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Thinking from Things: Essays in the Philosophy of Archaeology

University of California Press (2002)

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  1. That Raw and Ancient Cold: On Graham Harman’s Recasting of Archaeology.Tim Flohr Sørensen - 2021 - Open Philosophy 4 (1):1-19.
    This is a comment to Graham Harman’s 2019 response to an article by Þóra Pétursdóttir and Bjørnar Olsen in which they propose that a materially grounded, archaeological perspective might complement Harman’s historical approach in Immaterialism. Harman responds that his book is indeed already more archaeological than historical, stipulating that history is the study of media with a high density of information, whereas archaeology studies media with a low density of information. History, Harman holds, ends up in too much detail, while (...)
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  • 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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  • On the Limits of Experimental Knowledge.Peter Evans & Karim P. Y. Thebault - 2020 - Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society A: Mathematical, Physical and Engineering Sciences 378 (2177).
    To demarcate the limits of experimental knowledge, we probe the limits of what might be called an experiment. By appeal to examples of scientific practice from astrophysics and analogue gravity, we demonstrate that the reliability of knowledge regarding certain phenomena gained from an experiment is not circumscribed by the manipulability or accessibility of the target phenomena. Rather, the limits of experimental knowledge are set by the extent to which strategies for what we call ‘inductive triangulation’ are available: that is, the (...)
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  • Misled by Metaphor: The Problem of Ingrained Analogy.Andrea Sullivan-Clarke - 2019 - Perspectives on Science 27 (2):153-170.
    Metaphor is an essential part of scientific reasoning.1 The scientists that rely on metaphor, however, are not necessarily aware of its implicit influence, making it easy for the correspondences implied by a metaphor to be taken for granted, affecting scientific practice. In "Race and Gender: The Role of Analogy in Science," historian Nancy Leys Stepan's discussion of nineteenth century research on human difference highlights this particular worry, demonstrating a need for scientific communities to critically examine the use of metaphor in (...)
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  • Drawing in a Social Science: Lithic Illustration.Dominic McIver Lopes - 2009 - Perspectives on Science 17 (1):pp. 5-25.
    Scientific images represent types or particulars. According to a standard history and epistemology of scientific images, drawings are fit to represent types and machine-made images are fit to represent particulars. The fact that archaeologists use drawings of particulars challenges this standard history and epistemology. It also suggests an account of the epistemic quality of archaeological drawings. This account stresses how images integrate non-conceptual and interepretive content.
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  • Warrants, Middle-Range Theories, and Inferential Scaffolding in Archaeological Interpretation.Kristin Kokkov - 2019 - Perspectives on Science 27 (2):171-186.
    Archaeology is a domain that studies material remains of past action in order to interpret past context and understand social structures and cultural dynamics. The archaeological record is the primary research object of archaeologists. It consists of static material traces of past events in the present and, by itself, it does not inform us about the past. The meaning of the archaeological record can be understood only by studying it, i.e. how the material remains were formed and what might have (...)
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  • The Devil is in the (Historical) Details: Continental Drift as a Case of Normatively Appropriate Consensus?Naomi Oreskes - 2008 - Perspectives on Science 16 (3):pp. 253-264.
    In Social Empiricism, Miriam Solomon proposes a via media between traditional philosophical realism and social construction of scientific knowledge, but ignores a large body of historical literature that has attempted to plough just that path. She also proposes a standard for normatively appropriate consensus that, arguably, no theory in the history of science has ever achieved, including her own ideal type—plate tectonics. And while valorizing dissent, she fails to consider how dissent has been used in recent decades as a political (...)
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  • Scientific Change as Political Action: Franz Boas and the Anthropology of Race.Mark Risjord - 2007 - Philosophy of the Social Sciences 37 (1):24-45.
