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  1. Backing Without Realism.Elanor Taylor - 2022 - Erkenntnis 87 (3):1295-1315.
    Facts about explanation are often taken as a guide to facts about metaphysics. Such inferences from explanation to metaphysics typically rely on two elements: explanatory realism, the view that it is a characteristic and necessary aspect of explanation to give information about metaphysical structure, and a backing model of explanation, according to which explanations are backed by supporting relations, such as causation. Combining explanatory realism with a backing model permits conclusions about metaphysics to follow straightforwardly from facts about explanation, and (...)
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  • Two Notions of Metaphysical Modality.Antonella Mallozzi - 2018 - Synthese (Suppl 6):1-22.
    The paper explores the project of an ambitious modal epistemology that attempts to combine the a priori methods of Chalmers’ 2D semantics with Kripke’s modal metaphysics. I argue that such a project is not viable. The ambitious modal epistemology involves an inconsistent triad composed of (1) Modal Monism, (2) Two-Dimensionalism, and what I call (3) “Metaphysical Kripkeanism”. I present the three theses and show how only two of those can be true at a time. There is a fundamental incompatibility between (...)
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  • Does Anti-Exceptionalism About Logic Entail That Logic is a Posteriori?Jessica M. Wilson & Stephen Biggs - 2022 - Synthese 200 (3):1-17.
    The debate between exceptionalists and anti-exceptionalists about logic is often framed as concerning whether the justification of logical theories is a priori or a posteriori (for short: whether logic is a priori or a posteriori). As we substantiate (S1), this framing more deeply encodes the usual anti-exceptionalist thesis that logical theories, like scientific theories, are abductively justified, coupled with the common supposition that abduction is an a posteriori mode of inference, in the sense that the epistemic value of abduction is (...)
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  • Deviance and Vice: Strength as a Theoretical Virtue in the Epistemology of Logic.Gillian Russell - 2019 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 99 (3):548-563.
    This paper is about the putative theoretical virtue of strength, as it might be used in abductive arguments to the correct logic in the epistemology of logic. It argues for three theses. The first is that the well-defined property of logical strength is neither a virtue nor a vice, so that logically weaker theories are not—all other things being equal—worse or better theories than logically stronger ones. The second thesis is that logical strength does not entail the looser characteristic of (...)
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  • 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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  • Supervenience-Based Formulations of Physicalism.Jessica Wilson - 2005 - Noûs 39 (3):426-459.
    The physicalist thesis that all entities are nothing over and above physical entities is often interpreted as appealing to a supervenience-based account of "nothing over and aboveness”, where, schematically, the A-entities are nothing over and above the B-entities if the A-entities supervene on the B-entities. The main approaches to filling in this schema correspond to different ways of characterizing the modal strength, the supervenience base, or the supervenience connection at issue. I consider each approach in turn, and argue that the (...)
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  • Is Epistemic Anxiety an Intellectual Virtue?Frank Cabrera - 2021 - Synthese (5-6):1-25.
    In this paper, I discuss the ways in which epistemic anxiety promotes well-being, specifically by examining the positive contributions that feelings of epistemic anxiety make toward intellectually virtuous inquiry. While the prospects for connecting the concept of epistemic anxiety to the two most prominent accounts of intellectual virtue, i.e., “virtue-reliabilism” and “virtue-responsibilism”, are promising, I primarily focus on whether the capacity for epistemic anxiety counts as an intellectual virtue in the reliabilist sense. As I argue, there is a close yet (...)
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  • Beyond the Limits of Imagination: Abductive Inferences From Imagined Phenomena.Michael Traynor - 2021 - Synthese 199:14293–14315.
    The present paper proposes a route to modal claims that allows us to infer to certain possibilities even if they are sensorily unimaginable and beyond the evidential capacity of stipulative imagining. After a brief introduction, Sect. 2 discusses imaginative resistance to help carve a niche for the kinds of inferences about which this essay is chiefly concerned. Section 3 provides three classic examples, along with a discussion of their similarities and differences. Section 4 recasts the notion of potential explanation in (...)
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  • Explanatory Consolidation: From ‘Best’ to ‘Good Enough’.Finnur Dellsén - 2021 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 103 (1):157-177.
