiquitous plurality of perspectives in science. The argument turns on the counterfactual-dependence framework of explanation and understanding, which is illustrated and evidenced with reference to different explanations of the rainbow.
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  7. Evolving Concepts of 'Hierarchy' in Systems Neuroscience.Philipp Haueis & Daniel Burnston - 2021 - In Fabrizio Calzavarini & Marco Viola (eds.), Neural Mechanisms: New Challenges in the Philosophy of Neuroscience.
    The notion of “hierarchy” is one of the most commonly posited organizational principles in systems neuroscience. To this date, however, it has received little philosophical analysis. This is unfortunate, because the general concept of hierarchy ranges over two approaches with distinct empirical commitments, and whose conceptual relations remain unclear. We call the first approach the “representational hierarchy” view, which posits that an anatomical hierarchy of feed-forward, feed-back, and lateral connections underlies a signal processing hierarchy of input-output relations. Because the representational (...)
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  8. Strategic Conceptual Engineering for Epistemic and Social Aims.Ingo Brigandt & Esther Rosario - 2020 - In Alexis Burgess, Herman Cappelen & David Plunkett (eds.), Conceptual Engineering and Conceptual Ethics. Oxford: Oxford University Press. pp. 100-124.
    Examining previous discussions on how to construe the concepts of gender and race, we advocate what we call strategic conceptual engineering. This is the employment of a (possibly novel) concept for specific epistemic or social aims, concomitant with the openness to use a different concept (e.g., of race) for other purposes. We illustrate this approach by sketching three distinct concepts of gender and arguing that all of them are needed, as they answer to different social aims. The first concept serves (...)
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  9. Theories as Recipes: Third-Order Virtue and Vice.Michaela Markham McSweeney - 2020 - Philosophical Studies 177 (2):391-411.
    A basic way of evaluating metaphysical theories is to ask whether they give satisfying answers to the questions they set out to resolve. I propose an account of “third-order” virtue that tells us what it takes for certain kinds of metaphysical theories to do so. We should think of these theories as recipes. I identify three good-making features of recipes and show that they translate to third-order theoretical virtues. I apply the view to two theories—mereological universalism and plenitudinous platonism—and draw (...)
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  10. ‘Data’ in the Royal Society's Philosophical Transactions, 1665–1886.Chris Meyns - 2019 - Notes and Records: The Royal Society Journal of the History of Science.
    Was there a concept of data before the so-called ‘data revolution’? This paper contributes to the history of the concept of data by investigating uses of the term ‘data’ in texts of the Royal Society's Philosophical Transactions for the period 1665–1886. It surveys how the notion enters the journal as a technical term in mathematics, and charts how over time it expands into various other scientific fields, including Earth sciences, physics and chemistry. The paper argues that in these texts the (...)
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  11. New Water in Old Buckets: Hypothetical and Counterfactual Reasoning in Mach’s Economy of Science.Lydia Patton - 2019 - In Friedrich Stadler (ed.), Ernst Mach – Life, Work, Influence. Springer Verlag.
    Ernst Mach’s defense of relativist theories of motion in Die Mechanik involves a well-known criticism of Newton’s theory appealing to absolute space, and of Newton’s “bucket” experiment. Sympathetic readers (Norton 1995) and critics (Stein 1967, 1977) agree that there’s a tension in Mach’s view: he allows for some constructed scientific concepts, but not others, and some kinds of reasoning about unobserved phenomena, but not others. Following Banks (2003), I argue that this tension can be interpreted as a constructive one, springing (...)
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  12. Thomas Kuhn's Theory of Rationality.Paulo Pirozelli - 2019 - Manuscrito 42 (3):1-46.
    According to a widespread view, Thomas Kuhn’s model of scientific development would relegate rationality to a second plane, openly flirting with irrationalist positions. The intent of this article is to clarify this aspect of his thinking and refute this common interpretation. I begin by analysing the nature of values in Kuhn’s model and how they are connected to rationality. For Kuhn, a theory is chosen rationally when: i) the evaluation is based on values characteristic of science; ii) a theory is (...)
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  13. Three Problems with Kuhn's Concept of "Crisis".Paulo Pirozelli - 2019 - Enunciação 4 (2):135-147.
    The aim of the article is to explore Thomas Kuhn’s notion of “scientific crisis” and indicate some difficulties with it. First, Kuhn defines “crisis” through the notion of “anomaly” but distinguishes these concepts in two different ways: categorically and quantitatively. Both of these alternatives face considerable problems. The categorical definition relies on a distinction between “discoveries” and “inventions” that, as Kuhn himself admits, is artificial. The quantitative definition states that crises are a deeper, more profound type of anomaly. Kuhn, however, (...)