    A theory is value-neutral when no constitutive values are part of its content. Nonneutral theories seem to lack objectivity because it is not clear how the constitutive values could be empirically confirmed. This article analyzes Franz Boas’s famous arguments against nineteenth-century evolutionary anthropology and racial theory. While he recognized that talk of "higher civilizations" encoded a constitutive, political value with consequences for slavery and colonialism, he argued against it on empirical and methodological grounds. Boas’s arguments thus provide a model of (...)
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  • Galilean Reflections on Milton Friedman’s "Methodology of Positive Economics," with Thoughts on Vernon Smith’s "Economics in the Laboratory".Eric Schliesser - 2005 - Philosophy of the Social Sciences 35 (1):50-74.
    In this article, the author offers a discussion of the evidential role of the Galilean constant in the history of physics. The author argues that measurable constants help theories constrain data. Theories are engines for research, and this helps explain why the Duhem-Quine thesis does not undermine scientific practice. The author connects his argument to discussion of two famous papers in the history of economic methodology, Milton Friedman's 'Methodology of Positive Economics', which appealed to example of Galilean Law of Fall (...)
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  • A New Path for Humanistic Medicine.Juliette Ferry-Danini - 2018 - Theoretical Medicine and Bioethics 39 (1):57-77.
    According to recent approaches in the philosophy of medicine, biomedicine should be replaced or complemented by a humanistic medical model. Two humanistic approaches, narrative medicine and the phenomenology of medicine, have grown particularly popular in recent decades. This paper first suggests that these humanistic criticisms of biomedicine are insufficient. A central problem is that both approaches seem to offer a straw man definition of biomedicine. It then argues that the subsequent definition of humanism found in these approaches is problematically reduced (...)
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  • Computer Simulations in Science and Engineering. Concept, Practices, Perspectives.Juan Manuel Durán - 2018 - Springer.
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  • Historical Science, Over- and Underdetermined: A Study of Darwin’s Inference of Origins.Aviezer Tucker - 2011 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 62 (4):805-829.
    The epistemology of the historical sciences has been debated recently. Cleland argued that the effects of the past overdetermine it. Turner argued that the past is underdetermined by its effects because of the decay of information from the past. I argue that the extent of over- and underdetermination cannot be approximated by philosophical inquiry. It is an empirical question that each historical science attempts to answer. Philosophers should examine how paradigmatic cases of historical science handled underdetermination or utilized overdetermination. I (...)
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  • Mass Extinctions as Major Transitions.Adrian Currie - 2019 - Biology and Philosophy 34 (2):29.
    Both paleobiology and investigations of ‘major evolutionary transitions’ are intimately concerned with the macroevolutionary shape of life. It is surprising, then, how little studies of major transitions are informed by paleontological perspectives and. I argue that this disconnect is partially justified because paleobiological investigation is typically ‘phenomena-led’, while investigations of major transitions are ‘theory-led’. The distinction turns on evidential relevance: in the former case, evidence is relevant in virtue of its relationship to some phenomena or hypotheses concerning those phenomena; in (...)
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  • The Myth of Universal Patriarchy: A Critical Response to Cynthia Eller’s Myth of Matriarchal Prehistory.Joan Marler - 2006 - Feminist Theology 14 (2):163-187.
    In The Myth of Matriarchal Prehistory, Cynthia Eller describes a dangerous, ‘ennobling lie’ that must be overturned in order for women to have a viable future. The so-called matriarchal myth which she attempts to debunk is the idea that human societies have not always supported male domination in social structure and religious practice and that societies have existed in which women and the entire natural world were honored. This article examines Eller’s stated assumption that such ideas are utopian inventions and (...)
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  • Archaeological Possibilities for Feminist Theories of Transition and Transformation.Yvonne Marshall - 2008 - Feminist Theory 9 (1):25-45.
    Archaeology takes up material fragments from distant and recent pasts to create narratives of personal and collective identity. It is, therefore, a powerful voice shaping our current and future social worlds. Feminist theory has to date made little reference to archaeology and its projects, in part because archaeologists have primarily chosen to work with normative forms of gender theory rather than forge new theory informed by archaeological insights. This paper argues that archaeology has considerably more potential for feminist theorizing than (...)
