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Elliott Sober
University of Wisconsin, Madison
  1.  30
    Inference to the Best Explanation and the Screening-Off Challenge.William Roche & Elliott Sober - forthcoming - Teorema: International Journal of Philosophy.
    We argue in Roche and Sober (2013) that explanatoriness is evidentially irrelevant in that Pr(H | O&EXPL) = Pr(H | O), where H is a hypothesis, O is an observation, and EXPL is the proposition that if H and O were true, then H would explain O. This is a “screening-off” thesis. Here we clarify that thesis, reply to criticisms advanced by Lange (2017), consider alternative formulations of Inference to the Best Explanation, discuss a strengthened screening-off thesis, and consider how (...)
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  2.  25
    Observation Selection Effects and Discrimination-Conduciveness.William Roche & Elliott Sober - 2019 - Philosophers' Imprint 19:1-26.
    We conceptualize observation selection effects (OSEs) by considering how a shift from one process of observation to another affects discrimination-conduciveness, by which we mean the degree to which possible observations discriminate between hypotheses, given the observation process at work. OSEs in this sense come in degrees and are causal, where the cause is the shift in process, and the effect is a change in degree of discrimination-conduciveness. We contrast our understanding of OSEs with others that have appeared in the literature. (...)
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  3. Explanatoriness and Evidence: A Reply to McCain and Poston.William Roche & Elliott Sober - 2014 - Thought: A Journal of Philosophy 3 (3):193-199.
    We argue elsewhere that explanatoriness is evidentially irrelevant . Let H be some hypothesis, O some observation, and E the proposition that H would explain O if H and O were true. Then O screens-off E from H: Pr = Pr. This thesis, hereafter “SOT” , is defended by appeal to a representative case. The case concerns smoking and lung cancer. McCain and Poston grant that SOT holds in cases, like our case concerning smoking and lung cancer, that involve frequency (...)
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  4. Fodor’s Bubbe Meise Against Darwinism.Elliott Sober - 2008 - Mind and Language 23 (1):42-49.
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  5. Puzzles for ZFEL, McShea and Brandon’s Zero Force Evolutionary Law.Martin Barrett, Hayley Clatterbuck, Michael Goldsby, Casey Helgeson, Brian McLoone, Trevor Pearce, Elliott Sober, Reuben Stern & Naftali Weinberger - 2012 - Biology and Philosophy 27 (5):723-735.
    In their 2010 book, Biology’s First Law, D. McShea and R. Brandon present a principle that they call ‘‘ZFEL,’’ the zero force evolutionary law. ZFEL says (roughly) that when there are no evolutionary forces acting on a population, the population’s complexity (i.e., how diverse its member organisms are) will increase. Here we develop criticisms of ZFEL and describe a different law of evolution; it says that diversity and complexity do not change when there are no evolutionary causes.
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  6. Is Explanatoriness a Guide to Confirmation? A Reply to Climenhaga.William Roche & Elliott Sober - 2017 - Journal for General Philosophy of Science / Zeitschrift für Allgemeine Wissenschaftstheorie 48 (4):581-590.
    We argued that explanatoriness is evidentially irrelevant in the following sense: Let H be a hypothesis, O an observation, and E the proposition that H would explain O if H and O were true. Then our claim is that Pr = Pr. We defended this screening-off thesis by discussing an example concerning smoking and cancer. Climenhaga argues that SOT is mistaken because it delivers the wrong verdict about a slightly different smoking-and-cancer case. He also considers a variant of SOT, called (...)
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  7.  7
    Darwin y la selección de grupo.Elliott Sober - 2009 - Ludus Vitalis 17 (32):101-143.
    Do traits evolve because they are good for the group, or do they evolve because they are good for the individual organisms that have them? The question is whether groups, rather than individual organisms, are ever “units of selection.” My exposition begins with the 1960’s, when the idea that traits evolve because they are good for the group was criticized, not just for being factually mistaken, but for embodying a kind of confused thinking that is fundamentally at odds with the (...)
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  8.  3
    Evolución, pensamiento poblacionaly esencialismo.Elliott Sober - 2004 - Ludus Vitalis 12 (21):115-148.
    Los filósofos han tendido a discutir el esencialismo como si fuera una doctrina global, una filosofía que, por alguna razón uniforme, debiera ser adoptada por todas las ciencias o por ninguna. Popper (1972) ha adoptado una postura global negativa, porque ve al esencialismo como un obstáculo fundamental para la racionalidad científica. También Quine (1953b, 1960), por una combinación de motivos semánticos y epistemológicos, quiere desterrar el esencialismo de la totalidad del discurso científico. Sin embargo, en fechas más recientes, Putnam (1975) (...)
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