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  1. Formal Models of Scientific Inquiry in a Social Context: An Introduction.Dunja Šešelja, Christian Straßer & AnneMarie Borg - 2020 - Journal for General Philosophy of Science / Zeitschrift für Allgemeine Wissenschaftstheorie 51 (2):211-217.
    Formal models of scientific inquiry, aimed at capturing socio-epistemic aspects underlying the process of scientific research, have become an important method in formal social epistemology and philosophy of science. In this introduction to the special issue we provide a historical overview of the development of formal models of this kind and analyze their methodological contributions to discussions in philosophy of science. In particular, we show that their significance consists in different forms of ‘methodological iteration’ whereby the models initiate new lines (...)
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  • How Theories of Induction Can Streamline Measurements of Scientific Performance.Slobodan Perović & Vlasta Sikimić - 2020 - Journal for General Philosophy of Science / Zeitschrift für Allgemeine Wissenschaftstheorie 51 (2):267-291.
    We argue that inductive analysis and operational assessment of the scientific process can be justifiably and fruitfully brought together, whereby the citation metrics used in the operational analysis can effectively track the inductive dynamics and measure the research efficiency. We specify the conditions for the use of such inductive streamlining, demonstrate it in the cases of high energy physics experimentation and phylogenetic research, and propose a test of the method’s applicability.
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  • Evaluating Formal Models of Science.Michael Thicke - 2020 - Journal for General Philosophy of Science / Zeitschrift für Allgemeine Wissenschaftstheorie 51 (2):315-335.
    This paper presents an account of how to evaluate formal models of science: models and simulations in social epistemology designed to draw normative conclusions about the social structure of scientific research. I argue that such models should be evaluated according to their representational and predictive accuracy. Using these criteria and comparisons with familiar models from science, I argue that most formal models of science are incapable of supporting normative conclusions.
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  • A Mid-Level Approach to Modeling Scientific Communities.Audrey Harnagel - 2019 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 76:49-59.
    This paper provides an account of mid-level models, which calibrate highly theoretical agent-based models of scientific communities by incorporating empirical information from real-world systems. As a result, these models more closely correspond with real-world communities, and are better suited for informing policy decisions than extant how-possibly models. I provide an exemplar of a mid-level model of science funding allocation that incorporates bibliometric data from scientific publications and data generated from empirical studies of peer review into an epistemic landscape model. The (...)
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  • Vulnerability in Social Epistemic Networks.Emily Sullivan, Max Sondag, Ignaz Rutter, Wouter Meulemans, Scott Cunningham, Bettina Speckmann & Mark Alfano - forthcoming - International Journal of Philosophical Studies:1-23.
    Social epistemologists should be well-equipped to explain and evaluate the growing vulnerabilities associated with filter bubbles, echo chambers, and group polarization in social media. However, almost all social epistemology has been built for social contexts that involve merely a speaker-hearer dyad. Filter bubbles, echo chambers, and group polarization all presuppose much larger and more complex network structures. In this paper, we lay the groundwork for a properly social epistemology that gives the role and structure of networks their due. In particular, (...)
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  • Is Peer Review a Good Idea?Remco Heesen & Liam Kofi Bright - 2020 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science:axz029.
    Prepublication peer review should be abolished. We consider the effects that such a change will have on the social structure of science, paying particular attention to the changed incentive structure and the likely effects on the behaviour of individual scientists. We evaluate these changes from the perspective of epistemic consequentialism. We find that where the effects of abolishing prepublication peer review can be evaluated with a reasonable level of confidence based on presently available evidence, they are either positive or neutral. (...)
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  • Argumentative Landscapes: The Functions of Models in Social Epistemology.N. Emrah Aydinonat, Samuli Reijula & Petri Ylikoski - forthcoming - Synthese:1-27.
    We argue that the appraisal of models in social epistemology requires conceiving of them as argumentative devices, taking into account the argumentative context and adopting a family-of-models perspective. We draw up such an account and show how it makes it easier to see the value and limits of the use of models in social epistemology. To illustrate our points, we document and explicate the argumentative role of epistemic landscape models in social epistemology and highlight their limitations. We also claim that (...)
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  • Modeling the Social Organization of Science: Chasing Complexity Through Simulations.Carlo Martini & Manuela Fernández Pinto - 2017 - European Journal for Philosophy of Science 7 (2):221-238.