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  • Data Shadows: Knowledge, Openness, and Absence.Gail Davies, Brian Rappert & Sabina Leonelli - 2017 - Science, Technology, and Human Values 42 (2):191-202.
    This editorial critically engages with the understanding of openness by attending to how notions of presence and absence come bundled together as part of efforts to make open. This is particularly evident in contemporary discourse around data production, dissemination, and use. We highlight how the preoccupations with making data present can be usefully analyzed and understood by tracing the related concerns around what is missing, unavailable, or invisible, which unvaryingly but often implicitly accompany debates about data and openness.
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  • How Archaeological Evidence Bites Back: Strategies for Putting Old Data to Work in New Ways.Alison Wylie - 2017 - Science, Technology, and Human Values 42 (2):203-225.
    Archaeological data are shadowy in a number of senses. Not only are they notoriously fragmentary but the conceptual and technical scaffolding on which archaeologists rely to constitute these data as evidence can be as constraining as it is enabling. A recurrent theme in internal archaeological debate is that reliance on sedimented layers of interpretative scaffolding carries the risk that “preunderstandings” configure what archaeologists recognize and record as primary data, and how they interpret it as evidence. The selective and destructive nature (...)
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  • What Difference Does Quantity Make? On the Epistemology of Big Data in Biology.S. Leonelli - 2014 - Big Data and Society 1 (1).
    Is Big Data science a whole new way of doing research? And what difference does data quantity make to knowledge production strategies and their outputs? I argue that the novelty of Big Data science does not lie in the sheer quantity of data involved, but rather in the prominence and status acquired by data as commodity and recognised output, both within and outside of the scientific community and the methods, infrastructures, technologies, skills and knowledge developed to handle data. These developments (...)
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  • Archaeology in the Humanities.Norman Yoffee & Severin Fowles - 2011 - Diogenes 58 (1-2):35-52.
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  • From Things to Thinking: Cognitive Archaeology.Adrian Currie & Anton Killin - 2019 - Mind and Language 34 (2):263-279.
    Cognitive archaeologists infer from material remains to the cognitive features of past societies. We characterize cognitive archaeology in terms of trace-based reasoning, which in the case of cognitive archaeology involves inferences drawing upon background theory linking objects from the archaeological record to cognitive features. We analyse such practices, examining work on cognitive evolution, language, and musicality. We argue that the central epistemic challenge for cognitive archaeology is often not a paucity of material remains, but insufficient constraint from cognitive theories. However, (...)
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  • The Speculum of Ignorance: The Women's Health Movement and Epistemologies of Ignorance.Nancy Tuana - 2006 - Hypatia 21 (3):1-19.
    : This essay aims to clarify the value of developing systematic studies of ignorance as a component of any robust theory of knowledge. The author employs feminist efforts to recover and create knowledge of women's bodies in the contemporary women's health movement as a case study for cataloging different types of ignorance and shedding light on the nature of their production. She also helps us understand the ways resistance movements can be a helpful site for understanding how to identify, critique, (...)
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  • Barad's Feminist Naturalism.Joseph Rouse - 2004 - Hypatia 19 (1):142-161.
    : Philosophical naturalism is ambiguous between conjoining philosophy with science or with nature understood scientifically. Reconciliation of this ambiguity is necessary but rarely attempted. Feminist science studies often endorse the former naturalism but criticize the second. Karen Barad's agential realism, however, constructively reconciles both senses. Barad then challenges traditional metaphysical naturalisms as not adequately accountable to science. She also contributes distinctively to feminist reinterpretations of objectivity as agential responsibility, and of agency as embodied, worldly, and intra-active.
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  • Feminist Metaphysics: Can This Marriage Be Saved?Jennifer McKitrick - 2018 - In Pieranna Garavaso (ed.), The Bloomsbury Companion to Academic Feminism. Bloomsbury. pp. 58-79.
