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  1. Idealizations and Analogies: Explaining Critical Phenomena.Quentin Rodriguez - 2021 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 89:235-247.
    The “universality” of critical phenomena is much discussed in philosophy of scientific explanation, idealizations and philosophy of physics. Lange and Reutlinger recently opposed Batterman concerning the role of some deliberate distortions in unifying a large class of phenomena, regardless of microscopic constitution. They argue for an essential explanatory role for “commonalities” rather than that of idealizations. Building on Batterman's insight, this article aims to show that assessing the differences between the universality of critical phenomena and two paradigmatic cases of “commonality (...)
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  • How to minimize ontological commitments: a grounding-reductive approach.Reuben Sass - 2022 - Synthese 200 (4):1-22.
    Some revisionary ontologies are highly parsimonious: they posit far fewer entities than what we quantify over in ordinary discourse. The most radical examples are minimal ontologies, on which physical simples are the only things that exist. Highly parsimonious ontologies, and especially minimal ones, face the challenge of either accounting for the truth of our ordinary quantificational discourse, or paraphrasing such discourse away. Common strategies for addressing this challenge include classical reduction, paraphrase nihilism, and a distinction between ontological and existence commitments. (...)
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  • Book Forum.Alexander Franklin & Katie Robertson - forthcoming - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A.
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  • Naturalness by Law.Verónica Gómez Sánchez - forthcoming - Noûs.
    The intuitive distinction between natural and unnatural properties (e.g., green vs. grue) informs our theorizing not only in fundamental physics, but also in non-fundamental domains. This paper develops a reductive account of this broad notion of naturalness that covers non-fundamental properties: for a property to be natural, I propose, is for it to figure in a law of nature. After motivating the account, I defend it from a potential circularity charge. I argue that a suitably broad notion of lawhood can (...)
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  • Book Forum.Michael E. Miller - forthcoming - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A.
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  • Philosophical Investigation Series: Selected Texts on Metaphysics, Language and Mind / Série Investigação Filosófica: Textos Selecionados de Metafísica, Linguagem e Mente.Rodrigo Cid & Pedro Merlussi (eds.) - 2020 - Pelotas: Editora da UFPel / NEPFIL Online.
    Um dos grandes desafios da era da informação consiste em filtrar informações claras, rigorosas e atualizadas sobre tópicos importantes. O mesmo vale para a filosofia. Como encontrar conteúdo filosófico confiável em meio a milhares de artigos publicados diariamente na internet? Para ir ainda mais longe, como encontrar uma introdução a algum tópico com uma lista de referências bibliográficas atualizadas e que seja organizada por um especialista da área? Já que você começou a ler este livro, é provável que tenha ouvido (...)
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  • Unity of Science.Tuomas E. Tahko - 2021 - Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
    Unity of science was once a very popular idea among both philosophers and scientists. But it has fallen out of fashion, largely because of its association with reductionism and the challenge from multiple realisation. Pluralism and the disunity of science are the new norm, and higher-level natural kinds and special science laws are considered to have an important role in scientific practice. What kind of reductionism does multiple realisability challenge? What does it take to reduce one phenomenon to another? How (...)
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  • Shadows of Syntax: Revitalizing Logical and Mathematical Conventionalism.Jared Warren - 2020 - New York, USA: Oxford University Press.
    What is the source of logical and mathematical truth? This book revitalizes conventionalism as an answer to this question. Conventionalism takes logical and mathematical truth to have their source in linguistic conventions. This was an extremely popular view in the early 20th century, but it was never worked out in detail and is now almost universally rejected in mainstream philosophical circles. Shadows of Syntax is the first book-length treatment and defense of a combined conventionalist theory of logic and mathematics. It (...)
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  • Environments of Intelligence. From Natural Information to Artficial Interaction.Hajo Greif - 2017 - London: Routledge.
