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  Subjects -> PHILOSOPHY (Total: 762 journals)
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European Journal for Philosophy of Science
Journal Prestige (SJR): 0.648
Citation Impact (citeScore): 1
Number of Followers: 12  
 
  Partially Free Journal Partially Free Journal
ISSN (Print) 1879-4912 - ISSN (Online) 1879-4920
Published by Springer-Verlag Homepage  [2467 journals]
  • Pursuitworthiness in the scheme of futures

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      Abstract: Abstract In this paper, I argue that analyzing pursuitworthiness in science requires that we study possible futures of science. The merits of different criteria of pursuitworthiness need to be assessed against scenarios of the future of science. Different criteria recognize and ignore different scenarios. As a consequence, different criteria enable us to manage different future possibilities. While it might be impossible to predict the future of science, there are still many interesting things we can say about the possible futures of science. We can construct scenarios of the future of science on the basis of philosophical accounts of science. I point out that the topic of pursuitworthiness is not the only topic that can be approached by connecting philosophy of science with the construction of scenarios.
      PubDate: 2023-01-21
       
  • From naturalness to materiality: reimagining philosophy of scientific
           classification

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      Abstract: Abstract The notion of natural kinds has been widely criticized in philosophy of science but also appears indispensable for philosophical engagement with classificatory practices. Rather than addressing this tension through a new definition of “natural kind”, this article suggests materiality as a substitute for naturalness in philosophical debates about scientific classification. It is argued that a theory of material kinds provides an alternative and more inclusive entry point for analyzing classificatory practices, which is specified through an account of “restricted malleability” of materiality and further analyzed as (1) gradual, (2) multi-dimensional, (3) scalable, (4) interactive, and (5) purpose sensitive.
      PubDate: 2023-01-21
       
  • Contextualist model evaluation: models in financial economics and index
           funds

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      Abstract: Abstract Philosophers of science typically focus on the epistemic performance of scientific models when evaluating them. Analysing the effects that models may have on the world has typically been the purview of sociologists of science. We argue that the reactive (or “performative”) effects of models should also figure in model evaluations by philosophers of science. We provide a detailed analysis of how models in financial economics created the impetus for the growing importance of the phenomenon of “passive investing” in financial markets. Considering this case motivates the position that we call contextualism about model evaluation, or model contextualism for short. Model contextualism encompasses standard analyses of the epistemic performance of the model, but also includes their reactive aspects. It entails identifying the epistemic and contextual import of the model, the ways in which a model can engender change in the world (which we call the channels of transmission), and the interactions between the epistemic and reactive import of a model.
      PubDate: 2023-01-21
       
  • Against methodological continuity and metaphysical knowledge

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      Abstract: Abstract The main purpose of this paper is to refute the ‘methodological continuity’ argument supporting epistemic realism in metaphysics. This argument aims to show that scientific realists have to accept that metaphysics is as rationally justified as science given that they both employ inference to the best explanation, i.e. that metaphysics and science are methodologically continuous. I argue that the reasons given by scientific realists as to why inference to the best explanation (IBE) is reliable in science do not constitute a reason to believe that it is reliable in metaphysics. The justification of IBE in science and the justification of IBE in metaphysics are two distinct issues with only superficial similarities, and one cannot rely on one for the other. This becomes especially clear when one analyses the debate about the legitimacy of IBE that has taken place between realists and empiricists. The metaphysician seeking to piggyback on the realist defense of IBE in science by the methodological continuity argument presupposes that the defense is straightforwardly applicable to metaphysics. I will argue that it is, in fact, not. The favored defenses of IBE by scientific realists make extensive use of empirical considerations, predictive power and inductive evidence, all of which are paradigmatically absent in the metaphysical context. Furthermore, even if the realist would concede the methodological continuity argument, I argue that the metaphysician fails to offer any agreed upon conclusions resulting from its application in metaphysics.
      PubDate: 2023-01-11
       
  • Correction to: Model templates within and between disciplines: from
           magnets to gases – and socio-economic systems

