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Studies in History and Philosophy of Science

Timothy D Lyons
In this paper I challenge and adjudicate between the two positions that have come to prominence in the scientific realism debate: deployment realism and structural realism. I discuss a set of cases from the history of celestial mechanics, including some of the most important successes in the history of science. To the surprise of the deployment realist, these are novel predictive successes toward which theoretical constituents that are now seen to be patently false were genuinely deployed. Exploring the implications for structural realism, I show that the need to accommodate these cases forces our notion of "structure" toward a dramatic depletion of logical content, threatening to render it explanatorily vacuous: the better structuralism fares against these historical examples, in terms of retention, the worse it fares in content and explanatory strength...
October 2016: Studies in History and Philosophy of Science
Kerry McKenzie
The view that the fundamental kind properties are intrinsic properties enjoys reflexive endorsement by most metaphysicians of science. But ontic structural realists deny that there are any fundamental intrinsic properties at all. Given that structuralists distrust intuition as a guide to truth, and given that we currently lack a fundamental physical theory that we could consult instead to order settle the issue, it might seem as if there is simply nowhere for this debate to go at present. However, I will argue that there exists an as-yet untapped resource for arguing for ontic structuralism - namely, the way that fundamentality is conceptualized in our most fundamental physical frameworks...
October 2016: Studies in History and Philosophy of Science
David Glick
In this paper I elicit a prediction from structural realism and compare it, not to a historical case, but to a contemporary scientific theory. If structural realism is correct, then we should expect physics to develop theories that fail to provide an ontology of the sort sought by traditional realists. If structure alone is responsible for instrumental success, we should expect surplus ontology to be eliminated. Quantum field theory (QFT) provides the framework for some of the best confirmed theories in science, but debates over its ontology are vexed...
October 2016: Studies in History and Philosophy of Science
Larry Laudan, Rachel Laudan
A basic premise of hyphenated history-and-philosophy-of-science is that theories of scientific change have to be based on empirical evidence derived from carefully constructed historical case studies. This paper analyses one such systematic attempt to test philosophical claims, describing its historical context, rationale, execution, and limited impact.
October 2016: Studies in History and Philosophy of Science
Chris Haufe
No abstract text is available yet for this article.
October 2016: Studies in History and Philosophy of Science
Ansten Klev
Unified science is a recurring theme in Carnap's work from the time of the Aufbau until the end of the 1930's. The theme is not constant, but knows several variations. I shall extract three quite precise formulations of the thesis of unified science from Carnap's work during this period: from the Aufbau, from Carnap's so-called syntactic period, and from Testability and Meaning and related papers. My main objective is to explain these formulations and to discuss their relation, both to each other and to other aspects of Carnap's work...
October 2016: Studies in History and Philosophy of Science
Seungbae Park
Extensional scientific realism is the view that each believable scientific theory is supported by the unique first-order evidence for it and that if we want to believe that it is true, we should rely on its unique first-order evidence. In contrast, intensional scientific realism is the view that all believable scientific theories have a common feature and that we should rely on it to determine whether a theory is believable or not. Fitzpatrick argues that extensional realism is immune, while intensional realism is not, to the pessimistic induction...
October 2016: Studies in History and Philosophy of Science
David Ludwig
Current controversies about knowledge integration reflect conflicting ideas of what it means to "take Indigenous knowledge seriously". While there is increased interest in integrating Indigenous and Western scientific knowledge in various disciplines such as anthropology and ethnobiology, integration projects are often accused of recognizing Indigenous knowledge only insofar as it is useful for Western scientists. The aim of this article is to use tools from philosophy of science to develop a model of both successful integration and integration failures...
October 2016: Studies in History and Philosophy of Science
Carlos Alberto Cardona
This paper examines the methodology used by Kepler to discover a quantitative law of refraction. The aim is to argue that this methodology follows a heuristic method based on the following two Pythagorean principles: (1) sameness is made known by sameness, and (2) harmony arises from establishing a limit to what is unlimited. We will analyse some of the author's proposed analogies to find the aforementioned law and argue that the investigation's heuristic pursues such principles.
October 2016: Studies in History and Philosophy of Science
Dingmar van Eck, Huib Looren de Jong
Approaches to the Internalism-Externalism controversy in the philosophy of mind often involve both (broadly) metaphysical and explanatory considerations. Whereas originally most emphasis seems to have been placed on metaphysical concerns, recently the explanation angle is getting more attention. Explanatory considerations promise to offer more neutral grounds for cognitive systems demarcation than (broadly) metaphysical ones. However, it has been argued that explanation-based approaches are incapable of determining the plausibility of internalist-based conceptions of cognition vis-à-vis externalist ones...
October 2016: Studies in History and Philosophy of Science
Dana Tulodziecki
The main purpose of this paper is to test structural realism against (one example from) the historical record. I begin by laying out an existing challenge to structural realism - that of providing an example of a theory exhibiting successful structures that were abandoned - and show that this challenge can be met by the miasma theory of disease. However, rather than concluding that this is an outright counterexample to structural realism, I use this case to show why it is that structural realism, in its current form, has trouble dealing with theories outside physics...