    What is the role of the environment, and of the information it provides, in cognition? More specifically, may there be a role for certain artefacts to play in this context? These are questions that motivate "4E" theories of cognition (as being embodied, embedded, extended, enactive). In his take on that family of views, Hajo Greif first defends and refines a concept of information as primarily natural, environmentally embedded in character, which had been eclipsed by information-processing views of cognition. He continues (...)
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  • What Levels of Explanation in the Behavioural Sciences?Giuseppe Boccignone & Roberto Cordeschi (eds.) - 2015 - Frontiers Media SA.
    Complex systems are to be seen as typically having multiple levels of organization. For instance, in the behavioural and cognitive sciences, there has been a long lasting trend, promoted by the seminal work of David Marr, putting focus on three distinct levels of analysis: the computational level, accounting for the What and Why issues, the algorithmic and the implementational levels specifying the How problem. However, the tremendous developments in neuroscience knowledge about processes at different scales of organization together with the (...)
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  • Philosophical Foundations of Neuroeconomics: Economics and the Revolutionary Challenge From Neuroscience.Roberto Fumagalli - 2011 - Dissertation, London School of Economics
    This PhD thesis focuses on the philosophical foundations of Neuroeconomics, an innovative research program which combines findings and modelling tools from economics, psychology and neuroscience to account for human choice behaviour. The proponents of Neuroeconomics often manifest the ambition to foster radical modifications in the accounts of choice behaviour developed by its parent disciplines. This enquiry provides a philosophically informed appraisal of the potential for success and the relevance of neuroeconomic research for economics. My central claim is that neuroeconomists can (...)
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  • Fundamentality.Steven French - 2021 - In Eleanor Knox, Alastair Wilson & Margaret Moore (eds.), The Routledge Companion to Philosophy of Physics. London: Routledge. pp. 679-688.
    The idea that there is some fundamental “level” or “ground” where our description of the world bottoms out has acquired the status of ‘the received view’ in metaphysics ; for a more recent critical defense, see Cameron, 2008). Typically this view is cashed out in terms of some set of ‘basic building blocks’ populating this level, which sits at the bottom of a hierarchy ordered according to some set of compositional principles. These fundamental building blocks are thus taken to have (...)
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  • Sull’inadeguatezza della mereologia formale husserliana per l’ontologia regionale degli insiemi chimici.Marina P. Banchetti - 2019 - Philosophy Kitchen: Rivista di Filosofia Contemporanea 7 (11):95-112.
    In his book, History as a Science and the System of the Sciences, Thomas Seebohm articulates the view that history can serve to mediate between the sciences of explanation and the sciences of interpretation, that is, between the natural sciences and the human sciences. Among other things, Seebohm analyzes history from a phenomenological perspective to reveal the material foundations of the historical human sciences in the lifeworld. As a preliminary to his analyses, Seebohm examines the formal and material presuppositions of (...)
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  • Epistemology for Interdisciplinary Research – Shifting Philosophical Paradigms of Science.Mieke Boon & Sophie Van Baalen - 2018 - European Journal for Philosophy of Science 9 (1):16.
    In science policy, it is generally acknowledged that science-based problem-solving requires interdisciplinary research. For example, policy makers invest in funding programs such as Horizon 2020 that aim to stimulate interdisciplinary research. Yet the epistemological processes that lead to effective interdisciplinary research are poorly understood. This article aims at an epistemology for interdisciplinary research, in particular, IDR for solving ‘real-world’ problems. Focus is on the question why researchers experience cognitive and epistemic difficulties in conducting IDR. Based on a study of educational (...)
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  • The Epistemology of Geometry I: The Problem of Exactness.Anne Newstead & Franklin James - 2010 - Proceedings of the Australasian Society for Cognitive Science 2009.
    We show how an epistemology informed by cognitive science promises to shed light on an ancient problem in the philosophy of mathematics: the problem of exactness. The problem of exactness arises because geometrical knowledge is thought to concern perfect geometrical forms, whereas the embodiment of such forms in the natural world may be imperfect. There thus arises an apparent mismatch between mathematical concepts and physical reality. We propose that the problem can be solved by emphasizing the ways in which the (...)
