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Systematizing the theoretical virtues

Synthese 195 (6):2761-2793 (2018)

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  1. Freedom and Chance.Mark Wulff Carstensen - unknown
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  • Modeling Gender as a Multidimensional Sorites Paradox.Rory W. Collins - 2021 - Hypatia 36 (2):302–320.
    Gender is both indeterminate and multifaceted: many individuals do not fit neatly into accepted gender categories, and a vast number of characteristics are relevant to determining a person's gender. This article demonstrates how these two features, taken together, enable gender to be modeled as a multidimensional sorites paradox. After discussing the diverse terminology used to describe gender, I extend Helen Daly's research into sex classifications in the Olympics and show how varying testosterone levels can be represented using a sorites argument. (...)
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  • An Evolutionary Sceptical Challenge to Scientific Realism.Christophe de Ray - forthcoming - Erkenntnis:1-21.
    Evolutionary scepticism holds that the evolutionary account of the origins of the human cognitive apparatus has sceptical implications for at least some of our beliefs. A common target of evolutionary scepticism is moral realism. Scientific realism, on the other hand, is much less frequently targeted, though the idea that evolutionary theory should make us distrustful of science is by no means absent from the literature. This line of thought has received unduly little attention. I propose to remedy this by advancing (...)
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  • Dispositional Essentialism and Ontic Structural Realism - a Hybrid View.Julie Godfrey - 2020 - Dissertation, Durham University
    Dispositional Essentialism and Ontic Structural Realism aim to account for modality. Dispositional Essentialism takes properties to account for laws. In particular, it takes determinate properties to account for laws of nature, which are determinable. Ontic Structural Realism does the reverse. According to Steven French, Ontic Structural Realism takes laws and symmetries to be part of the fundamental structure of the world. Determinate properties are “dependent” on laws. The core difference between Dispositional Essentialism and Ontic Structural Realism’s accounts of modality is (...)
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  • Reasons, Normativity, and Value in Aesthetics.Alex King - 2022 - Philosophy Compass 17 (1):1-17.
    Discussions of aesthetic reasons and normativity are becoming increasingly popular. This piece outlines six basic questions about aesthetic reasons, normativity, and value and discusses the space of possible answers to these questions. I divide the terrain into two groups of three questions each. First are questions about the shape of aesthetic reasons: what they favour, how strong they are, and where they come from. Second are relational questions about how aesthetic reasons fit into the wider normative landscape: whether they are (...)
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  • 50 Words for Snow.John Wilkins - manuscript
    Scientists and philosophers routinely talk about phenomena, and the ways in which they relate to explanation, theory and practice in science. However, there are very few definitions of the term, which is often used synonymously with "data'', "model'' and in older literature, "hypothesis''. In this paper I will attempt to clarify how phenomena are recognized, categorized and the role they play in scientific epistemology. I conclude that phenomena are not necessarily theory-based commitments, but that they are what explanations are called (...)
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  • Knowledge‐First Functionalism.Mona Simion - 2019 - Philosophical Issues 29 (1):254-267.
    This paper has two aims. The first is critical: I identify a set of normative desiderata for accounts of justified belief and I argue that prominent knowledge first views have difficulties meeting them. Second, I argue that my preferred account, knowledge first functionalism, is preferable to its extant competitors on normative grounds. This account takes epistemically justified belief to be belief generated by properly functioning cognitive processes that have generating knowledge as their epistemic function.
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  • Non‐Uniformism About the Epistemology of Modality: Strong and Weak.Ylwa Sjölin Wirling - 2020 - Analytic Philosophy 61 (2):152-173.
    Uniformism about the epistemology of modality is the view that there is only one basic route to modal knowledge; non-uniformism is the view that there are several. Non-uniformism is becoming an increasingly popular stance, but how can it be defended? I prise apart two ways of understanding the uniformism/non-uniformism conflict that are mixed up in the literature. I argue that once separated, it is evident that they lead up to two different non-uniformist theses that need to be argued for in (...)
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  • Are Beautiful Theories Better Theories? Devon Brickhouse-Bryson: Judgements of Beauty in Theory Evaluation. Maryland: Lexington Books, The Rowman & Littlefield Publishing Group, 148 Pp, $90 HB. [REVIEW]Alice Murphy - forthcoming - Metascience:1-4.
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  • Theoretical Virtues and Theorizing in Physics: Against the Instrumentalist View of Simplicity.Mousa Mohammadian - 2021 - Synthese 199 (1-2):4819-4828.
    I argue that if simplicity is a theoretical virtue and some theoretical virtues are the constituents of the aims of theorizing in physics—i.e., theory choice and theory development in physics—and scientific rationality is instrumental rationality, then simplicity cannot be a mere means to achieve the aims. I do this by showing that considering simplicity as a mere means brings about counterintuitive ramifications concerning scientific rationality. These counterintuitive ramifications can be avoided if we consider simplicity a constituent of the aims of (...)
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  • Overcoming the modal/amodal dichotomy of concepts.Christian Michel - 2020 - Phenomenology and the Cognitive Sciences 20 (4):655-677.
    The debate about the nature of the representational format of concepts seems to have reached an impasse. The debate faces two fundamental problems. Firstly, amodalists and modalists claim that the same empirical evidence is compatible with their views. Secondly, there is no shared understanding of what a modal or amodal format amounts to. Both camps recognize that the two formats play essential roles in higher cognition, leading to an increasing number of hybrid proposals. In this paper, I argue that the (...)