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      PubDate: 2023-01-07
       
  • Generalized frameworks: Structuring searches for new physics

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      Abstract: Abstract Many areas of frontier physics are confronted with the crisis of a lack of accessible, direct evidence. As a result, direct model building has failed to lead to any new empirical discoveries. In this paper I argue that these areas of frontier physics have developed common methods for turning precision measurements of known quantities into potential evidence for anomalies hinting at new physics. This method of framework generalization has arisen as a sort of model-independent method for generalizing beyond known physics and organizing experimental searches. I argue that this method is well-justified given the current epistemic landscape, and that theory construction in general is much broader than simply building new dynamical models.
      PubDate: 2023-01-06
       
  • The old evidence problem and the inference to the best explanation

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      Abstract: Abstract The Problem of Old Evidence (POE) states that Bayesian confirmation theory cannot explain why a theory H can be confirmed by a piece of evidence E already known. Different dimensions of POE have been highlighted. Here, I consider the dynamic and static dimension. In the former, we want to explain how the discovery that H accounts for E confirms H. In the latter, we want to understand why E is and will be a reason to prefer H over its competitors. The aim of the paper is twofold. Firstly, I stress that two recent solutions to the dynamic dimension, recently proposed by Eva and Hartmann, can be read in terms of Inference to the Best Explanation (IBE). On this base, I gauge the weaknesses and strengths of the two models. Namely, I show that the two authors endorse a particular IBE’s formulation, and that it is still unsure if it is the one descriptively used. Moreover, I contend that, while one condition of their first model is not expression of this formulation, the only condition of their second model is. Secondly, I focus on the static dimension of POE which, now, has to be expressed in IBE terms. To solve it, I rely on the counterfactual approach, and on a version of IBE in which explanatory considerations help to evaluate the terms in Bayes’ theorem. However, it turns out that the problems of the counterfactual approach recur even when it is used to solve the static POE in IBE terms.
      PubDate: 2023-01-05
       
  • Irrational methods suggest indecomposability and emergence

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      Abstract: Abstract This paper offers a practical argument for metaphysical emergence. The main message is that the growing reliance on so-called irrational scientific methods provides evidence that objects of science are indecomposable and as such, are better described by metaphysical emergence as opposed to the prevalent reductionistic metaphysics. I show that a potential counterargument that science will eventually reduce everything to physics has little weight given where science is heading with its current methodological trend. I substantiate my arguments by detailed examples from biological engineering, but the conclusions are extendable beyond that discipline.
      PubDate: 2023-01-04
       
  • What are general models about'

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      Abstract: Abstract Models provide scientists with knowledge about target systems. An important group of models are those that are called general. However, what exactly is meant by generality in this context is somewhat unclear. The aim of this paper is to draw out a distinction between two notions of generality that has implications for scientific practice. Some models are general in the sense that they apply to many systems in the world and have many particular targets. Another sense is captured by models that are aimed at understanding the fundamental or underlying dynamics of a phenomenon, as opposed to how it manifests in each particular case. They have non-specific, i.e. generic targets. While both notions of generality and genericness are legitimate and correspond to different aspects of scientific practice, they must be distinguished. Failing to do so obscures the danger of overgeneralisation faced by general models and facilitates the illegitimate use of generic models as general models. This can lead to a reduction of the explanatory and predictive power of both.
      PubDate: 2022-12-13
       
  • Determinism beyond time evolution

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      Abstract: Abstract Physicists are increasingly beginning to take seriously the possibility of laws outside the traditional time-evolution paradigm; yet many popular definitions of determinism are still predicated on a time-evolution picture, making them manifestly unsuited to the diverse range of research programmes in modern physics. In this article, we use a constraint-based framework to set out a generalization of determinism which does not presuppose temporal evolution, distinguishing between strong, weak and delocalised holistic determinism. We discuss some interesting consequences of these generalized notions of determinism, and we show that this approach sheds new light on the long-standing debate surrounding the nature of objective chance.
      PubDate: 2022-12-08
       
