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  1. Review of 'Theoretical Virtues in Science' by Samuel Schindler. [REVIEW]Darren Bradley - manuscript
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  2. String Theory, Non-Empirical Theory Assessment, and the Context of Pursuit.Frank Cabrera - 2021 - Synthese 198:3671–3699.
    In this paper, I offer an analysis of the radical disagreement over the adequacy of string theory. The prominence of string theory despite its notorious lack of empirical support is sometimes explained as a troubling case of science gone awry, driven largely by sociological mechanisms such as groupthink (e.g. Smolin 2006). Others, such as Dawid (2013), explain the controversy by positing a methodological revolution of sorts, according to which string theorists have quietly turned to nonempirical methods of theory assessment given (...)
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  3. Longino's Concept of Values in Science.Miroslav Vacura - 2021 - Teorie Vědy / Theory of Science 43 (1):3-31.
    While classical neo-positivists reject any role for traditionally understood values in science, Kuhn identifies five specific values as criteria for assessing a scientific theory; this approach has been further developed by several other authors. This paper focuses on Helen Longino, who presents a significant contemporary critique of Kuhn’s concept. The most controversial aspect of Longino’s position is arguably her claim that the criterion of empirical adequacy is the least defensible basis for assessing theories. The de-emphasizing of the importance of external (...)
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  4. Philosophers Should Prefer Simpler Theories.Darren Bradley - 2018 - Philosophical Studies 175 (12):3049-3067.
    Should philosophers prefer simpler theories? Huemer (Philos Q 59:216–236, 2009) argues that the reasons to prefer simpler theories in science do not apply in philosophy. I will argue that Huemer is mistaken—the arguments he marshals for preferring simpler theories in science can also be applied in philosophy. Like Huemer, I will focus on the philosophy of mind and the nominalism/Platonism debate. But I want to engage with the broader issue of whether simplicity is relevant to philosophy.
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  5. From Tapestry to Loom: Broadening the Perspective on Values in Science.Heather Douglas - 2018 - Philosophy, Theory, and Practice in Biology 10 (8).
    After raising some minor philosophical points about Kevin Elliott’s A Tapestry of Values (2017), I argue that we should expand on the themes raised in the book and that philosophers of science need to pay as much attention to the loom of science (i.e., the institutional structures which guide the pursuit of science) as the tapestry of science. The loom of science includes such institutional aspects as patents, funding sources, and evaluation regimes that shape how science gets pursued, and that (...)
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  6. Duality and Ontology.Baptiste Le Bihan & James Read - 2018 - Philosophy Compass 13 (12):e12555.
    A ‘duality’ is a formal mapping between the spaces of solutions of two empirically equivalent theories. In recent times, dualities have been found to be pervasive in string theory and quantum field theory. Naïvely interpreted, duality-related theories appear to make very different ontological claims about the world—differing in e.g. space-time structure, fundamental ontology, and mereological structure. In light of this, duality-related theories raise questions familiar from discussions of underdetermination in the philosophy of science: in the presence of dual theories, what (...)
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  7. Values and Credibility in Science Communication.Janet Michaud & John Turri - 2018 - Logos and Episteme 9 (2):199-214.
    Understanding science requires appreciating the values it presupposes and its social context. Both the values that scientists hold and their social context can affect scientific communication. Philosophers of science have recently begun studying scientific communication, especially as it relates to public policy. Some have proposed “guiding principles for communicating scientific findings” to promote trust and objectivity. This paper contributes to this line of research in a novel way using behavioural experimentation. We report results from three experiments testing judgments about the (...)
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  8. Objectivity and Bias.Gordon Belot - 2017 - Mind 126 (503):655-695.
    The twin goals of this essay are: to investigate a family of cases in which the goal of guaranteed convergence to the truth is beyond our reach; and to argue that each of three strands prominent in contemporary epistemological thought has undesirable consequences when confronted with the existence of such problems. Approaches that follow Reichenbach in taking guaranteed convergence to the truth to be the characteristic virtue of good methods face a vicious closure problem. Approaches on which there is a (...)
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  9. Simplicity as a Criterion of Theory Choice in Metaphysics.Andrew Brenner - 2017 - Philosophical Studies 174 (11):2687-2707.
    Metaphysicians frequently appeal to the idea that theoretical simplicity is truth conducive in metaphysics, in the sense that, all other things being equal, simpler metaphysical theories are more likely to be true. In this paper I defend the notion that theoretical simplicity is truth conducive in metaphysics, against several recent objections. I do not give any direct arguments for the thesis that simplicity is truth conducive in metaphysics, since I am aware of no such arguments. I do argue, however, that (...)
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  10. An Empirical Route to Logical 'Conventionalism'.Eugene Chua - 2017 - In Alexandru Baltag, Jeremy Seligman & Tomoyuki Yamada (eds.), Logic, Rationality, and Interaction. LORI 2017. Lecture Notes in Computer Science, vol 10455. Berlin, Heidelberg: Springer. pp. 631-636.