    At least since Kuhn’s Structure, philosophers have studied the influence of social factors in science’s pursuit of truth and knowledge. More recently, formal models and computer simulations have allowed philosophers of science and social epistemologists to dig deeper into the detailed dynamics of scientific research and experimentation, and to develop very seemingly realistic models of the social organization of science. These models purport to be predictive of the optimal allocations of factors, such as diversity of methods used in science, size (...)
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  • Centralized Funding and Epistemic Exploration.Shahar Avin - 2019 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 70 (3):629-656.
    Computer simulation of an epistemic landscape model, modified to include explicit representation of a centralized funding body, show the method of funding allocation has significant effects on communal trade-off between exploration and exploitation, with consequences for the community’s ability to generate significant truths. The results show this effect is contextual, and depends on the size of the landscape being explored, with funding that includes explicit random allocation performing significantly better than peer review on large landscapes. The article proposes a way (...)
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  • What Is the Epistemic Function of Highly Idealized Agent-Based Models of Scientific Inquiry?Daniel Frey & Dunja Šešelja - 2018 - Philosophy of the Social Sciences 48 (4):407-433.
    In this paper we examine the epistemic value of highly idealized agent-based models of social aspects of scientific inquiry. On the one hand, we argue that taking the results of such simulations as informative of actual scientific inquiry is unwarranted, at least for the class of models proposed in recent literature. Moreover, we argue that a weaker approach, which takes these models as providing only “how-possibly” explanations, does not help to improve their epistemic value. On the other hand, we suggest (...)
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  • Value of Cognitive Diversity in Science.Samuli Pöyhönen - 2017 - Synthese 194 (11):4519-4540.
    When should a scientific community be cognitively diverse? This article presents a model for studying how the heterogeneity of learning heuristics used by scientist agents affects the epistemic efficiency of a scientific community. By extending the epistemic landscapes modeling approach introduced by Weisberg and Muldoon, the article casts light on the micro-mechanisms mediating cognitive diversity, coordination, and problem-solving efficiency. The results suggest that social learning and cognitive diversity produce epistemic benefits only when the epistemic community is faced with problems of (...)
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  • Existential Risk, Creativity & Well-Adapted Science.Adrian Currie - forthcoming - Studies in the History and Philosophy of Science.
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  • Computer Simulations in Metaphysics: Possibilities and Limitations.Billy Wheeler - 2019 - Manuscrito 42 (3):108-148.
    Computer models and simulations have provided enormous benefits to researchers in the natural and social sciences, as well as many areas of philosophy. However, to date, there has been little attempt to use computer models in the development and evaluation of metaphysical theories. This is a shame, as there are good reasons for believing that metaphysics could benefit just as much from this practice as other disciplines. In this paper I assess the possibilities and limitations of using computer models in (...)
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  • Robustness and Idealizations in Agent-Based Models of Scientific Interaction.Daniel Frey & Dunja Šešelja - forthcoming - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science.
    The article presents an agent-based model of scientific interaction aimed at examining how different degrees of connectedness of scientists impact their efficiency in knowledge acquisition. The model is built on the basis of Zollman’s ABM by changing some of its idealizing assumptions that concern the representation of the central notions underlying the model: epistemic success of the rivalling scientific theories, scientific interaction and the assessment in view of which scientists choose theories to work on. Our results suggest that whether and (...)
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  • Theory-Choice, Transient Diversity and the Efficiency of Scientific Inquiry.AnneMarie Borg, Daniel Frey, Dunja Šešelja & Christian Straßer - 2019 - European Journal for Philosophy of Science 9 (2):26.
    Recent studies of scientific interaction based on agent-based models suggest that a crucial factor conducive to efficient inquiry is what Zollman has dubbed ‘transient diversity’. It signifies a process in which a community engages in parallel exploration of rivaling theories lasting sufficiently long for the community to identify the best theory and to converge on it. But what exactly generates transient diversity? And is transient diversity a decisive factor when it comes to the efficiency of inquiry? In this paper we (...)
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  • Dynamics and Diversity in Epistemic Communities.Cailin O’Connor & Justin Bruner - 2019 - Erkenntnis 84 (1):101-119.
    Bruner shows that in cultural interactions, members of minority groups will learn to interact with members of majority groups more quickly—minorities tend to meet majorities more often as a brute fact of their respective numbers—and, as a result, may come to be disadvantaged in situations where they divide resources. In this paper, we discuss the implications of this effect for epistemic communities. We use evolutionary game theoretic methods to show that minority groups can end up disadvantaged in academic interactions like (...)