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  • Underconsideration in Space-Time and Particle Physics.J. Brian Pitts - unknown
    The idea that a serious threat to scientific realism comes from unconceived alternatives has been proposed by van Fraassen, Sklar, Stanford and Wray among others. Peter Lipton's critique of this threat from underconsideration is examined briefly in terms of its logic and its applicability to the case of space-time and particle physics. The example of space-time and particle physics indicates a generic heuristic for quantitative sciences for constructing potentially serious cases of underdetermination, involving one-parameter family of rivals T_m that work (...)
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  • On Logical and Scientific Strength.Luca Incurvati & Carlo Nicolai - manuscript
    The notion of strength has featured prominently in recent debates about abductivism in the epistemology of logic. Following Williamson and Russell, we distinguish between logical and scientific strength and discuss the limits of the characterizations they employ. We then suggest understanding logical strength in terms of interpretability strength and scientific strength as a special case of logical strength. We present applications of the resulting notions to comparisons between logics in the traditional sense and mathematical theories.
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  • Two Kinds of Explanatory Integration in Cognitive Science.Samuel D. Taylor - 2019 - Synthese 198 (5):4573-4601.
    Some philosophers argue that we should eschew cross-explanatory integrations of mechanistic, dynamicist, and psychological explanations in cognitive science, because, unlike integrations of mechanistic explanations, they do not deliver genuine, cognitive scientific explanations. Here I challenge this claim by comparing the theoretical virtues of both kinds of explanatory integrations. I first identify two theoretical virtues of integrations of mechanistic explanations—unification and greater qualitative parsimony—and argue that no cross-explanatory integration could have such virtues. However, I go on to argue that this is (...)
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  • Theoretical Virtues in Eighteenth-Century Debates on Animal Cognition.Hein van den Berg - 2020 - History and Philosophy of the Life Sciences 42 (3):1-35.
    Within eighteenth-century debates on animal cognition we can distinguish at least three main theoretical positions: (i) Buffon’s mechanism, (ii) Reimarus’ theory of instincts, and (iii) the sensationalism of Condillac and Leroy. In this paper, I adopt a philosophical perspective on this debate and argue that in order to fully understand the justification Buffon, Reimarus, Condillac, and Leroy gave for their respective theories, we must pay special attention to the theoretical virtues these naturalists alluded to while justifying their position. These theoretical (...)
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  • Objective Bayesianism and the Abductivist Response to Scepticism.Darren Bradley - forthcoming - Episteme:1-15.
    An important line of response to scepticism appeals to the best explanation. But anti-sceptics have not engaged much with work on explanation in the philosophy of science. I plan to investigate whether plausible assumptions about best explanations really do favour anti-scepticism. I will argue that there are ways of constructing sceptical hypotheses in which the assumptions do favour anti-scepticism, but the size of the support for anti-scepticism is small.
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  • Are Algorithms Value-Free? Feminist Theoretical Virtues in Machine Learning.Gabbrielle Johnson - forthcoming - Journal Moral Philosophy.
    As inductive decision-making procedures, the inferences made by machine learning programs are subject to underdetermination by evidence and bear inductive risk. One strategy for overcoming these challenges is guided by a presumption in philosophy of science that inductive inferences can and should be value-free. Applied to machine learning programs, the strategy assumes that the influence of values is restricted to data and decision outcomes, thereby omitting internal value-laden design choice points. In this paper, I apply arguments from feminist philosophy of (...)
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  • Evaluating Epistemic Virtues.Daniel Coren - 2019 - Synthese 198 (2):1569-1578.
    Epistemic conservatism says that an agent is in some measure justified in maintaining a belief simply in virtue of the fact that the agent has that belief. In his new book On Evidence in Philosophy, William Lycan argues that there is no special objection to EC that does not also impugn the other epistemic virtues. In a forthcoming Synthese piece, Daniel Coren argues that, for us as we are, EC cannot be evaluated. Coren does not discuss Lycan, and vice versa. (...)
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  • The Theory Theory of Metalinguistic Disputes.Erich Rast - forthcoming - Mind and Language.
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  • Indirect Compatibilism.Andrew James Latham - 2019 - Dissertation, University of Sydney
    In this thesis, I will defend a new kind of compatibilist account of free action, indirect conscious control compatibilism (or indirect compatibilism for short), and argue that some of our actions are free according to it. My argument has three components, and involves the development of a brand new tool for experimental philosophy, and the use of cognitive neuroscience. The first component of the argument shows that compatibilism (of some kind) is a conceptual truth. Contrary to the current orthodoxy in (...)
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  • Naturalized Metaphysics and Scientific Constraint: A Model-Building Approach.Jake Spinella - 2019 - Dissertation, Georgia State University
    A problem with recent work about the relationship between metaphysics and science, especially in the theorizing of those who identify as “naturalized metaphysicians”, is the spotty, metaphorical characterization of what it means for science to “constrain” metaphysics. The most robust account of scientific constraint on metaphysical theorizing is advanced by James Ladyman and Don Ross in their 2007 book Every Thing Must Go. Ladyman & Ross claim that the only legitimate metaphysical hypotheses are those that unify two previously disparate scientific (...)
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  • Modal Empiricism Made Difficult: An Essay in the Meta-Epistemology of Modality.Ylwa Sjölin Wirling - 2019 - Dissertation, University of Gothenburg
    Philosophers have always taken an interest not only in what is actually the case, but in what is necessarily the case and what could possibly be the case. These are questions of modality. Epistemologists of modality enquire into how we can know what is necessary and what is possible. This dissertation concerns the meta-epistemology of modality. It engages with the rules that govern construction and evaluation of theories in the epistemology of modality, by using modal empiricism – a form of (...)
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