    The laws of classical logic are taken to be logical truths, which in turn are taken to hold objectively. However, we might question our faith in these truths: why are they true? One general approach, proposed by Putnam [8] and more recently Dickson [3] or Maddy [5], is to adopt empiricism about logic. On this view, logical truths are true because they are true of the world alone – this gives logical truths an air of objectivity. Putnam and Dickson both (...)
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  11. Aesthetic Values in Science.Milena Ivanova - 2017 - Philosophy Compass 12 (10):e12433.
    Scientists often use aesthetic values in the evaluation and choice of theories. Aesthetic values are not only regarded as leading to practically more useful theories but are often taken to stand in a special epistemic relation to the truth of a theory such that the aesthetic merit of a theory is evidence of its truth. This paper explores what aesthetic considerations influence scientists' reasoning, how such aesthetic values relate to the utility of a scientific theory, and how one can justify (...)
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  12. Underdetermination and Models in Biology.Petr Jedlička - 2017 - Teorie Vědy / Theory of Science 39 (2):167-186.
    Since the early 20th century underdetermination has been one of the most contentious problems in the philosophy of science. In this article I relate the underdetermination problem to models in biology and defend two main lines of argument: First, the use of models in this discipline lends strong support to the underdetermination thesis. Second, models and theories in biology are not determined strictly by the logic of representation of the studied phenomena, but also by other constraints such as research traditions, (...)
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  13. Evidential Holism.Joe Morrison - 2017 - Philosophy Compass 12 (6):e12417.
    Evidential holism begins with something like the claim that “it is only jointly as a theory that scientific statements imply their observable consequences.” This is the holistic claim that Elliott Sober tells us is an “unexceptional observation”. But variations on this “unexceptional” claim feature as a premise in a series of controversial arguments for radical conclusions, such as that there is no analytic or synthetic distinction that the meaning of a sentence cannot be understood without understanding the whole language of (...)
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  14. On Probability and Cosmology: Inference Beyond Data?Martin Sahlen - 2017 - In K. Chamcham, J. Silk, J. D. Barrow & S. Saunders (eds.), The Philosophy of Cosmology. Cambridge, UK:
    Modern scientific cosmology pushes the boundaries of knowledge and the knowable. This is prompting questions on the nature of scientific knowledge. A central issue is what defines a 'good' model. When addressing global properties of the Universe or its initial state this becomes a particularly pressing issue. How to assess the probability of the Universe as a whole is empirically ambiguous, since we can examine only part of a single realisation of the system under investigation: at some point, data will (...)
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  15. Theories of Properties and Ontological Theory-Choice: An Essay in Metaontology.Christopher Gibilisco - 2016 - Dissertation, University of Nebraska-Lincoln
    This dissertation argues that we have no good reason to accept any one theory of properties as correct. To show this, I present three possible bases for theory-choice in the properties debate: coherence, explanatory adequacy, and explanatory value. Then I argue that none of these bases resolve the underdetermination of our choice between theories of properties. First, I argue considerations about coherence cannot resolve the underdetermination, because no traditional theory of properties is obviously incoherent. Second, I argue considerations of explanatory (...)
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  16. What’s Wrong With Aim-Oriented Empiricism?Nicholas Maxwell - 2015 - Acta Baltica Historiae Et Philosophiae Scientiarum 3 (2):5-31.
    For four decades it has been argued that we need to adopt a new conception of science called aim-oriented empiricism. This has far-reaching implications and repercussions for science, the philosophy of science, academic inquiry in general, conception of rationality, and how we go about attempting to make progress towards as good a world as possible. Despite these far-reaching repercussions, aim-oriented empiricism has so far received scant attention from philosophers of science. Here, sixteen objections to the validity of the argument for (...)
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  17. Explanatory Failures of Relative Realism.Seungbae Park - 2015 - Epistemologia 38 (1):16-28.
    Scientific realism (Putnam 1975; Psillos 1999) and relative realism (Mizrahi 2013) claim that successful scientific theories are approximately true and comparatively true, respectively. A theory is approximately true if and only if it is close to the truth. A theory is comparatively true if and only if it is closer to the truth than its competitors are. I argue that relative realism is more skeptical about the claims of science than it initially appears to be and that it can explain (...)
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  18. Theory Choice and Social Choice: Okasha Versus Sen.Jacob Stegenga - 2015 - Mind 124 (493):263-277.
    A platitude that took hold with Kuhn is that there can be several equally good ways of balancing theoretical virtues for theory choice. Okasha recently modelled theory choice using technical apparatus from the domain of social choice: famously, Arrow showed that no method of social choice can jointly satisfy four desiderata, and each of the desiderata in social choice has an analogue in theory choice. Okasha suggested that one can avoid the Arrow analogue for theory choice by employing a strategy (...)
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  19. Underdetermination and Theory-Ladenness Against Impartiality.Nicla Vassallo - 2015 - ProtoSociology 32:216-234.
    The aim of this paper is to show that science, understood as pure research, ought not to be affected by non-epistemic values and thus to defend the traditional ideal of value-free science. First, we will trace the distinction between science and technology, arguing that science should be identified with pure research and that any non-epistemic concern should be di­rected toward technology and technological research. Second, we will examine different kinds of values and the roles they can play in scientific research (...)