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  • What Simulations Teach Us About Ordinary Objects.Arthur C. Schwaninger - 2019 - Open Philosophy 2 (1):614-628.
    Under the label of scientific metaphysics, many naturalist metaphysicians are moving away from a priori conceptual analysis and instead seek scientific explanations that will help bring forward a unified understanding of the world. This paper first reviews how our classical assumptions about ordinary objects fail to be true in light of quantum mechanics. The paper then explores how our experiences of ordinary objects arise by reflecting on how our neural system operates algorithmically. Contemporary models and simulations in computational neuroscience are (...)
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  • Evaluation of Research(Ers) and its Threat to Epistemic Pluralisms.Marco Viola - 2017 - European Journal of Analytic Philosophy 13 (2):55-78.
    While some form of evaluation has always been employed in science (e.g. peer review, hiring), formal systems of evaluation of research and researchers have recently come to play a more prominent role in many countries because of the adoption of new models of governance. According to such models, the quality of the output of both researchers and their institutions is measured, and issues such as eligibility for tenure or the allocation of public funding to research institutions crucially depends on the (...)
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  • Mechanistic Constitution in Neurobiological Explanations.Jens Harbecke - 2010 - International Studies in the Philosophy of Science 24 (3):267-285.
    This paper discusses the constitution relation within the framework of the mechanistic approach to neurobiological explanation. It develops a regularity theory of constitution as an alternative to the manipulationist theory of constitution advocated by some of the proponents of the mechanistic approach. After the main problems of the manipulationist account of constitution have been reviewed, the regularity account is developed based on the notion of a minimal type relevance theory. A minimal type relevance theory expresses a minimally necessary condition of (...)
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  • Of Chimeras, Harmony, and Kintsugi: Towards a Historicist Epistemology of Paleontological Reconstruction, Theory-Change, and Exploring Heuristics.Ali Mirza - 2022 - Perspectives on Science 30 (4):657-695.
    I analyze the epistemic strategies used by paleontologists to reconstruct features of ancient organisms from fossilized bodies and footprints by presenting two heuristics: a “claim of harmony” which posits the harmonious interaction of natural objects in order for complex systems to be simplified and the “kintsugi heuristic” which is used inter-theoretically to explore new claims of harmony. I apply these to three successive historical cases: Georges Cuvier’s laws of correlation, the panpsychist paleontology of Edward Drinker Cope, and the single-character approach (...)
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  • All Flash, No Substance?Elizabeth Miller - forthcoming - In V. Allori (ed.), Quantum Mechanics and Fundamentality. Springer.
    The GRW dynamics propose a novel, relevantly “observer”-independent replacement for orthodox “measurement”-induced collapse. Yet the tails problem shows that this dynamical innovation is not enough: a principled alternative to the orthodox account demands some corresponding ontological advancement as well. In fact, there are three rival fundamental ontologies on offer for the GRW dynamics. Debate about the relative merits of these candidates is a microcosm of broader disagreement about the role of ontology in our physical theorizing. According to imprimitivists, the GRW (...)
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  • Fundamentality and Levels in Everettian Quantum Mechanics.Alastair Wilson - forthcoming - In Valia Allori (ed.), Quantum Mechanics and Fundamentality. Springer.
    Distinctions in fundamentality between different levels of description are central to the viability of contemporary decoherence-based Everettian quantum mechanics (EQM). This approach to quantum theory characteristically combines a determinate fundamental reality (one universal wave function) with an indeterminate emergent reality (multiple decoherent worlds). In this chapter I explore how the Everettian appeal to fundamentality and emergence can be understood within existing metaphysical frameworks, identify grounding and concept fundamentality as promising theoretical tools, and use them to characterize a system of explanatory (...)
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  • Against Representational Levels.Nicholas K. Jones - forthcoming - Philosophical Perspectives.
    Some views articulate reality's hierarchical structure using relations from the fundamental to representations of reality. Other views instead use relations from the fundamental to constituents of non-representational reality. This paper argues against the first kind of view.
