Results for 'Symmetry arguments, scientific explanation, scientific understanding, reformulations'

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  1.  99
    Epistemic Dependence & Understanding: Reformulating Through Symmetry.Joshua Robert Hunt - forthcoming - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science.
    Science frequently gives us multiple, compatible ways of solving the same problem or formulating the same theory. These compatible formulations change our understanding of the world, despite providing the same explanations. According to what I call "conceptualism," reformulations change our understanding by clarifying the epistemic structure of theories. I illustrate conceptualism by analyzing a typical example of symmetry-based reformulation in chemical physics. This case study poses a problem for "explanationism," the rival thesis that differences in understanding require ontic (...)
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  2. When Mechanisms Are Not Enough: The Origin of Eukaryotes and Scientific Explanation.Roger Deulofeu & Javier Suárez - 2018 - In Alexander Christian, David Hommen, Gerhard Schurz & N. Retzlaff (eds.), Philosophy of Science. European Studies in Philosophy of Science, vol 9. Dordrecht, Netherlands: pp. 95-115.
    The appeal to mechanisms in scientific explanation is commonplace in contemporary philosophy of science. In short, mechanists argue that an explanation of a phenomenon consists of citing the mechanism that brings the phenomenon about. In this paper, we present an argument that challenges the universality of mechanistic explanation: in explanations of the contemporary features of the eukaryotic cell, biologists appeal to its symbiogenetic origin and therefore the notion of symbiogenesis plays the main explanatory role. We defend the notion that (...)
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  3. Understanding and Equivalent Reformulations.Josh Hunt - 2021 - Philosophy of Science 88 (5):810-823.
    Reformulating a scientific theory often leads to a significantly different way of understanding the world. Nevertheless, accounts of both theoretical equivalence and scientific understanding have neglected this important aspect of scientific theorizing. This essay provides a positive account of how reformulation changes our understanding. My account simultaneously addresses a serious challenge facing existing accounts of scientific understanding. These accounts have failed to characterize understanding in a way that goes beyond the epistemology of scientific explanation. By (...)
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  4. Explanation and Understanding Revisited.Panu Raatikainen - 2017 - In Human Condition. Philosophical Essays in Honour of the Centennial Anniversary of Georg Henrik von Wright. Helsinki: , The Philosophical Society of Finland. pp. 339-353.
    "Explanation and Understanding" (1971) by Georg Henrik von Wright is a modern classic in analytic hermeneutics, and in the philosophy of the social sciences and humanities in general. In this work, von Wright argues against naturalism, or methodological monism, i.e. the idea that both the natural sciences and the social sciences follow broadly the same general scientific approach and aim to achieve causal explanations. Against this view, von Wright contends that the social sciences are qualitatively different from the natural (...)
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  5.  82
    Hempel on Scientific Understanding.Xingming Hu - 2021 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 88 (8):164-171.
    Hempel seems to hold the following three views: (H1) Understanding is pragmatic/relativistic: Whether one understands why X happened in terms of Explanation E depends on one's beliefs and cognitive abilities; (H2) Whether a scientific explanation is good, just like whether a mathematical proof is good, is a nonpragmatic and objective issue independent of the beliefs or cognitive abilities of individuals; (H3) The goal of scientific explanation is understanding: A good scientific explanation is the one that provides understanding. (...)
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  6. Understanding Scientific Progress: Aim-Oriented Empiricism.Nicholas Maxwell - 2017 - St. Paul, USA: Paragon House.
    "Understanding Scientific Progress constitutes a potentially enormous and revolutionary advancement in philosophy of science. It deserves to be read and studied by everyone with any interest in or connection with physics or the theory of science. Maxwell cites the work of Hume, Kant, J.S. Mill, Ludwig Bolzmann, Pierre Duhem, Einstein, Henri Poincaré, C.S. Peirce, Whitehead, Russell, Carnap, A.J. Ayer, Karl Popper, Thomas Kuhn, Imre Lakatos, Paul Feyerabend, Nelson Goodman, Bas van Fraassen, and numerous others. He lauds Popper for advancing (...)
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  7. Minimal Structure Explanations, Scientific Understanding and Explanatory Depth.Daniel Kostić - 2018 - Perspectives on Science (1):48-67.