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  • Centralized Funding and Epistemic Exploration.Shahar Avin - 2017 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science:axx059.
    Computer simulation of an epistemic landscape model, modified to include explicit representation of a centralized funding body, show the method of funding allocation has significant effects on communal trade-off between exploration and exploitation, with consequences for the community’s ability to generate significant truths. The results show this effect is contextual, and depends on the size of the landscape being explored, with funding that includes explicit random allocation performing significantly better than peer-review on large landscapes. The paper proposes a way of (...)
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  • The Division of Cognitive Labor: Two Missing Dimensions of the Debate.Baptiste Bedessem - 2018 - European Journal for Philosophy of Science 9 (1):3.
    The question of the division of cognitive labor has given rise to various models characterizing the way scientists should distribute their efforts. These models often consider the scientific community as a self-governed sphere constituted by rational agents making choices on the basis of fixed rules. Such models have recently been criticized for not taking into account the real mechanisms of science funding. Hence, the question of the utility of the DCL models in guiding science policy remains an open one. In (...)
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  • Exploring Scientific Inquiry Via Agent-Based Modeling.Dunja Šešelja - unknown
    In this paper I examine the epistemic function of agent-based models of scientific inquiry, proposed in the recent philosophical literature. In view of Boero and Squazzoni's classification of ABMs into case-based models, typifications and theoretical abstractions, I argue that proposed ABMs of scientific inquiry largely belong to the third category. While this means that their function is primarily exploratory, I suggest that they are epistemically valuable not only as a temporary stage in the development of ABMs of science, but by (...)
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  • Dynamics and Diversity in Epistemic Communities.Cailin O’Connor & Justin Bruner - 2019 - Erkenntnis 84 (1):101-119.
    Bruner shows that in cultural interactions, members of minority groups will learn to interact with members of majority groups more quickly—minorities tend to meet majorities more often as a brute fact of their respective numbers—and, as a result, may come to be disadvantaged in situations where they divide resources. In this paper, we discuss the implications of this effect for epistemic communities. We use evolutionary game theoretic methods to show that minority groups can end up disadvantaged in academic interactions like (...)
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  • The Division of Cognitive Labor: Two Missing Dimensions of the Debate.Baptiste Bedessem - 2018 - European Journal for Philosophy of Science 9 (1):1-16.
    The question of the division of cognitive labor has given rise to various models characterizing the way scientists should distribute their efforts. These models often consider the scientific community as a self-governed sphere constituted by rational agents making choices on the basis of fixed rules. Such models have recently been criticized for not taking into account the real mechanisms of science funding. Hence, the question of the utility of the DCL models in guiding science policy remains an open one. In (...)
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  • The Credit Incentive to Be a Maverick.Remco Heesen - 2019 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 76:5-12.
    There is a commonly made distinction between two types of scientists: risk-taking, trailblazing mavericks and detail-oriented followers. A number of recent papers have discussed the question what a desirable mixture of mavericks and followers looks like. Answering this question is most useful if a scientific community can be steered toward such a desirable mixture. One attractive route is through credit incentives: manipulating rewards so that reward-seeking scientists are likely to form the desired mixture of their own accord. Here I argue (...)
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  • Let’s Not Agree to Disagree: The Role of Strategic Disagreement in Science.Carlos Santana - forthcoming - Synthese:1-19.
    Supposedly, stubbornness on the part of scientists—an unwillingness to change one’s position on a scientific issue even in the face of countervailing evidence—helps efficiently divide scientific labor. Maintaining disagreement is important because it keeps scientists pursuing a diversity of leads rather than all working on the most promising, and stubbornness helps preserve this disagreement. Planck’s observation that “Science progresses one funeral at a time” might therefore be an insight into epistemically beneficial stubbornness on the part of researchers. In conversation with (...)
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  • Information Elaboration and Epistemic Effects of Diversity.Daniel Steel, Sina Fazelpour, Bianca Crewe & Kinley Gillette - forthcoming - Synthese:1-21.
    We suggest that philosophical accounts of epistemic effects of diversity have given insufficient attention to the relationship between demographic diversity and information elaboration, the process whereby knowledge dispersed in a group is elicited and examined. We propose an analysis of IE that clarifies hypotheses proposed in the empirical literature and their relationship to philosophical accounts of diversity effects. Philosophical accounts have largely overlooked the possibility that demographic diversity may improve group performance by enhancing IE, and sometimes fail to explore the (...)
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