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  • The Significance of Levels of Organization for Scientific Research: A Heuristic Approach.Daniel S. Brooks & Markus I. Eronen - 2018 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C: Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences 68:34-41.
    The concept of 'levels of organization' has come under fire recently as being useless for scientific and philosophical purposes. In this paper, we show that 'levels' is actually a remarkably resilient and constructive conceptual tool that can be, and in fact is, used for a variety of purposes. To this effect, we articulate an account of the importance of the levels concept seen in light of its status as a major organizing concept of biology. We argue that the usefulness of (...)
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  • “Looking Up” and “Looking Down”: On the Dual Character of Mechanistic Explanations.Kari L. Theurer - 2018 - Journal for General Philosophy of Science / Zeitschrift für Allgemeine Wissenschaftstheorie 49 (3):371-392.
    Mechanistic explanation is at present the received view of scientific explanation. One of its central features is the idea that mechanistic explanations are both “downward looking” and “upward looking”: they explain by offering information about the internal constitution of the mechanism as well as the larger environment in which the mechanism is situated. That is, they offer both constitutive and contextual explanatory information. Adequate mechanistic explanations, on this view, accommodate the full range of explanatory factors both “above” and “below” the (...)
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  • Prioritizing Platonism.Kelly Trogdon & Sam Cowling - 2019 - Philosophical Studies 176 (8):2029-2042.
    Discussion of atomistic and monistic theses about abstract reality.
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  • Levels: Descriptive, Explanatory, and Ontological.Christian List - 2019 - Noûs 53 (4):852-883.
    Scientists and philosophers frequently speak about levels of description, levels of explanation, and ontological levels. In this paper, I propose a unified framework for modelling levels. I give a general definition of a system of levels and show that it can accommodate descriptive, explanatory, and ontological notions of levels. I further illustrate the usefulness of this framework by applying it to some salient philosophical questions: (1) Is there a linear hierarchy of levels, with a fundamental level at the bottom? And (...)
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  • Whewell’s Hylomorphism as a Metaphorical Explanation for How Mind and World Merge.Ragnar van der Merwe - forthcoming - Journal for General Philosophy of Science / Zeitschrift für Allgemeine Wissenschaftstheorie.
    William Whewell’s 19th century philosophy of science is sometimes glossed over as a footnote to Kant. There is however a key feature of Whewell’s account worth noting. This is his appeal to Aristotle’s form/matter hylomorphism as a metaphor to explain how mind and world merge in successful scientific inquiry. Whewell’s hylomorphism suggests a middle way between rationalism and empiricism reminiscent of experience pragmatists like Steven Levine’s view that mind and world are entwined in experience. I argue however that Levine does (...)
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  • Experience and Structure: Philosophical History and the Problem of Consciousness.Paul M. Livingston - 2002 - Journal of Consciousness Studies 9 (3):15-33.
    Investigation and analysis of the history of the concepts employed in contemporary philosophy of mind could significantly change the contemporary debate about the explainability of consciousness. Philosophical investigation of the history of the concept of qualia and the concept of scientific explanation most often presupposed in contemporary discussions of consciousness reveals the origin of both concepts in some of the most interesting philosophical debates of the twentieth century. In particular, a historical investigation of the inheritance of concepts of the elements (...)
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  • Token Physicalism and Functional Individuation.James DiFrisco - 2018 - European Journal for Philosophy of Science 8 (3):309-329.
    Token physicalism is often viewed as a modest and unproblematic physicalist commitment, as contrasted with type physicalism. This paper argues that the prevalence of functional individuation in biology creates serious problems for token physicalism, because the latter requires that biological entities can be individuated physically and without reference to biological functioning. After characterizing the main philosophical roles for token physicalism, I describe the distinctive uses of functional individuation in models of biological processes. I then introduce some requirements on token identity (...)