  • Reactive natural kinds and varieties of dependence

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      Abstract: Abstract This paper asks when a natural disease kind is truly ‘reactive’ and when it is merely associated with a corresponding social kind. I begin with a permissive account of real kinds and their structure, distinguishing natural kinds, indifferent kinds and reactive kinds as varieties of real kind characterised by super-explanatory properties. I then situate disease kinds within this framework, arguing that many disease kinds prima facie are both natural and reactive. I proceed to distinguish ‘simple dependence’, ‘secondary dependence’ and ‘essential dependence’ between a natural kind and its classification, and argue that a natural kind is only really reactive, in an important sense, under conditions of essential dependence. On this basis, I offer a principled hypothesis for why psychiatric kinds may be more metaphysically unstable than paradigm somatic disease kinds.
      PubDate: 2022-12-07
       
  • We should redefine scientific expertise: an extended virtue account

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      Abstract: Abstract An expert is commonly considered to be somebody who possesses the right kind of knowledge and skills to find out true answers for questions in a domain. However, this common conception that focuses only on an individual’s knowledge and skills is not very useful to understand the epistemically interdependent nature of contemporary scientific expertise, which becomes increasingly more relevant due to the rise of large interdisciplinary research collaborations. The typical scientific expert today relies substantially on complex scientific instruments and numerous other experts in forming expert judgment. Moreover, we have research collaborations where multiple scientists interact in a way that gives rise to distributed cognitive systems, which can act as a single informant. Accordingly, our concept of scientific expertise should not consist only in individual knowledge and skills, but also accommodate epistemic dependence and collective knowledge production. To this aim, this paper proposes a reconstruction of the concept of scientific expertise as informant reliability by building on the virtue-epistemological account of epistemic competences and theories of extended and distributed cognition. Considered in reference to the social epistemic function of expertise, a scientific expert should be conceived as a reliable informant in a scientific domain, which implies that when consulted on matters in that domain they assert competently, honestly, and completely. Competent expert assertion involves the epistemic responsibility to draw on nothing but the highest degree of epistemic competence relevant to the given context. Thus, being a reliable informant may require one to draw on an extended epistemic competence that goes beyond one’s individual competence, or to form supra-individual or group-informants that manifest collectively the kind of complex epistemic competence required for the investigation of certain research questions.
      PubDate: 2022-11-29
       
  • Correction to: Why computer simulations are not inferences, and in what
           sense they are experiments

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      PubDate: 2022-11-28
       
  • Coherent causal control: a new distinction within causation

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      Abstract: Abstract The recent literature on causation has seen the introduction of several distinctions within causation, which are thought to be important for understanding the widespread scientific practice of focusing causal explanations on a subset of the factors that are causally relevant for a phenomenon. Concepts used to draw such distinctions include, among others, stability, specificity, proportionality, or actual-difference making. In this contribution, I propose a new distinction that picks out an explanatorily salient class of causes in biological systems. Some select causes in complex biological systems, I argue, have the property of enabling coherent causal control of these systems. Examples of such control variables include hormones and other signaling molecules, e.g., TOR (target of rapamycin), morphogens or the products of homeotic selector genes in embryonic pattern formation. I propose an analysis of this notion based on concepts borrowed from causal graph theory.
      PubDate: 2022-11-28
       
  • Values in climate modelling: testing the practical applicability of the
           Moral Imagination ideal

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      Abstract: Abstract There is much debate on how social values should influence scientific research. However, the question of practical applicability of philosophers’ normative proposals has received less attention. Here, we test the attainability of Matthew J. Brown’s (2020) Moral Imagination ideal (MI ideal), which aims to help scientists to make warranted value-judgements through reflecting on goals, options, values, and stakeholders of research. Here, the tools of the MI ideal are applied to a climate modelling setting, where researchers are developing aerosol-cloud interaction (ACI) parametrizations in an Earth System Model with the broader goal of improving climate sensitivity estimation. After the identification of minor obstacles to applying the MI ideal, we propose two ways to increase its applicability. First, its tools should be accompanied with more concrete guidance for identifying how social values enter more technical decisions in scientific research. Second, since research projects can have multiple goals, examining the alignment between broader societal aims of research and more technical goals should be part of the tools of the MI ideal.
      PubDate: 2022-11-18
      DOI: 10.1007/s13194-022-00488-4
       