    In this paper, I outline a heuristic for thinking about the relation between explanation and understanding that can be used to capture various levels of “intimacy”, between them. I argue that the level of complexity in the structure of explanation is inversely proportional to the level of intimacy between explanation and understanding, i.e. the more complexity the less intimacy. I further argue that the level of complexity in the structure of explanation also affects the explanatory depth in a similar way (...)
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  8. The Wisdom in Wood Rot: God in Eighteenth Century Scientific Explanation.Eric Palmer - 2011 - In William Krieger (ed.), Science at the Frontiers: Perspectives on the History and Philosophy of Science. Lexington Books. pp. 17-35.
    This chapter presents a historical study of how science has developed and of how philosophical theories of many sorts – philosophy of science, theory of the understanding, and philosophical theology – both enable and constrain certain lines of development in scientific practice. Its topic is change in the legitimacy or acceptability of scientific explanation that invokes purposes, or ends; specifically in the argument from design, in the natural science field of physico-theology, around the start of the eighteenth century. (...)
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  9. Mathematical Explanation by Law.Sam Baron - 2019 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 70 (3):683-717.
    Call an explanation in which a non-mathematical fact is explained—in part or in whole—by mathematical facts: an extra-mathematical explanation. Such explanations have attracted a great deal of interest recently in arguments over mathematical realism. In this article, a theory of extra-mathematical explanation is developed. The theory is modelled on a deductive-nomological theory of scientific explanation. A basic DN account of extra-mathematical explanation is proposed and then redeveloped in the light of two difficulties that the basic theory faces. The final (...)
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  10. Platonic Relations and Mathematical Explanations.Robert Knowles - forthcoming - The Philosophical Quarterly.
    Some scientific explanations appear to turn on pure mathematical claims. The enhanced indispensability argument appeals to these ‘mathematical explanations’ in support of mathematical platonism. I argue that the success of this argument rests on the claim that mathematical explanations locate pure mathematical facts on which their physical explananda depend, and that any account of mathematical explanation that supports this claim fails to provide an adequate understanding of mathematical explanation.
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  11. Non-Empirical Requirements Scientific Theories Must Satisfy: Simplicity, Unification, Explanation, Beauty.Nicholas Maxwell - 2004 - PhilSci Archive.
    A scientific theory, in order to be accepted as a part of theoretical scientific knowledge, must satisfy both empirical and non-empirical requirements, the latter having to do with simplicity, unity, explanatory character, symmetry, beauty. No satisfactory, generally accepted account of such non-empirical requirements has so far been given. Here, a proposal is put forward which, it is claimed, makes a contribution towards solving the problem. This proposal concerns unity of physical theory. In order to satisfy the non-empirical (...)
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  12. Scientific Explanation: Putting Communication First.Angela Potochnik - 2016 - Philosophy of Science 83 (5):721-732.
    Scientific explanations must bear the proper relationship to the world: they must depict what, out in the world, is responsible for the explanandum. But explanations must also bear the proper relationship to their audience: they must be able to create human understanding. With few exceptions, philosophical accounts of explanation either ignore entirely the relationship between explanations and their audience or else demote this consideration to an ancillary role. In contrast, I argue that considering an explanation’s communicative role is crucial (...)
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  13. Humean Scientific Explanation.Elizabeth Miller - 2015 - Philosophical Studies 172 (5):1311-1332.
    In a recent paper, Barry Loewer attempts to defend Humeanism about laws of nature from a charge that Humean laws are not adequately explanatory. Central to his defense is a distinction between metaphysical and scientific explanations: even if Humeans cannot offer further metaphysical explanations of particular features of their “mosaic,” that does not preclude them from offering scientific explanations of these features. According to Marc Lange, however, Loewer’s distinction is of no avail. Defending a transitivity principle linking (...) explanantia to their metaphysical grounds, Lange argues that a charge of explanatory inadequacy resurfaces once this intuitive principle is in place. This paper surveys, on behalf of the Humean, three strategies for responding to Lange’s criticism. The ready availability of these strategies suggests that Lange’s argument may not bolster anti-Humean convictions, since the argument rests on premises that those not antecedently sharing these convictions may well reject. The three strategies also correspond to three interesting ways of thinking about relations of grounding linking Humean laws and their instances, all of which are consistent with theses of Humean supervenience, and some of which have been heretofore overlooked. (shrink)
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  14. The Ontic Account of Scientific Explanation.Carl F. Craver - 2014 - In Marie I. Kaiser, Oliver R. Scholz, Daniel Plenge & Andreas Hüttemann (eds.), Explanation in the Special Sciences: The Case of Biology and History. Springer Verlag. pp. 27-52.