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  14. A Compatibility Law and the Classification of Theory Change.Patrick Fraser & Ameer Sarwar - 2018 - Scientonomy: Journal for the Science of Science 2:67-82.
    The current formulation of the zeroth law (the law of compatibility) is marred with a number of theoretical problems, which necessitate its reformulation. In this paper, we propose that compatibility is an independent stance that can be taken towards epistemic elements of all types. We then provide a new definition of compatibility criteria to reflect this change. We show that the content of the zeroth law is deducible from our definition of compatibility. Instead of a static law of compatibility, we (...)
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  15. The (Lack of) Evidence for the Kuhnian Image of Science.Moti Mizrahi - 2018 - Social Epistemology Review and Reply Collective 7 (7):19-24.
    In their reviews of The Kuhnian Image of Science: Time for a Decisive Transformation? (2018), both Markus Arnold (2018) and Amanda Bryant (2018) complain that the contributors who criticize Kuhn’s theory of scientific change have misconstrued his philosophy of science and they praise those who seek to defend the Kuhnian image of science. In what follows, then, I would like to address their claims about misconstruing Kuhn’s theory of scientific change. But my focus here, as in the book, will be (...)
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  16. The Kuhnian Image of Science: Time for a Decisive Transformation?Moti Mizrahi (ed.) - 2018 - London: Rowman & Littlefield.
    More than 50 years after the publication of Thomas Kuhn’s seminal book, The Structure of Scientific Revolutions, this volume assesses the adequacy of the Kuhnian model in explaining certain aspects of science, particularly the social and epistemic aspects of science. One argument put forward is that there are no good reasons to accept Kuhn’s incommensurability thesis, according to which scientific revolutions involve the replacement of theories with conceptually incompatible ones. Perhaps, therefore, it is time for another “decisive transformation in the (...)
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  17. The Aesthetics of Theory Selection and the Logics of Art.Ian O’Loughlin & Kate McCallum - 2018 - Philosophy of Science (2):325-343.
    Philosophers of science discuss whether theory selection depends on aesthetic judgments or criteria, and whether these putatively aesthetic features are genuinely extra-epistemic. As examples, judgments involving criteria such as simplicity and symmetry are often cited. However, other theory selection criteria, such as fecundity, coherence, internal consistency, and fertility, more closely match those criteria used in art contexts and by scholars working in aesthetics. Paying closer attention to the way these criteria are used in art contexts allows us to understand some (...)
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  18. Scientific Revolutions, Specialization and the Discovery of the Structure of DNA: Toward a New Picture of the Development of the Sciences.Politi Vincenzo - 2018 - Synthese 195 (5):2267-2293.
    In his late years, Thomas Kuhn became interested in the process of scientific specialization, which does not seem to possess the destructive element that is characteristic of scientific revolutions. It therefore makes sense to investigate whether and how Kuhn’s insights about specialization are consistent with, and actually fit, his model of scientific progress through revolutions. In this paper, I argue that the transition toward a new specialty corresponds to a revolutionary change for the group of scientists involved in such a (...)
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  19. Scientific Progress: Why Getting Closer to Truth Is Not Enough.Moti Mizrahi - 2017 - International Studies in the Philosophy of Science 31 (4):415-419.
    ABSTRACTThis discussion note aims to contribute to the ongoing debate over the nature of scientific progress. I argue against the semantic view of scientific progress, according to which scientific progress consists in approximation to truth or increasing verisimilitude. If the semantic view of scientific progress were correct, then scientists would make scientific progress simply by arbitrarily adding true disjuncts to their hypotheses or theories. Given that it is not the case that scientists could make scientific progress simply by arbitrarily adding (...)
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  20. Is It Possible to Give Scientific Solutions to Grand Challenges? On the Idea of Grand Challenges for Life Science Research.Sophia Efstathiou - 2016 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C: Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences 56:46-61.
    This paper argues that challenges that are grand in scope such as "lifelong health and wellbeing", "climate action", or "food security" cannot be addressed through scientific research only. Indeed scientific research could inhibit addressing such challenges if scientific analysis constrains the multiple possible understandings of these challenges into already available scientific categories and concepts without translating between these and everyday concerns. This argument builds on work in philosophy of science and race to postulate a process through which non-scientific notions become (...)
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  21. Big Dreams for Small Creatures: Ilana and Eugene Rosenberg’s Path to the Hologenome Theory.Ehud Lamm - 2016 - In Oren Harman & Michael Dietrich (eds.), Dreamers, Visionaries, and Revolutionaries in the Life Sciences. Chicago University Press.