  • Classifying exploratory experimentation – three case studies of
           exploratory experimentation at the LHC

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      Abstract: Abstract Along three measurements at the Large Hadron Collider (LHC), a high energy particle accelerator, we analyze procedures and consequences of exploratory experimentation (EE). While all of these measurements fulfill the requirements of EE: probing new parameter spaces, being void of a target theory and applying a broad range of experimental methods, we identify epistemic differences and suggest a classification of EE. We distinguish classes of EE according to their respective goals: the exploration where an established global theory cannot provide the details of a local phenomenon, exploration of an astonishing discovery and exploration to find a new entity. We find that these classes also differ with respect to the existence of an identifiable target and their impact on the background theory. The characteristics distinguish EE from other kinds of experimentation, even though these different kinds have not yet been systematically studied. The formal rigor and precision of LHC physics facilitates to analyze concept formation in its early state. In particular we emphasize the importance for nil–results for conceptualization and argue that conceptualization can also be achieved from nil–results only.
      PubDate: 2022-11-15
      DOI: 10.1007/s13194-022-00496-4
       
  • From phenomenological-hermeneutical approaches to realist perspectivism

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      Abstract: Abstract This paper draws on the phenomenological-hermeneutical approaches to philosophy of science to develop realist perspectivism, an integration of experimental realism and perspectivism. Specifically, the paper employs the distinction between “manifestation” and “phenomenon” and it advances the view that the evidence of a real entity is “explorable” in order to argue that instrumentally-mediated robust evidence indicates real entities. Furthermore, it underpins the phenomenological notion of the horizonal nature of scientific observation with perspectivism, so accounting for scientific pluralism even in the cases of inconsistent models. Overall, realist perspectivism is proposed as the way to go for (phenomenologically-hermeneutically minded) philosophers of science.
      PubDate: 2022-11-15
      DOI: 10.1007/s13194-022-00495-5
       
  • Reactivity as a tool in emancipatory activist research

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      Abstract: Abstract Reactivity is usually seen as a problem in the human sciences. In this paper I argue that in emancipatory activist research, reactivity can be an important tool. I discuss one example: the aim of mental decolonisation in indigenous activist research. I argue that mental decolonisation can be understood as the act of replacing harmful looping effects with new, emancipatory ones.
      PubDate: 2022-11-14
      DOI: 10.1007/s13194-022-00487-5
       
  • What should scientists do about (harmful) interactive effects'

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      Abstract: Abstract The phenomenon of interactive human kinds, namely kinds of people that undergo change in reaction to being studied or theorised about, matters not only for the reliability of scientific claims, but also for its wider, sometimes harmful effects at the group or societal level, such as contributing to negative stigmas or reinforcing existing inequalities. This paper focuses on the latter aspect of interactivity and argues that scientists studying interactive human kinds are responsible for foreseeing harmful effects of their research and for devising ways of mitigating them.
      PubDate: 2022-11-10
      DOI: 10.1007/s13194-022-00493-7
       
  • A mechanistic guide to reductive physicalism

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      Abstract: Abstract Causal mediation mechanisms are well supported by available experimental evidence and provide a practicable way to reductive physicalism. According to the causal mediation account of mechanistic explanation, descriptions as diverse as ‘black-box’ phenomena, mechanistic sketches and schemas mixing physically interpreted and operationalized biological, psychological and social variables, and detailed descriptions of mechanisms refer to the same causal structure circumscribed within the spatiotemporal boundaries of a replicable experimental setup. The coreference of coarser- and finer-grained descriptions of causal structures opens new possibilities for testing the reductive physicalism conjecture. I discuss experimental designs supporting the causal mediation account and show how recent studies demonstrating the biological mediation of mind-mind causal processes can provide evidence for reductive physicalism.
      PubDate: 2022-11-10
      DOI: 10.1007/s13194-022-00489-3
       
 
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