    According to one large family of views, scientific explanations explain a phenomenon (such as an event or a regularity) by subsuming it under a general representation, model, prototype, or schema (see Bechtel, W., & Abrahamsen, A. (2005). Explanation: A mechanist alternative. Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences, 36(2), 421–441; Churchland, P. M. (1989). A neurocomputational perspective: The nature of mind and the structure of science. Cambridge: MIT Press; Darden (2006); Hempel, C. G. (1965). Aspects of (...)
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  15. Understanding, Explanation, and Intelligibility: Henk de Regt: Understanding Scientific Understanding. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2017, Xii+301pp, £ 47.99HB. [REVIEW]Insa Lawler - 2018 - Metascience (1):57-60.
    Review of Henk de Regt's "Understanding Scientific Understanding".
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  16. Epistemic Selectivity, Historical Threats, and the Non-Epistemic Tenets of Scientific Realism.Timothy D. Lyons - 2017 - Synthese 194 (9):3203-3219.
    The scientific realism debate has now reached an entirely new level of sophistication. Faced with increasingly focused challenges, epistemic scientific realists have appropriately revised their basic meta-hypothesis that successful scientific theories are approximately true: they have emphasized criteria that render realism far more selective and, so, plausible. As a framework for discussion, I use what I take to be the most influential current variant of selective epistemic realism, deployment realism. Toward the identification of new case studies that (...)
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  17. Language and Scientific Explanation: Where Does Semantics Fit In?Eran Asoulin - 2020 - Berlin, Germany: Language Science Press.
    This book discusses the two main construals of the explanatory goals of semantic theories. The first, externalist conception, understands semantic theories in terms of a hermeneutic and interpretive explanatory project. The second, internalist conception, understands semantic theories in terms of the psychological mechanisms in virtue of which meanings are generated. It is argued that a fruitful scientific explanation is one that aims to uncover the underlying mechanisms in virtue of which the observable phenomena are made possible, and that a (...)
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  18. Beyond Explanation: Understanding as Dependency Modeling.Finnur Dellsén - 2018 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science (4):1261-1286.
    This paper presents and argues for an account of objectual understanding that aims to do justice to the full range of cases of scientific understanding, including cases in which one does not have an explanation of the understood phenomenon. According to the proposed account, one understands a phenomenon just in case one grasps a sufficiently accurate and comprehensive model of the ways in which it or its features are situated within a network of dependence relations; one’s degree of understanding (...)
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  19. The Truth About Better Understanding?Lewis Ross - forthcoming - Erkenntnis:1-24.
    The notion of understanding occupies an increasingly prominent place in contemporary epistemology, philosophy of science, and moral theory. A central and ongoing debate about the nature of understanding is how it relates to the truth. In a series of influential contributions, Catherine Elgin has used a variety of familiar motivations for antirealism in philosophy of science to defend a non- factive theory of understanding. Key to her position are: (i) the fact that false theories can contribute to the upwards trajectory (...)
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  20. Reducing Uncertainty: Understanding the Information-Theoretic Origins of Consciousness.Garrett Mindt - 2020 - Dissertation, Central European University
    Ever since the hard problem of consciousness (Chalmers, 1996, 1995) first entered the scene in the debate over consciousness many have taken it to show the limitations of a scientific or naturalist explanation of consciousness. The hard problem is the problem of explaining why there is any experience associated with certain physical processes, that is, why there is anything it is like associated with such physical processes? The character of one’s experience doesn’t seem to be entailed by physical processes (...)
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  21. Unification and the Myth of Purely Reductive Understanding.Michael J. Shaffer - 2020 - Organon F: Medzinárodný Časopis Pre Analytickú Filozofiu 27:142-168.
    In this paper significant challenges are raised with respect to the view that explanation essentially involves unification. These objections are raised specifically with respect to the well-known versions of unificationism developed and defended by Michael Friedman and Philip Kitcher. The objections involve the explanatory regress argument and the concepts of reduction and scientific understanding. Essentially, the contention made here is that these versions of unificationism wrongly assume that reduction secures understanding.