    A biographical sketch of the Hologenome Theory.
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  22. The Life of the Cortical Column: Opening the Domain of Functional Architecture of the Cortex.Haueis Philipp - 2016 - History and Philosophy of the Life Sciences 38 (3).
    The concept of the cortical column refers to vertical cell bands with similar response properties, which were initially observed by Vernon Mountcastle’s mapping of single cell recordings in the cat somatic cortex. It has subsequently guided over 50 years of neuroscientific research, in which fundamental questions about the modularity of the cortex and basic principles of sensory information processing were empirically investigated. Nevertheless, the status of the column remains controversial today, as skeptical commentators proclaim that the vertical cell bands are (...)
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  23. In Carnap’s Defense: A Survey on the Concept of a Linguistic Framework in Carnap’s Philosophy.Parzhad Torfehnezhad - 2016 - Abstracta 9 (1):03-30.
    The main task in this paper is to detail and investigate Carnap’s conception of a “linguistic framework”. On this basis, we will see whether Carnap’s dichotomies, such as the analytic-synthetic distinction, are to be construed as absolute/fundamental dichotomies or merely as relative dichotomies. I argue for a novel interpretation of Carnap’s conception of a LF and, on that basis, will show that, according to Carnap, all the dichotomies to be discussed are relative dichotomies; they depend on conventional decisions concerning the (...)
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  24. Kuhn’s Incommensurability Thesis: What’s the Argument?Moti Mizrahi - 2015 - Social Epistemology 29 (4):361-378.
    In this paper, I argue that there is neither valid deductive support nor strong inductive support for Kuhn’s incommensurability thesis. There is no valid deductive support for Kuhn’s incommensurability thesis because, from the fact that the reference of the same kind terms changes or discontinues from one theoretical framework to another, it does not necessarily follow that these two theoretical frameworks are taxonomically incommensurable. There is no strong inductive support for Kuhn’s incommensurability thesis, since there are rebutting defeaters against it (...)
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  25. Incommensurability and the Bonfire of the Meta-Theories: Response to Mizrahi.Lydia Patton - 2015 - Social Epistemology Review and Reply Collective 4 (7):51-58.
    Scientists working within a paradigm must play by the rules of the game of that paradigm in solving problems, and that is why incommensurability arises when the rules of the game change. If we deny the thesis of the priority of paradigms, then there is no good argument for the incommensurability of theories and thus for taxonomic incommensurability, because there is no invariant way to determine the set of results provable, puzzles solvable, and propositions cogently formulable under a given paradigm.
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  26. Meeting the Brain on its Own Terms.Philipp Haueis - 2014 - Frontiers in Human Neuroscience 815 (8).
    In contemporary human brain mapping, it is commonly assumed that the “mind is what the brain does”. Based on that assumption, task-based imaging studies of the last three decades measured differences in brain activity that are thought to reflect the exercise of human mental capacities (e.g., perception, attention, memory). With the advancement of resting state studies, tractography and graph theory in the last decade, however, it became possible to study human brain connectivity without relying on cognitive tasks or constructs. It (...)
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  27. The Normative Structure of Mathematization in Systematic Biology.Beckett Sterner & Scott Lidgard - 2014 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C: Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences 46 (1):44-54.
    We argue that the mathematization of science should be understood as a normative activity of advocating for a particular methodology with its own criteria for evaluating good research. As a case study, we examine the mathematization of taxonomic classification in systematic biology. We show how mathematization is a normative activity by contrasting its distinctive features in numerical taxonomy in the 1960s with an earlier reform advocated by Ernst Mayr starting in the 1940s. Both Mayr and the numerical taxonomists sought to (...)
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  28. Reference, Truth, and Biological Kinds.Marcel Weber - 2014 - In: J. Dutant, D. Fassio and A. Meylan (Eds.) Liber Amicorum Pascal Engel.
    This paper examines causal theories of reference with respect to how plausible an account they give of non-physical natural kind terms such as ‘gene’ as well as of the truth of the associated theoretical claims. I first show that reference fixism for ‘gene’ fails. By this, I mean the claim that the reference of ‘gene’ was stable over longer historical periods, for example, since the classical period of transmission genetics. Second, I show that the theory of partial reference does not (...)
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  29. Experiments and Research Programmes. Revisiting Vitalism/Non-Vitalism Debate in Early Twentieth Century.Bijoy Mukherjee - 2012 - Argument: Biannual Philosophical Journal 2 (1):171-198.
