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Maarten Boudry
University of Ghent
  1. Prove It! The Burden of Proof Game in Science Vs. Pseudoscience Disputes.Massimo Pigliucci & Maarten Boudry - 2014 - Philosophia 42 (2):487-502.
    The concept of burden of proof is used in a wide range of discourses, from philosophy to law, science, skepticism, and even in everyday reasoning. This paper provides an analysis of the proper deployment of burden of proof, focusing in particular on skeptical discussions of pseudoscience and the paranormal, where burden of proof assignments are most poignant and relatively clear-cut. We argue that burden of proof is often misapplied or used as a mere rhetorical gambit, with little appreciation of the (...)
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  2. The Fake, the Flimsy, and the Fallacious: Demarcating Arguments in Real Life.Maarten Boudry, Fabio Paglieri & Massimo Pigliucci - 2015 - Argumentation 29 (4):10.1007/s10503-015-9359-1.
    Philosophers of science have given up on the quest for a silver bullet to put an end to all pseudoscience, as such a neat formal criterion to separate good science from its contenders has proven elusive. In the literature on critical thinking and in some philosophical quarters, however, this search for silver bullets lives on in the taxonomies of fallacies. The attractive idea is to have a handy list of abstract definitions or argumentation schemes, on the basis of which one (...)
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  3. What Makes Weird Beliefs Thrive? The Epidemiology of Pseudoscience.Maarten Boudry, Stefaan Blancke & Massimo Pigliucci - 2015 - Philosophical Psychology 28 (8):1177-1198.
    What makes beliefs thrive? In this paper, we model the dissemination of bona fide science versus pseudoscience, making use of Dan Sperber's epidemiological model of representations. Drawing on cognitive research on the roots of irrational beliefs and the institutional arrangement of science, we explain the dissemination of beliefs in terms of their salience to human cognition and their ability to adapt to specific cultural ecologies. By contrasting the cultural development of science and pseudoscience along a number of dimensions, we gain (...)
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  4. The Mismeasure of Machine: Synthetic Biology and the Trouble with Engineering Metaphors.Maarten Boudry & Massimo Pigliucci - 2013 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences (4):660-668.
    The scientific study of living organisms is permeated by machine and design metaphors. Genes are thought of as the ‘‘blueprint’’ of an organism, organisms are ‘‘reverse engineered’’ to discover their func- tionality, and living cells are compared to biochemical factories, complete with assembly lines, transport systems, messenger circuits, etc. Although the notion of design is indispensable to think about adapta- tions, and engineering analogies have considerable heuristic value (e.g., optimality assumptions), we argue they are limited in several important respects. In (...)
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  5. Why Machine-Information Metaphors Are Bad for Science and Science Education.Massimo Pigliucci & Maarten Boudry - 2011 - Science & Education 20 (5-6):471.
    Genes are often described by biologists using metaphors derived from computa- tional science: they are thought of as carriers of information, as being the equivalent of ‘‘blueprints’’ for the construction of organisms. Likewise, cells are often characterized as ‘‘factories’’ and organisms themselves become analogous to machines. Accordingly, when the human genome project was initially announced, the promise was that we would soon know how a human being is made, just as we know how to make airplanes and buildings. Impor- tantly, (...)
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  6. Why the Demarcation Problem Matters.Massimo Pigliucci & Maarten Boudry - 2013 - In Massimo Pigliucci & Maarten Boudry (eds.), Philosophy of Pseudoscience: Reconsidering the Demarcation Problem.
    Ever since Socrates, philosophers have been in the business of asking ques- tions of the type “What is X?” The point has not always been to actually find out what X is, but rather to explore how we think about X, to bring up to the surface wrong ways of thinking about it, and hopefully in the process to achieve an increasingly better understanding of the matter at hand. In the early part of the twentieth century one of the most (...)
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  7. The Hypothesis That Saves the Day: Ad Hoc Reasoning in Pseudoscience.Maarten Boudry - 2013 - Logique Et Analyse 223:245-258.