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  22. A Problem-Solving Account of Scientific Explanation.Gary Hardcastle - manuscript
    An account of scientific explanation is presented according to which (1) scientific explanation consists in solving “insight” problems (Metcalfe and Wiebe 1984) and (2) understanding is the result of solving such problems. The theory is pragmatic; it draws upon van Fraassen’s (1977, 1980) insights, avoids the objections to pragmatic accounts offered by Kitcher and Salmon (1987), and relates scientific explanation directly to understanding. The theory also accommodates cases of explanatory asymmetry and intuitively legitimate rejections of explanation requests.
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  23.  45
    Roy Bhaskar on Scientific Progress and the Fallibility of Cognition: A Critique of Four Approaches.Maryam Poostforush - 2021 - Journal of Philosophical Theological Research 23 (1):131-148.
    So far, various approaches have been proposed to explain the progress of science. These approaches, which fall under a fourfold classification, are as follows: semantic, functional, epistemic, and noetic approaches. Each of these approaches, based on the intended purpose of science, defines progress on the same basis. The semantic approach defines progress based on the approximation to the truth, the functional approach based on problem-solving, the epistemic approach based on knowledge accumulation, and the noetic approach based on increased understanding. With (...)
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  24. The No‐Miracles Argument for Realism: Inference to an Unacceptable Explanation.Greg Frost‐Arnold - 2010 - Philosophy of Science 77 (1):35-58.
    I argue that a certain type of naturalist should not accept a prominent version of the no-miracles argument (NMA). First, scientists (usually) do not accept explanations whose explanans-statements neither generate novel predictions nor unify apparently disparate established claims. Second, scientific realism (as it appears in the NMA) is an explanans that makes no new predictions and fails to unify disparate established claims. Third, many proponents of the NMA explicitly adopt a naturalism that forbids philosophy of science from using any (...)
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  25. Realism and Explanatory Perspectivism.Juha Saatsi - forthcoming - In Michela Massimi & C. D. McCoy (eds.), Understanding Perspectivism: Scientific Challenges and Methodological Prospects. New York: Routledge.
    This chapter defends a (minimal) realist conception of progress in scientific understanding in the face of the ubiquitous plurality of perspectives in science. The argument turns on the counterfactual-dependence framework of explanation and understanding, which is illustrated and evidenced with reference to different explanations of the rainbow.
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  26. Scientific Progress, Understanding, and Knowledge: Reply to Park.Finnur Dellsén - 2018 - Journal for General Philosophy of Science / Zeitschrift für Allgemeine Wissenschaftstheorie 49 (3):451-459.
    Dellsén has recently argued for an understanding-based account of scientific progress, the noetic account, according to which science makes cognitive progress precisely when it increases our understanding of some aspect of the world. I contrast this account with Bird’s ; epistemic account, according to which such progress is made precisely when our knowledge of the world is increased or accumulated. In a recent paper, Park criticizes various aspects of my account and his arguments in favor of the noetic account (...)
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  27. The “Positive Argument” for Constructive Empiricism and Inference to the Best Explanation.Moti Mizrahi - 2018 - Journal for General Philosophy of Science / Zeitschrift für Allgemeine Wissenschaftstheorie 49 (3):461–466.
    In this paper, I argue that the “positive argument” for Constructive Empiricism (CE), according to which CE “makes better sense of science, and of scientific activity, than realism does” (van Fraassen 1980, 73), is an Inference to the Best Explanation (IBE). But constructive empiricists are critical of IBE, and thus they have to be critical of their own “positive argument” for CE. If my argument is sound, then constructive empiricists are in the awkward position of having to reject their (...)
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  28. Early Modern Mathematical Principles and Symmetry Arguments.James Franklin - 2017 - In The Idea of Principles in Early Modern Thought Interdisciplinary Perspectives. New York, USA: Routledge. pp. 16-44.
    The leaders of the Scientific Revolution were not Baconian in temperament, in trying to build up theories from data. Their project was that same as in Aristotle's Posterior Analytics: they hoped to find necessary principles that would show why the observations must be as they are. Their use of mathematics to do so expanded the Aristotelian project beyond the qualitative methods used by Aristotle and the scholastics. In many cases they succeeded.
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  29. Dynamical Versus Structural Explanations in Scientific Revolutions.Mauro Dorato - 2017 - Synthese 194 (7):2307-2327.
