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Studies in History and Philosophy of Science

Zoe Drayson
The neural vehicles of mental representation play an explanatory role in cognitive psychology that their realizers do not. Cognitive psychology individuates neural structures as representational vehicles in terms of the specific causal properties to which cognitive mechanisms are sensitive. Explanations that appeal to properties of vehicles can capture generalisations which are not available at the level of their neural realizers. In this paper, I argue that the individuation of realizers as vehicles restricts the sorts of explanations in which they can participate...
April 2018: Studies in History and Philosophy of Science
Lena Kästner
Talk of levels is ubiquitous in philosophy, especially in the context of mechanistic explanations spanning multiple levels. The mechanistic conception of levels, however, does not allow for the kind of integration needed to construct such multi-level mechanistic explanations integrating observations from different scientific domains. To address the issues arising in this context, I build on a certain perspectival aspect inherent in the mechanistic view. Rather than focusing on compositionally related levels of mechanisms, I suggest analyzing the situation in terms of epistemic perspectives researchers take when making scientific observations...
April 2018: Studies in History and Philosophy of Science
Beate Krickel
Constitutive mechanistic explanations are said to refer to mechanisms that constitute the phenomenon-to-be-explained. The most prominent approach of how to understand this relation is Carl Craver's mutual manipulability approach (MM) to constitutive relevance. Recently, MM has come under attack (Baumgartner and Casini 2017; Baumgartner and Gebharter 2015; Harinen 2014; Kästner 2017; Leuridan 2012; Romero 2015). It is argued that MM is inconsistent because, roughly, it is spelled out in terms of interventionism (which is an approach to causation), whereas constitutive relevance is said to be a non-causal relation...
April 2018: Studies in History and Philosophy of Science
Thomas W Polger, Lawrence A Shapiro, Reuben Stern
No abstract text is available yet for this article.
April 2018: Studies in History and Philosophy of Science
Philippe Huneman
What realization is has been convincingly presented in relation to the way we determine what counts as the realizers of realized properties. The way we explain a fact of realization includes a reference to what realization should be; therefore it informs in turn our understanding of the nature of realization. Conceptions of explanation are thereby included in the views of realization as a metaphysical property. Recently, several major views of realization such as Polger and Shapiro's or Gillett and Aizawa's, however competing, have relied on the neo-mechanicist theory of explanations (e...
April 2018: Studies in History and Philosophy of Science
Gary Fuller
In the philosophy of mind and psychology, a central question since the 1960s has been that of how to give a philosophically adequate formulation of mind-body physicalism. A large quantity of work on the topic has been done in the interim. There have been, and continue to be, extensive discussions of the ideas of physicalism, identity, functionalism, realization, and constitution. My aim in this paper is a modest one: it is to get clearer about these ideas and some of their interrelations. After providing some background and history, I shall focus on two related topics: the distinction between a functional property and a structural one and the dispute over whether a realization account of the mental-physical relation provides a better physicalist account than a constitutional account...
April 2018: Studies in History and Philosophy of Science
Kenneth Aizawa
One might have thought that if something has two or more distinct realizations, then that thing is multiply realized. Nevertheless, some philosophers have claimed that two or more distinct realizations do not amount to multiple realization, unless those distinct realizations amount to multiple "ways" of realizing the thing. Corey Maley, Gualtiero Piccinini, Thomas Polger, and Lawrence Shapiro are among these philosophers. Unfortunately, they do not explain why multiple realization requires multiple "ways" of realizing...
April 2018: Studies in History and Philosophy of Science
Fred Adams
In what kinds of physical systems can cognition be realized? There are currently competing answers among scientists and theorists of cognition. There are many plant scientists who maintain that cognition can be realized in plants. There are biological scientists who maintain that cognition is materially realized in bacteria. In this paper, I will present the basis for such claims and evaluate them and discuss the future for theories of the metaphysical basis of cognition in the cognitive sciences.
April 2018: Studies in History and Philosophy of Science
Lawrence Shapiro
Putnam's criticisms of the identity theory attack a straw man. Fodor's criticisms of reduction attack a straw man. Properly interpreted, Nagel offered a conception of reduction that captures everything a physicalist could want. I update Nagel, introducing the idea of overlap, and show why multiple realization poses no challenge to reduction so construed.
April 2018: Studies in History and Philosophy of Science
Alex Manafu
No abstract text is available yet for this article.
April 2018: Studies in History and Philosophy of Science
Marc Lange
No abstract text is available yet for this article.