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  • Special Issue: Philosophical Considerations in the Teaching of Biology. Part I, Philosophy of Biology and Biological Explanation.Kostas Kampourakis (ed.) - 2013 - Springer (Science & Education).
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  • Holism and Reductionism in Biology and Ecology the Mutual Dependence of Higher and Lower Level Research Programmes.Rick C. Looijen - 2000 - Springer.
    Holism and reductionism are usually seen as opposite and mutually exclusive approaches to nature. Recently, some have come to see them as complementary rather than mutually exclusive. In this book I have argued that, even stronger, they should be seen as mutually dependent and co-operating research programmes. I have discussed holism and reductionism in biology in general and in ecology in particular. After an introductory chapter I have provided an overview of holistic and reductionistic positions in biology, and of the (...)
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  • In Defense of Levels: Layer Cakes and Guilt by Association.Daniel S. Brooks - 2017 - Biological Theory 12 (3).
    Despite the ubiquity of “levels of organization” in the scientific literature, a nascent “levels skepticism” now claims that the concept of levels is an inherently flawed, misleading, or otherwise inadequate notion for understanding how life scientists produce knowledge about the natural world. However, levels skeptics rely on the maligned “layer-cake” account of levels stemming from Oppenheim and Putnam’s defense of the unity of science for their critical commentary. Recourse to layer-cake levels is understandable, as it is arguably the default conception (...)
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  • Disentangling the Vitalism–Emergentism Knot.Olivier Sartenaer - 2018 - Journal for General Philosophy of Science / Zeitschrift für Allgemeine Wissenschaftstheorie 49 (1):73-88.
    Starting with the observation that there exist contradictory claims in the literature about the relationship between vitalism and emergentism—be it one of inclusion or, on the contrary, exclusion–, this paper aims at disentangling the vitalism–emergentism knot. To this purpose, after having described a particular form of emergentism, namely Lloyd Morgan’s emergent evolutionism, I develop a conceptual analysis on the basis of a distinction between varieties of monism and pluralism. This analysis allows me to identify and characterize several forms of vitalism (...)
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  • Is There a Fundamental Level?Jonathan Schaffer - 2003 - Noûs 37 (3):498–517.
    ‘‘Thus I believe that there is no part of matter which is not—I do not say divisible—but actually divided; and consequently the least particle ought to be considered as a world full of an infinity of different creatures.’’ (Leibniz, letter to Foucher).
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  • Functionalism and Logical Analysis.Paul Livingston - 2005 - In David Woodruff Smith & Amie L. Thomasson (eds.), Phenomenology and Philosophy of Mind. Oxford: Clarendon Press. pp. 19.
    After more than thirty-five years of debate and discussion, versions of the functionalist theory of mind originating in the work of Hilary Putnam, Jerry Fodor, and David Lewis still remain the most popular positions among philosophers of mind on the nature of mental states and processes. Functionalism has enjoyed such popularity owing, at least in part, to its claim to offer a plausible and compelling description of the nature of the mental that is also consistent with an underlying physicalist or (...)
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  • The Two Davids and Australian Materialism.A. R. J. Fisher - 2022 - In Peter R. Anstey & David Braddon-Mitchell (eds.), Armstrong's Materialist Theory of Mind. Oxford: Oxford University Press. pp. 29-51.
    This chapter by Fisher continues the theme of the relation between Armstrong and Lewis, only Fisher casts the net far wider. He begins by arguing that there were at least two different lines of influence from early twentieth-century behaviourism to the identity theory: one through logical positivism and the other through ordinary language philosophy, the latter involving Place and Smart, and Lewis and Armstrong. It was Armstrong and Lewis who were to have a profound influence on subsequent developments in analytic (...)
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  • Social Mereology.Katherine Hawley - 2017 - Journal of the American Philosophical Association 3 (4):395-411.
    What kind of entity is a committee, a book group or a band? I argue that committees and other such social groups are concrete, composite particulars, having ordinary human beings amongst their parts. So the committee members are literally parts of the committee. This mereological view of social groups was popular several decades ago, but fell out of favour following influential objections from David-Hillel Ruben. But recent years have seen a tidal wave of work in metaphysics, including the metaphysics of (...)