    By briefly reviewing three well-known scientific revolutions in fundamental physics (the discovery of inertia, of special relativity and of general relativity), I claim that problems that were supposed to be crying for a dynamical explanation in the old paradigm ended up receiving a structural explanation in the new one. This claim is meant to give more substance to Kuhn’s view that revolutions are accompanied by a shift in what needs to be explained, while suggesting at the same time the (...)
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  30. Extending the Argument From Unconceived Alternatives: Observations, Models, Predictions, Explanations, Methods, Instruments, Experiments, and Values.Darrell Patrick Rowbottom - 2016 - Synthese (10).
    Stanford’s argument against scientific realism focuses on theories, just as many earlier arguments from inconceivability have. However, there are possible arguments against scientific realism involving unconceived (or inconceivable) entities of different types: observations, models, predictions, explanations, methods, instruments, experiments, and values. This paper charts such arguments. In combination, they present the strongest challenge yet to scientific realism.
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  31.  23
    Understanding Students’ Reasoning: Argumentation Schemes as an Interpretation Method in Science Education.Aikaterini Konstantinidou & Fabrizio Macagno - 2013 - Science & Education 22 (5):1069-1087.
    The relationship between teaching and argumentation is becoming a crucial issue in the field of education and, in particular, science education. Teaching has been analyzed as a dialogue aimed at persuading the interlocutors, introducing a conceptual change that needs to be grounded on the audience’s background knowledge. This paper addresses this issue from a perspective of argumentation studies. Our claim is that argumentation schemes, namely abstract patterns of argument, can be an instrument for reconstructing the tacit premises in students’ argumentative (...)
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  32. Scientific Progress: Four Accounts.Finnur Dellsén - 2018 - Philosophy Compass 13 (11):e12525.
    Scientists are constantly making observations, carrying out experiments, and analyzing empirical data. Meanwhile, scientific theories are routinely being adopted, revised, discarded, and replaced. But when are such changes to the content of science improvements on what came before? This is the question of scientific progress. One answer is that progress occurs when scientific theories ‘get closer to the truth’, i.e. increase their degree of truthlikeness. A second answer is that progress consists in increasing theories’ effectiveness for solving (...)
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  33. An Historic Defence of William Paley's Teleological Argument.Mavaddat Javid - manuscript
    While it may remain difficult for the student of modernity to understand the weight of Paley’s teleological arguments for nineteenth century British scientists, the idea of a design in nature and the implication of a designer nevertheless provided lasting explanatory power amongst competing hypotheses until up to Darwin. As Richard Dawkins points out, it was reasonable for English scientists to maintain telic 'causes' in the explanation of biological origins until the observations of Paley were ascribed to a natural mechanism as (...)
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  34. Zombie Intuitions.Eugen Fischer & Justin Sytsma - forthcoming - Cognition.
    In philosophical thought experiments, as in ordinary discourse, our understanding of verbal case descriptions is enriched by automatic comprehension inferences. Such inferences have us routinely infer what else is also true of the cases described. We consider how such routine inferences from polysemous words can generate zombie intuitions: intuitions that are ‘killed’ (defeated) by contextual information but kept cognitively alive by the psycholinguistic phenomenon of linguistic salience bias. Extending ‘evidentiary’ experimental philosophy, this paper examines whether the ‘zombie argument’ against materialism (...)
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  35. Metaphysically explanatory unification.David Mark Kovacs - 2020 - Philosophical Studies 177 (6):1659-1683.
    This paper develops and motivates a unification theory of metaphysical explanation, or as I will call it, Metaphysical Unificationism. The theory’s main inspiration is the unification account of scientific explanation, according to which explanatoriness is a holistic feature of theories that derive a large number of explananda from a meager set of explanantia, using a small number of argument patterns. In developing Metaphysical Unificationism, I will point out that it has a number of interesting consequences. The view offers a (...)
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  36. Filosofia Analitica e Filosofia Continentale.Sergio Cremaschi, Karl-Otto Apel, Jürgen Habermas, Michael Strauss, Ernst Tugendhat, Zvie Bar-On, Roberta De-Monticelli, Kuno Lorenz, Albrecht Wellmer & Rüdiger Bubner - 1997 - 50018 Scandicci, Metropolitan City of Florence, Italy: La Nuova Italia.