    What is wrong with ad hoc hypotheses? Ever since Popper’s falsificationist account of adhocness, there has been a lively philosophical discussion about what constitutes adhocness in scientific explanation, and what, if anything, distinguishes legitimate auxiliary hypotheses from illicit ad hoc ones. This paper draws upon distinct examples from pseudoscience to provide us with a clearer view as to what is troubling about ad hoc hypotheses. In contrast with other philosophical proposals, our approach retains the colloquial, derogative meaning of adhocness, and (...)
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  8. Natural Selection Does Care About Truth.Maarten Boudry & Michael Vlerick - 2014 - International Studies in the Philosophy of Science 28 (1):65-77.
    True beliefs are better guides to the world than false ones. This is the commonsense assumption that undergirds theorizing in evolutionary epistemology. According to Alvin Plantinga, however, evolution by natural selection does not care about truth, it only cares about fitness. If our cognitive faculties are the products of blind evolution, we have no reason to trust them, anytime or anywhere. Evolutionary naturalism, consequently, is a self-defeating position. Following up on earlier objections, we uncover three additional flaws in Plantinga's latest (...)
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  9.  44
    Can Evolution Get Us Off the Hook? Evaluating the Ecological Defence of Human Rationality.Maarten Boudry, Michael Vlerick & Ryan McKay - 2015 - Consciousness and Cognition 33:524-535.
    This paper discusses the ecological case for epistemic innocence: does biased cognition have evolutionary benefits, and if so, does that exculpate human reasoners from irrationality? Proponents of ‘ecological rationality’ have challenged the bleak view of human reasoning emerging from research on biases and fallacies. If we approach the human mind as an adaptive toolbox, tailored to the structure of the environment, many alleged biases and fallacies turn out to be artefacts of narrow norms and artificial set-ups. However, we argue that (...)
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  10. The Mismeasure of Machine: Synthetic Biology and the Trouble with Engineering Metaphors.Maarten Boudry & Massimo Pigliucci - 2013 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C: Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences 44 (4):660-668.
    The scientific study of living organisms is permeated by machine and design metaphors. Genes are thought of as the ‘‘blueprint’’ of an organism, organisms are ‘‘reverse engineered’’ to discover their functionality, and living cells are compared to biochemical factories, complete with assembly lines, transport systems, messenger circuits, etc. Although the notion of design is indispensable to think about adaptations, and engineering analogies have considerable heuristic value (e.g., optimality assumptions), we argue they are limited in several important respects. In particular, the (...)
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  11. Loki's Wager and Laudan's Error: On Genuine and Territorial Demarcation.Maarten Boudry - 2013 - In Massimo Pigliucci & Maarten Boudry (eds.), Philosophy of Pseudoscience: Reconsidering the Demarcation Problem. University of Chicago Press. pp. 79--98.
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  12.  84
    Het 'Universele Zuur' van de Evolutionaire Psychologie?Maarten Boudry, Helen De Cruz, Stefaan Blancke & Johan De Smedt - 2011 - Tijdschrift Voor Filosofie 73 (2):287-305.
    In a previous issue of Tijdschrift voor Filosofie, Filip Buekens argues that evolutionary psychology (EP), or some interpretations thereof, have a corrosive impact on our ‘manifest self-image’. Buekens wants to defend and protect the global adequacy of this manifest self-image in the face of what he calls evolutionary revisionism. Although we largely agree with Buekens’ central argument, we criticize his analysis on several accounts, making some constructive proposals to strengthen his case. First, Buekens’ argument fails to target EP, because his (...)
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  13.  18
    Psychological Closure Does Not Entail Cognitive Closure.Michael Vlerick & Maarten Boudry - 2017 - Dialectica 71 (1):101-115.
    According to some philosophers, we are “cognitively closed” to the answers to certain problems. McGinn has taken the next step and offered a list of examples: the mind/body problem, the problem of the self and the problem of free will. There are naturalistic, scientific answers to these problems, he argues, but we cannot reach them because of our cognitive limitations. In this paper, we take issue with McGinn's thesis as the most well-developed and systematic one among the so-called “new mysterians”. (...)
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