February 2018: Studies in History and Philosophy of Science
Miles MacLeod, Michiru Nagatsu
In this paper we take a close look at current interdisciplinary modeling practices in the environmental sciences, and suggest that closer attention needs to be paid to the nature of scientific practices when investigating and planning interdisciplinarity. While interdisciplinarity is often portrayed as a medium of novel and transformative methodological work, current modeling strategies in the environmental sciences are conservative, avoiding methodological conflict, while confining interdisciplinary interactions to a relatively small set of pre-existing modeling frameworks and strategies (a process we call crystallization)...
February 2018: Studies in History and Philosophy of Science
Federico Raffo Quintana
In this paper we will try to explain how Leibniz justified the idea of an exact arithmetical quadrature. We will do this by comparing Leibniz's exposition with that of John Wallis. In short, we will show that the idea of exactitude in matters of quadratures relies on two fundamental requisites that, according to Leibniz, the infinite series have, namely, that of regularity and that of completeness. In the first part of this paper, we will go deeper into three main features of Leibniz's method, that is: it is an infinitesimal method, it looks for an arithmetical quadrature and it proposes a result that is not approximate, but exact...
February 2018: Studies in History and Philosophy of Science
Samuel Schindler
What does it mean for a hypothesis to be ad hoc? One prominent account has it that ad hoc hypotheses have no independent empirical support. Others have viewed ad hoc judgements as stemming from a lack of unifiedness of the amended theory. Still others view them as merely subjective. Here I critically review these views and defend my own Coherentist Conception of Ad hocness by working out its conceptual and descriptive attractions.
February 2018: Studies in History and Philosophy of Science
Daniel G Campos
This article investigates the way in which Jacob Bernoulli proved the main mathematical theorem that undergirds his art of conjecturing-the theorem that founded, historically, the field of mathematical probability. It aims to contribute a perspective into the question of problem-solving methods in mathematics while also contributing to the comprehension of the historical development of mathematical probability. It argues that Bernoulli proved his theorem by a process of mathematical experimentation in which the central heuristic strategy was analogy...
February 2018: Studies in History and Philosophy of Science
Anubav Vasudevan
This paper situates the metaphysical antinomy between chance and determinism in the historical context of some of the earliest developments in the mathematical theory of probability. Since Hacking's seminal work on the subject, it has been a widely held view that the classical theorists of probability were guilty of an unwitting equivocation between a subjective, or epistemic, interpretation of probability, on the one hand, and an objective, or statistical, interpretation, on the other. While there is some truth to this account, I argue that the tension at the heart of the classical theory of probability is not best understood in terms of the duality between subjective and objective interpretations of probability...
February 2018: Studies in History and Philosophy of Science
Gregory W Dawes, Tiddy Smith
The sciences are characterized by what is sometimes called a "methodological naturalism," which disregards talk of divine agency. In response to those who argue that this reflects a dogmatic materialism, a number of philosophers have offered a pragmatic defense. The naturalism of the sciences, they argue, is provisional and defeasible: it is justified by the fact that unsuccessful theistic explanations have been superseded by successful natural ones. But this defense is inconsistent with the history of the sciences...
February 2018: Studies in History and Philosophy of Science
Marina Baldissera Pacchetti
Bogen and Woodward's distinction between data and phenomena raises the need to understand the structure of the data-to-phenomena and theory-to-phenomena inferences. I suggest that one way to study the structure of these inferences is to analyze the role of the assumptions involved in the inferences: What kind of assumptions are they? How do these assumptions contribute to the practice of identifying phenomena? In this paper, using examples from atmospheric dynamics, I develop an account of the practice of identifying the target in the data-to-phenomena and theory-to-phenomena inferences in which assumptions about spatiotemporal scales play a central role in the identification of parameters that describe the target system...
February 2018: Studies in History and Philosophy of Science
Thomas Rossetter
In this paper, I introduce a new historical case study into the scientific realism debate. During the late-eighteenth century, the Scottish natural philosopher James Hutton made two important successful novel predictions. The first concerned granitic veins intruding from granite masses into strata. The second concerned what geologists now term "angular unconformities": older sections of strata overlain by younger sections, the two resting at different angles, the former typically more inclined than the latter...
February 2018: Studies in History and Philosophy of Science
Alistair M C Isaac
Psychophysics measures the attributes of perceptual experience. The question of whether some of these attributes should be interpreted as more fundamental, or "real," than others has been answered differently throughout its history. The operationism of Stevens and Boring answers "no," reacting to the perceived vacuity of earlier debates about fundamentality. The subsequent rise of multidimensional scaling (MDS) implicitly answers "yes" in its insistence that psychophysical data be represented in spaces of low dimensionality...
October 2017: Studies in History and Philosophy of Science
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