    In science and everyday life, we often infer that something is true because it would explain some set of facts better than any other hypothesis we can think of. But what if we have reason to believe that there is a better way to explain these facts that we just haven't thought of? Wouldn't that undermine our warrant for believing the best available explanation? Many philosophers have assumed that we can solve such underconsideration problems by stipulating that a hypothesis should (...)
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  • Does IBE Require a ‘Model’ of Explanation?Frank Cabrera - 2020 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 71 (2):727-750.
    In this article, I consider an important challenge to the popular theory of scientific inference commonly known as ‘inference to the best explanation’, one that has received scant attention.1 1 The problem is that there exists a wide array of rival models of explanation, thus leaving IBE objectionably indeterminate. First, I briefly introduce IBE. Then, I motivate the problem and offer three potential solutions, the most plausible of which is to adopt a kind of pluralism about the rival models of (...)
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  • Inference to the Best Explanation - An Overview.Frank Cabrera - forthcoming - In Lorenzo Magnani (ed.), Handbook of Abductive Cognition. Springer. pp. 1-37.
    In this article, I will provide a critical overview of the form of non-deductive reasoning commonly known as “Inference to the Best Explanation” (IBE). Roughly speaking, according to IBE, we ought to infer the hypothesis that provides the best explanation of our evidence. In section 2, I survey some contemporary formulations of IBE and highlight some of its putative applications. In section 3, I distinguish IBE from C.S. Peirce’s notion of abduction. After underlining some of the essential elements of IBE, (...)
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  • A Review of 'Theoretical Virtues in Science' by S. Schindler. [REVIEW]Darren Bradley - 2019 - Metascience 28 (2):261-264.
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  • Abduction Versus Conceiving in Modal Epistemology.Stephen Biggs & Jessica Wilson - 2019 - Synthese 198 (Suppl 8):2045-2076.
    How should modal reasoning proceed? Here we compare abduction-based and conceiving-based modal epistemologies, and argue that an abduction-based approach is preferable, and by a wide margin.
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  • Kevin McCain and Ted Poston’s Best Explanations.Frank Cabrera - 2020 - International Journal for the Study of Skepticism 10 (2):1-10.
    In this critical notice, I focus my attention on the chapters that deal with the explanationist response to skepticism.
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  • Carnap’s Epistemological Critique of Metaphysics.Darren Bradley - 2018 - Synthese 195 (5):2247-2265.
    Many who take a dismissive attitude towards metaphysics trace their view back to Carnap’s ‘Empiricism, Semantics and Ontology’. But the reason Carnap takes a dismissive attitude to metaphysics is a matter of controversy. I will argue that no reason is given in ‘Empiricism, Semantics and Ontology’, and this is because his reason for rejecting metaphysical debates was given in ‘Pseudo-Problems in Philosophy’. The argument there assumes verificationism, but I will argue that his argument survives the rejection of verificationism. The root (...)
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  • Abductive Two-Dimensionalism: A New Route to the a Priori Identification of Necessary Truths.Biggs Stephen & Wilson Jessica - 2020 - Synthese 197 (1):59-93.
    Epistemic two-dimensional semantics, advocated by Chalmers and Jackson, among others, aims to restore the link between necessity and a priority seemingly broken by Kripke, by showing how armchair access to semantic intensions provides a basis for knowledge of necessary a posteriori truths. The most compelling objections to E2D are that, for one or other reason, the requisite intensions are not accessible from the armchair. As we substantiate here, existing versions of E2D are indeed subject to such access-based objections. But, we (...)
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  • The Philosophical Significance of the De Se.Manuel García-Carpintero - 2017 - Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy 60 (3):253-276.
    Inspired by Castañeda, Perry and Lewis argued that, among singular thoughts in general, thoughts about oneself ‘as oneself’ – first-personal thoughts, which Lewis aptly called de se – call for special treatment: we need to abandon one of two traditional assumptions on the contents needed to provide rationalizing explanations, their shareability or their absoluteness. Their arguments have been very influential; one might take them as establishing a new ‘effect’ – new philosophical evidence in need of being accounted for. This is (...)
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  • 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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