    Debates in the philosophy of science typically take place around issues such as realism and theory change. Recently, the debate has been reformulated to bring in the role of experiments in the context of theory change. As regards realism, Ian Hacking’s contribution has been to introduce ‘intervention’ as the basis of realism. He also proposed, following Imre Lakatos, to replace the issue of truth with progress and rationality. In this context we examine the case of the vitalism — reductionism debate (...)
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  30. Analogical Insight: Toward Unifying Categorization and Analogy.Eric Dietrich - 2010 - Cognitive Processing 11 (4):331-.
    The purpose of this paper is to present two kinds of analogical representational change, both occurring early in the analogy-making process, and then, using these two kinds of change, to present a model unifying one sort of analogy-making and categorization. The proposed unification rests on three key claims: (1) a certain type of rapid representational abstraction is crucial to making the relevant analogies (this is the first kind of representational change; a computer model is presented that demonstrates this kind of (...)
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  31. Building on Sellars: Concept Formation and Scientific Realism. [REVIEW]Tanya Kelley - 2008 - Metascience 17 (2):257-259.
    Harold Brown has written an ambitious work, which traces the formation of concepts in individuals and cultures, examines case studies of concepts in calculus, mathematics, biology and related fields, summarises important philosophical works on the theory of concepts, and seeks to reconcile scientific realism with conceptual change. Brown considers himself a scientific realist but concedes that this very label is one that depends on a long history of concepts that came before, and may indeed be superseded as conceptual change continues. (...)
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  32. Incommensurability and Cross-Language Communication.Xinli Wang - 2007 - Ashgate Publishing Ltd, England.
    Against the received translation-failure interpretation, this book presents a presuppositional interpretation of incommensurability, that is, the thesis of incommensurability as cross-language communication breakdown due to the incompatible metaphysical presuppositions underlying two competing presuppositional languages, such as scientific languages. This semantically sound, epistemologically well-established, and metaphysically profound interpretation not only affirms the tenability of the notion of incommensurability and confirms the reality of the phenomenon of incommensurability, but also makes some significant contributions to the discussion of many related issues, such as (...)
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  33. Presuppositional Languages and the Failure of Cross-Language Understanding.Xinli Wang - 2003 - Dialogue 42 (1):53-77.
    Why is mutual understanding between two substantially different comprehensive language communities often problematic and even unattainable? To answer this question, the author first introduces a notion of presuppositional languages. Based on the semantic structure of a presuppositional language, the author identifies a significant condition necessary for effective understanding of a language: the interpreter is able to effectively understand a language only if he/she is able to recognize and comprehend its metaphysical presuppositions. The essential role of the knowledge of metaphysical presuppositions (...)
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  34. Taxonomy, Truth-Value Gaps and Incommensurability: A Reconstruction of Kuhn's Taxonomic Interpretation of Incommensurability.Xinli Wang - 2002 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 33 (3):465-485.
    Kuhn's alleged taxonomic interpretation of incommensurability is grounded on an ill defined notion of untranslatability and is hence radically incomplete. To supplement it, I reconstruct Kuhn's taxonomic interpretation on the basis of a logical-semantic theory of taxonomy, a semantic theory of truth-value, and a truth-value conditional theory of cross-language communication. According to the reconstruction, two scientific languages are incommensurable when core sentences of one language, which have truth values when considered within its own context, lack truth values when considered within (...)
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  35. The Incommensurability Thesis.Howard Sankey - 1994 - Avebury.
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  36. Carving Nature at the Joints.Muhammad Ali Khalidi - 1993 - Philosophy of Science 60 (1):100-113.
    This paper discusses a philosophical issue in taxonomy. At least one philosopher has suggested thc taxonomic principle that scientific kinds are disjoint. An opposing position is dcfcndcd here by marshalling examples of nondisjoint categories which belong to different, cocxisting classification schcmcs. This dcnial of thc disjoinmcss principle can bc recast as thc claim that scientific classification is "int<-:rcst—rclativc". But why would anyone have held that scientific categories arc disjoint in the first place'? It is argued that this assumption is nccdcd (...)
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  37. Philosophy of Science and History of Science: A Productive Engagement.Eric Palmer - 1991 - Dissertation, University of California, San Diego
    Philosophy of science and history of science both have a significant relation to science itself; but what is their relation to each other? That question has been a focal point of philosophical and historical work throughout the second half of this century. An analysis and review of the progress made in dealing with this question, and especially that made in philosophy, is the focus of this thesis. Chapter one concerns logical positivist and empiricist approaches to philosophy of science, and the (...)
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