October 2016: Studies in History and Philosophy of Science
Marcel Boumans
This article discusses methods of inductive inferences that are methods of visualizations designed in such a way that the "eye" can be employed as a reliable tool for judgment. The term "eye" is used as a stand-in for visual cognition and perceptual processing. In this paper "meaningfulness" has a particular meaning, namely accuracy, which is closeness to truth. Accuracy consists of precision and unbiasedness. Precision is dealt with by statistical methods, but for unbiasedness one needs expert judgment. The common view at the beginning of the twentieth century was to make the most efficient use of this kind of judgment by representing the data in shapes and forms in such a way that the "eye" can function as a reliable judge to reduce bias...
October 2016: Studies in History and Philosophy of Science
Stephen Gaukroger
Kant believed that the ultimate processes that regulate the behavior of material bodies can be characterized exclusively in terms of mechanics. In 1790, turning his attention to the life sciences, he raised a potential problem for his mechanically-based account, namely that many of the operations described in the life sciences seemed to operate teleologically. He argued that the life sciences do indeed require us to think in teleological terms, but that this is a fact about us, not about the processes themselves...
August 2016: Studies in History and Philosophy of Science
Daniela Helbig, Dalia Nassar
Over the last few decades, the meaning of the scientific theory of epigenesis and its significance for Kant's critical philosophy have become increasingly central questions. Most recently, scholars have argued that epigenesis is a key factor in the development of Kant's understanding of reason as self-grounding and self-generating. Building on this work, our claim is that Kant appealed to not just any epigenetic theory, but specifically Johann Friedrich Blumenbach's account of generation, and that this appeal must be understood not only in terms of self-organization, but also in terms of the demarcation of a specific domain of inquiry: for Blumenbach, the study of life; for Kant, the study of reason...
August 2016: Studies in History and Philosophy of Science
John H Zammito
Epigenesis has become a far more exciting issue in Kant studies recently, especially with the publication of Jennifer Mensch's Kant' Organicism. In my commentary, I propose to clarify my own position on epigenesis relative to that of Mensch and others by once again considering the discourse of epigenesis in the wider eighteenth century. Historically, I maintain that Kant was never fully an epigenesist because he feared its materialist implications. This makes it highly unlikely that he drew heavily, as other interpreters like Dupont and Huneman have suggested, on Caspar Friedrich Wolff for his ultimate theory of "generic preformation...
August 2016: Studies in History and Philosophy of Science
Michael J Olson
This paper contributes to recent interest in Kant's engagement with the life sciences by focusing on one corner of those sciences that has received comparatively little attention: physical and comparative anatomy. By attending to remarks spread across Kant's writings, we gain some insight into Kant's understanding of the disciplinary limitations but also the methodological sophistication of the study of anatomy and physiology. Insofar as Kant highlights anatomy as a paradigmatic science guided by the principle of teleology in the Critique of the Power of Judgment, a more careful study of Kant's discussions of anatomy promises to illuminate some of the obscurities of that text and of his understanding of the life sciences more generally...
August 2016: Studies in History and Philosophy of Science
Anik Waldow
In his 1785-review of the Ideen zur Philosophie der Geschichte der Menschheit, Kant objects to Herder's conception of nature as being imbued with active forces. This attack is usually evaluated against the background of Kant's critical project and his epistemological concern to caution against the "metaphysical excess" of attributing immanent properties to matter. In this paper I explore a slightly different reading by investigating Kant's pre-critical account of creation and generation. The aim of this is to show that Kant's struggle with the forces of matter has a long history and revolves around one central problem: that of how to distinguish between the non-purposive forces of nature and the intentional powers of the mind...
August 2016: Studies in History and Philosophy of Science
Dalia Nassar
In contrast to the previously widespread view that Kant's work was largely in dialogue with the physical sciences, recent scholarship has highlighted Kant's interest in and contributions to the life sciences. Scholars are now investigating the extent to which Kant appealed to and incorporated insights from the life sciences and considering the ways he may have contributed to a new conception of living beings. The scholarship remains, however, divided in its interest: historians of science are concerned with the content of Kant's claims, and the ways in which they may or may not have contributed to the emerging science of life, while historians of philosophy focus on the systematic justifications for Kant's claims, e...
August 2016: Studies in History and Philosophy of Science
Stephen Gaukroger, Dalia Nassar
No abstract text is available yet for this article.
August 2016: Studies in History and Philosophy of Science
Uljana Feest
This paper revisits the debate between Harry Collins and Allan Franklin, concerning the experimenters' regress. Focusing my attention on a case study from recent psychology (regarding experimental evidence for the existence of a Mozart Effect), I argue that Franklin is right to highlight the role of epistemological strategies in scientific practice, but that his account does not sufficiently appreciate Collins's point about the importance of tacit knowledge in experimental practice. In turn, Collins rightly highlights the epistemic uncertainty (and skepticism) surrounding much experimental research...
August 2016: Studies in History and Philosophy of Science
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