    Feminist metaphysics is simultaneously feminist theorizing and metaphysics. Part of feminist metaphysics concerns social ontology and considers such questions as, What is the nature of social kinds, such as genders? Feminist metaphysicians also consider whether gendered perspectives influence metaphysical theorizing; for example, have approaches to the nature of the self or free will been conducted from a masculinist perspective, and would a feminist perspective yield different theories? Some feminist metaphysicians develop metaphysical theories with the aim of furthering certain social goals, (...)
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  • Assessing the Cogency of Arguments: Lbree Kinds of Merits.William Rehg - 2005 - Informal Logic 25 (2):95-115.
    This article proposes a way of connecting two levels at which scholars have studied discursive practices from a normative perspective: on the one hand, local transactions-face-to-face arguments or dialogues-and broadly dispersed public debates on the other. To help focus my analysis, I select two representatives of work at these two levels: the pragmadialectical model of critical discussion and Habermas's discourse theory of politicallegal deliberation. The two models confront complementary challenges that arise from gaps between their prescriptions and contexts of actual (...)
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  • Concealment and Discovery: The Role of Information Security in Biomedical Data Re-Use.N. Tempini & Leonelli Sabina - forthcoming - Social Studies of Science.
    This paper analyses the role of information security in shaping the dissemination and re-use of biomedical data, as well as the embedding of such data in the material, social and regulatory landscapes of research. We consider the data management practices adopted by two UK-based data linkage infrastructures: the Secure Anonymised Information Linkage, a Welsh databank that facilitates appropriate re-use of health data derived from research and routine medical practice in the region; and the Medical and Environmental Data Mash-up Infrastructure, a (...)
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  • Deliberative Democracy and the Epistemic Benefits of Diversity.James Bohman - 2006 - Episteme 3 (3):175-191.
    It is often assumed that democracies can make good use of the epistemic benefi ts of diversity among their citizenry, but difficult to show why this is the case. In a deliberative democracy, epistemically relevant diversity has three aspects: the diversity of opinions, values, and perspectives. Deliberative democrats generally argue for an epistemic form of Rawls' difference principle: that good deliberative practice ought to maximize deliberative inputs, whatever they are, so as to benefi t all deliberators, including the least eff (...)
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  • What Counts as 'What Works': Expertise, Mechanisms and Values in Evidence-Based Medicine.Sarah Wieten - 2018 - Dissertation, Durham University
    My doctoral project is a study of epistemological and ethical issues in Evidence-Based Medicine, a movement in medicine which emphasizes the use of randomized controlled trials. Much of the research on EBM suggests that, for a large part of the movement's history, EBM considered expertise, mechanisms, and values to be forces contrary to its goals and has sought to remove them, both from medical research and from the clinical encounter. I argue, however, that expertise, mechanisms and values have important epistemological (...)
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  • The Speculum of Ignorance: The Women's Health Movement and Epistemologies of Ignorance.Nancy Tuana - 2006 - Hypatia 21 (3):1-19.
    This essay aims to clarify the value of developing systematic studies of ignorance as a component of any robust theory of knowledge. The author employs feminist efforts to recover and create knowledge of women's bodies in the contemporary women's health movement as a case study for cataloging different types of ignorance and shedding light on the nature of their production. She also helps us understand the ways resistance movements can be a helpful site for understanding how to identify, critique, and (...)
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  • Barad's Feminist Naturalism.Joseph Rouse - 2004 - Hypatia 19 (1):142-161.
    Philosophical naturalism is ambiguous between conjoining philosophy with science or with nature understood scientifically. Reconciliation of this ambiguity is necessary but rarely attempted. Feminist science studies often endorse the former naturalism but criticize the second. Karen Barad's agential realism, however, constructively reconciles both senses. Barad then challenges traditional metaphysical naturalisms as not adequately accountable to science. She also contributes distinctively to feminist reinterpretations of objectivity as agential responsibility, and of agency as embodied, worldly, and intra-active.