    ● Sergio Cremaschi, The non-existing Island. I discuss the way in which the cleavage between the Continental and the Anglo-American philosophies originated, the (self-)images of both philosophical worlds, the converging rediscoveries from the Seventies, as well as recent ecumenic or anti-ecumenic strategies. I argue that pragmatism provides an important counter-instance to both the familiar self-images and to the fashionable ecumenic or anti-ecumenic strategies. My conclusions are: (i) the only place where Continental philosophy exists (as Euro-Communism one decade ago) is America; (...)
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  37. Henk W. De Regt, Sabina Leonelli and Kai Eigner , Scientific Understanding: Philosophical Perspectives. Pittsburgh: University of Pittsburgh Press, 2009. Pp. Ix+352. ISBN 978-0-8229-4378-6. $65.00. [REVIEW]Jacob Stegenga - 2011 - British Journal for the History of Science 44 (4):578-580.
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  38. Understanding From Machine Learning Models.Emily Sullivan - forthcoming - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science:axz035.
    Simple idealized models seem to provide more understanding than opaque, complex, and hyper-realistic models. However, an increasing number of scientists are going in the opposite direction by utilizing opaque machine learning models to make predictions and draw inferences, suggesting that scientists are opting for models that have less potential for understanding. Are scientists trading understanding for some other epistemic or pragmatic good when they choose a machine learning model? Or are the assumptions behind why minimal models provide understanding misguided? In (...)
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  39.  82
    Skeptical Symmetry: A Wittgensteinian Approach to Scientific Reasoning.Erik Nelson - 2015 - Gnosis 14 (2):14-19.
    Many philosophers have wrongly assumed that there is an asymmetry between the problem of induction and the logocentric predicament (the justification of deductive inferences). This paper will show that the demand for justification, for the very inferences that are required for justification, is deeply problematic. Using a Wittgensteinian approach, I will argue that justification has an internal relation with deductive and inductive inferences. For Wittgenstein, two concepts are internally related if my understanding of one is predicated on my understanding of (...)
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  40. Veritism Refuted? Understanding, Idealization, and the Facts.Tamer Nawar - 2021 - Synthese 198 (5):4295-4313.
    Elgin offers an influential and far-reaching challenge to veritism. She takes scientific understanding to be non-factive and maintains that there are epistemically useful falsehoods that figure ineliminably in scientific understanding and whose falsehood is no epistemic defect. Veritism, she argues, cannot account for these facts. This paper argues that while Elgin rightly draws attention to several features of epistemic practices frequently neglected by veritists, veritists have numerous plausible ways of responding to her arguments. In particular, it is not (...)
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  41. Scientific Realism and the Rationality of Science.Howard Sankey - 2008 - Ashgate.
    Scientific realism is the position that the aim of science is to advance on truth and increase knowledge about observable and unobservable aspects of the mind-independent world which we inhabit. This book articulates and defends that position. In presenting a clear formulation and addressing the major arguments for scientific realism Sankey appeals to philosophers beyond the community of, typically Anglo-American, analytic philosophers of science to appreciate and understand the doctrine. The book emphasizes the epistemological aspects of scientific (...)
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  42. Fundamentality, Effectiveness, and Objectivity of Gauge Symmetries.Aldo Filomeno - 2016 - International Studies in the Philosophy of Science 30 (1):19-37.
    Much recent philosophy of physics has investigated the process of symmetry breaking. Here, I critically assess the alleged symmetry restoration at the fundamental scale. I draw attention to the contingency that gauge symmetries exhibit, that is, the fact that they have been chosen from an infinite space of possibilities. I appeal to this feature of group theory to argue that any metaphysical account of fundamental laws that expects symmetry restoration up to the fundamental level is not fully (...)
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  43.  53
    Symmetry Breaking and the Emergence of Path-Dependence.Hugh Desmond - 2017 - Synthese (10):4101-4131.
    Path-dependence offers a promising way of understanding the role historicity plays in explanation, namely, how the past states of a process can matter in the explanation of a given outcome. The two main existing accounts of path-dependence have sought to present it either in terms of dynamic landscapes or branching trees. However, the notions of landscape and tree both have serious limitations and have been criticized. The framework of causal networks is both more fundamental and more general that that of (...)
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  44. The Nihilistic Image of the World.Michael Bourke - 2017 - Modern Horizons:1-18.