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  20. Bridging a Fault Line: On Underdetermination and the Ampliative Adequacy of Competing Theories.Guy Axtell - 2014 - In Abrol Fairweather (ed.), Virtue Epistemology Naturalized. Synthese Library. pp. 227-245.
    This paper pursues Ernan McMullin‘s claim ("Virtues of a Good Theory" and related papers on theory-choice) that talk of theory virtues exposes a fault-line in philosophy of science separating "very different visions" of scientific theorizing. It argues that connections between theory virtues and virtue epistemology are substantive rather than ornamental, since both address underdetermination problems in science, helping us to understand the objectivity of theory choice and more specifically what I term the ampliative adequacy of scientific theories. The paper argues (...)
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  21. A New Direction for Science and Values.Daniel J. Hicks - 2014 - Synthese 191 (14):3271-95.
    The controversy over the old ideal of “value-free science” has cooled significantly over the past decade. Many philosophers of science now agree that even ethical and political values may play a substantial role in all aspects of scientific inquiry. Consequently, in the last few years, work in science and values has become more specific: Which values may influence science, and in which ways? Or, how do we distinguish illegitimate from illegitimate kinds of influence? In this paper, I argue that this (...)
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  22. Catching the WAVE: The Weight-Adjusting Account of Values and Evidence.Boaz Miller - 2014 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 47:69-80.
    It is commonly argued that values “fill the logical gap” of underdetermination of theory by evidence, namely, values affect our choice between two or more theories that fit the same evidence. The underdetermination model, however, does not exhaust the roles values play in evidential reasoning. I introduce WAVE – a novel account of the logical relations between values and evidence. WAVE states that values influence evidential reasoning by adjusting evidential weights. I argue that the weight-adjusting role of values is distinct (...)
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  23. Anastasios Brenner: Raison Scientifique Et Valeurs Humaines: Essai Sur les Critères du Choix Objectif[REVIEW]Howard Sankey - 2013 - Metascience 22 (1):169-172.
    This article is a book review of Anastasios Brenner's book Raison Scientifique et Valeurs Humaines.
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  24. Duhem–Quine Virtue Epistemology.Abrol Fairweather - 2012 - Synthese 187 (2):673-692.
    The Duhem-Quine Thesis is the claim that it is impossible to test a scientific hypothesis in isolation because any empirical test requires assuming the truth of one or more auxiliary hypotheses. This is taken by many philosophers, and is assumed here, to support the further thesis that theory choice is underdetermined by empirical evidence. This inquiry is focused strictly on the axiological commitments engendered in solutions to underdetermination, specifically those of Pierre Duhem and W. V. Quine. Duhem resolves underdetermination by (...)
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  25. The Value(s) of a Story: Theories, Models and Cognitive Values.Isabelle Peschard - 2007 - Principia 11 (2):151-169.
    This paper aims 1) to introduce the notion of theoretical story as a resource and source of constraint for the construction and assessment of models of phenomena; 2) to show the relevance of this notion for a better understanding of the role and nature of values in scientific activity. The reflection on the role of values and value judgments in scientific activity should be attentive, I will argue, to the distinction between models and the theoretical story that guides and constrains (...)
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  26. Non-Empirical Requirements Scientific Theories Must Satisfy: Simplicity, Unification, Explanation, Beauty.Nicholas Maxwell - 2004 - PhilSci Archive.
    A scientific theory, in order to be accepted as a part of theoretical scientific knowledge, must satisfy both empirical and non-empirical requirements, the latter having to do with simplicity, unity, explanatory character, symmetry, beauty. No satisfactory, generally accepted account of such non-empirical requirements has so far been given. Here, a proposal is put forward which, it is claimed, makes a contribution towards solving the problem. This proposal concerns unity of physical theory. In order to satisfy the non-empirical requirement of unity, (...)
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  27. A New Conception of Science.Nicholas Maxwell - 2000 - Physics World 13 (8):17-18.
    When scientists choose one theory over another, they reject out of hand all those that are not simple, unified or explanatory. Yet the orthodox view of science is that evidence alone should determine what can be accepted. Nicholas Maxwell thinks he has a way out of the dilemma.
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  28. Is Fertility Virtuous in its Own Right?Daniel Nolan - 1999 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 50 (2):265-282.
    the virtues which are desirable for scientific theories to possess. In this paper I discuss the several species of theoretical virtues called 'fertility', and argue in each case that the desirability of 'fertility' can be explicated in terms of other, more fundamental theoretical virtues.
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  29. Quantitative Parsimony.Daniel Nolan - 1997 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 48 (3):329-343.
    In this paper, I motivate the view that quantitative parsimony is a theoretical virtue: that is, we should be concerned not only to minimize the number of kinds of entities postulated by our theories (i. e. maximize qualitative parsimony), but we should also minimize the number of entities postulated which fall under those kinds. In order to motivate this view, I consider two cases from the history of science: the postulation of the neutrino and the proposal of Avogadro's hypothesis. I (...)
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  30. Observation: Theory-Laden, Theory-Neutral or Theory-Free?William A. Rottschaefer - 1976 - Southern Journal of Philosophy 14 (4):499-509.
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