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  • Classificatory Theory in Data-Intensive Science: The Case of Open Biomedical Ontologies.Sabina Leonelli - 2012 - International Studies in the Philosophy of Science 26 (1):47 - 65.
    Knowledge-making practices in biology are being strongly affected by the availability of data on an unprecedented scale, the insistence on systemic approaches and growing reliance on bioinformatics and digital infrastructures. What role does theory play within data-intensive science, and what does that tell us about scientific theories in general? To answer these questions, I focus on Open Biomedical Ontologies, digital classification tools that have become crucial to sharing results across research contexts in the biological and biomedical sciences, and argue that (...)
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  • Mapping a Research Agenda Concerning Gender and Climate Change: A Review of the Literature. [REVIEW]Christina Shaheen Moosa & Nancy Tuana - 2014 - Hypatia 29 (3):677-694.
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  • Tecnociência comercialmente orientada ou investigação multiestratégica?Hugh Lacey - 2014 - Scientiae Studia 12 (4):669-695.
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  • Review of Evidential Reasoning in ArchaeologyRobert Chapman and Alison Wylie, Evidential Reasoning in Archaeology. London: Bloomsbury Academic , 264 Pp., $82.00. [REVIEW]Adrian Currie - 2017 - Philosophy of Science 84 (4):782-790.
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  • Books Received. [REVIEW][author unknown] - 2003 - International Journal of Philosophical Studies 11 (4):493-499.
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  • Circles of Reason: Some Feminist Reflections on Reason and Rationality.Helen Longino - 2005 - Episteme 2 (1):79-88.
    Rationality and reason are topics so fraught for feminists that any useful reflection on them requires some prior exploration of the difficulties they have caused. One of those difficulties for feminists and, I suspect, for others in the margins of modernity, is the rhetoric of reason – the ways reason is bandied about as a qualification differentially bestowed on different types of person. Rhetorically, it functions in different ways depending on whether it is being denied or affirmed. In this paper, (...)
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  • Epistemic Trust and Social Location.Nancy Daukas - 2006 - Episteme 3 (1-2):109-124.
    Epistemic trustworthiness is defined as a complex character state that supervenes on a relation between first- and second-order beliefs, including beliefs about others as epistemic agents. In contexts shaped by unjust power relations, its second-order components create a mutually supporting link between a deficiency in epistemic character and unjust epistemic exclusion on the basis of group membership. In this way, a deficiency in the virtue of epistemic trustworthiness plays into social/epistemic interactions that perpetuate social injustice. Overcoming that deficiency and, along (...)
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  • Arqueologia E a Crítica Feminista da Ciência Entrevista Com Alison Wylie.Kelly Koide, Mariana Toledo Ferreira & Marisol Marini - 2014 - Scientiae Studia 12 (3):549-590.
    Muitos termos possuem um sentido técnico sem que ele seja evidente para todos, por exemplo, a "governança ambiental", termo que remete no contexto atual a uma participação cidadã nesse tipo de questão, por exemplo, da saúde de um ecossistema específico, tal como uma floresta ou um vale agrícola, a partir de preocupações partilhadas e não a partir de uma problemática de controle organizacional. Após ter tornado preciso o que é a expertise e quais são os principais problemas postos pelo recurso (...)
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  • Eoliths as Evidence for Human Origins? The British Context.Marianne Sommer - 2004 - History and Philosophy of the Life Sciences 26 (2):209 - 241.
    In the second half of the nineteenth century, France was the main site of the controversy around the so-called eoliths, supposedly human-made tools of Tertiary Europe. In contrast to the more common situation where scientists have to make sure that an object stabilized in a laboratory is not an artifact of the lab but a natural object, in the eoliths debates the opposite was the case. The eolith proponents tried to render plausible the object's artificial, that is human, origin. In (...)
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  • The Social Dimensions of Scientific Knowledge.Helen Longino - 2008 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
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