    In The Gay Science (1882), Nietzsche heralded the problem of nihilism with his famous declaration “God is dead,” which signalled the collapse of a transcendent basis for the underpinning morality of European civilization. He associated this collapse with the rise of the natural sciences whose methods and pervasive outlook he was concerned would progressively shape “an essentially mechanistic [and hence meaningless] world.” The Russian novelist Turgenev had also associated a scientific outlook with nihilism through the scientism of Yevgeny Bazarov, (...)
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  45. Mechanisms and Psychological Explanation.Cory Wright & William Bechtel - 2007 - In Paul Thagard (ed.), Handbook of the Philosophy of Psychology and Cognitive Science. Elsevier.
    As much as assumptions about mechanisms and mechanistic explanation have deeply affected psychology, they have received disproportionately little analysis in philosophy. After a historical survey of the influences of mechanistic approaches to explanation of psychological phenomena, we specify the nature of mechanisms and mechanistic explanation. Contrary to some treatments of mechanistic explanation, we maintain that explanation is an epistemic activity that involves representing and reasoning about mechanisms. We discuss the manner in which mechanistic approaches serve to bridge levels rather than (...)
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  46. Understanding, Grasping and Luck.Kareem Khalifa - 2013 - Episteme 10 (1):1-17.
    Recently, it has been debated as to whether understanding is a species of explanatory knowledge. Those who deny this claim frequently argue that understanding, unlike knowledge, can be lucky. In this paper I argue that current arguments do not support this alleged compatibility between understanding and epistemic luck. First, I argue that understanding requires reliable explanatory evaluation, yet the putative examples of lucky understanding underspecify the extent to which subjects possess this ability. In the course of defending this claim, I (...)
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  47. Scientific Realism and the Pessimistic Meta-Modus Tollens.Timothy D. Lyons - 2002 - In Steve Clarke & Timothy D. Lyons (eds.), Recent Themes in the Philosophy of Science: Scientific Realism and Commonsense. Dordrecht: Springer. pp. 63-90.
    Broadly speaking, the contemporary scientific realist is concerned to justify belief in what we might call theoretical truth, which includes truth based on ampliative inference and truth about unobservables. Many, if not most, contemporary realists say scientific realism should be treated as ‘an overarching scientific hypothesis’ (Putnam 1978, p. 18). In its most basic form, the realist hypothesis states that theories enjoying general predictive success are true. This hypothesis becomes a hypothesis to be tested. To justify our (...)
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  48. What Constitutes an Explanation in Biology?Angela Potochnik - 2020 - In Kostas Kampourakis & Tobias Uller (eds.), Philosophy of Science for Biologists. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.
    One of biology's fundamental aims is to generate understanding of the living world around—and within—us. In this chapter, I aim to provide a relatively nonpartisan discussion of the nature of explanation in biology, grounded in widely shared philosophical views about scientific explanation. But this discussion also reflects what I think is important for philosophers and biologists alike to appreciate about successful scientific explanations, so some points will be controversial, at least among philosophers. I make three main points: (1) (...)
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  49. Scientific Antirealists Have Set Fire to Their Own Houses.Seungbae Park - 2017 - Prolegomena 16 (1):23-37.
    Scientific antirealists run the argument from underconsideration against scientific realism. I argue that the argument from underconsideration backfires on antirealists’ positive philosophical theories, such as the contextual theory of explanation (van Fraassen, 1980), the English model of rationality (van Fraassen, 1989), the evolutionary explanation of the success of science (Wray, 2008; 2012), and explanatory idealism (Khalifa, 2013). Antirealists strengthen the argument from underconsideration with the pessimistic induction against current scientific theories. In response, I construct a pessimistic induction (...)
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  50. Inference to the Best Explanation and van Fraassen’s Contextual Theory of Explanation: Reply to Park.Yunus Prasetya - forthcoming - Axiomathes:1-11.
    Seungbae Park argues that Bas van Fraassen’s rejection of inference to the best explanation (IBE) is problematic for his contextual theory of explanation because van Fraassen uses IBE to support the contextual theory. This paper provides a defense of van Fraassen’s views from Park’s objections. I point out three weaknesses of Park’s objection against van Fraassen. First, van Fraassen may be perfectly content to accept the implications that Park claims to follow from his views. Second, even if van Fraassen rejects (...)
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