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  • Reports From the High Table: Sepkoski and Ruse : The Paleobiological Revolution: Essays on the Growth of Modern Paleontology, University of Chicago Press, 2009.Adrian Currie - 2012 - Biology and Philosophy 27 (1):149-158.
    David Sepkoski and Michael Ruse’s edited collection The Peolobiological Revolution covers the changes in paleontological science in the last half-century. The collection should be of interest to philosophers of science (particularly those interested in non-reductive unity) as well as historians. I give an overview of the content and major themes of the volume and draw some lessons for the philosophy of science along the way. In particular, I argue that the history of paleontology demands a new approach to philosophical delineation (...)
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  • Inference to the Best Explanation.Peter Lipton - 2004 - In Martin Curd & Stathis Psillos (eds.), The Routledge Companion to Philosophy of Science. Routledge. pp. 193.
    Science depends on judgments of the bearing of evidence on theory. Scientists must judge whether an observation or the result of an experiment supports, disconfirms, or is simply irrelevant to a given hypothesis. Similarly, scientists may judge that, given all the available evidence, a hypothesis ought to be accepted as correct or nearly so, rejected as false, or neither. Occasionally, these evidential judgments can be made on deductive grounds. If an experimental result strictly contradicts a hypothesis, then the truth of (...)
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  • Consciousness.Robert van Gulick - 2004 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
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  • Scientific Reduction.Raphael van Riel & Robert Van Gulick - 2014 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
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  • Mereology.Achille C. Varzi - 2016 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
    An overview of contemporary part-whole theories, with reference to both their axiomatic developments and their philosophical underpinnings.
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  • Vienna Circle.Thomas Uebel - 2008 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
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  • Levels of Organization in Biology.Markus Eronen & Daniel Stephen Brooks - unknown - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
    Levels of organization are structures in nature, usually defined by part-whole relationships, with things at higher levels being composed of things at the next lower level. Typical levels of organization that one finds in the literature include the atomic, molecular, cellular, tissue, organ, organismal, group, population, community, ecosystem, landscape, and biosphere levels. References to levels of organization and related hierarchical depictions of nature are prominent in the life sciences and their philosophical study, and appear not only in introductory textbooks and (...)
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  • Social Ontology.Brian Epstein - 2018 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
    Social ontology is the study of the nature and properties of the social world. It is concerned with analyzing the various entities in the world that arise from social interaction. -/- A prominent topic in social ontology is the analysis of social groups. Do social groups exist at all? If so, what sorts of entities are they, and how are they created? Is a social group distinct from the collection of people who are its members, and if so, how is (...)
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  • Scientific Pluralism.Ludwig David & Ruphy Stéphanie - 2021 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
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  • The Unity of Science.Jordi Cat - 2013 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
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  • Multiple Realizability.John Bickle - 2008 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
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  • Two Approaches to Reduction: A Case Study From Statistical Mechanics.Bixin Guo - unknown
    I argue that there are two distinct approaches to understand reduction: the ontology-first approach and the theory-first approach. Further, I argue for the significance of this distinction by demonstrating that either one or the other approach has been taken as an implicit assumption in, and has in fact shaped, our understanding of what statistical mechanics is. More specifically, I argue that the Boltzmannian framework of statistical mechanics assumes and relies on the ontology-first approach, whereas the Gibbsian framework should assume the (...)
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  • Time Scales and Levels of Organization.James DiFrisco - 2017 - Erkenntnis 82 (4):795-818.
    The concept of levels of organization, despite its widespread scientific currency, has recently been criticized by a number of philosophers of science. This paper diagnoses the main source of problems facing theories of levels. On this basis, the problems with the usual criteria for distinguishing levels are evaluated: compositional relations, organizational types, and spatial scales. Drawing on some work on hierarchies in ecology, I argue in favor of an alternative conception of levels defined by the criterion of rates or time (...)
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