1. 8855.046427
    Pardon the indulgence, but let me begin with some autobiography. When, in the summer of 2009, I first read the influential papers of Fine (2001) and Rosen (2010) on ground, my immediate impression was that they were onto something. The concept of ground they presented seemed intuitive and familiar, and at the same time useful in framing a number of philosophical debates. In particular, it struck me that some of the questions in metaphysics I was thinking about at the time were well articulated as questions about what grounds what, so I started thinking about them in those terms.
    Found 2 hours, 27 minutes ago on Shamik Dasgupta's site
  2. 93409.046534
    Since its introduction, multivariate pattern analysis (MVPA), or “neural decoding”, has 8 transformed the field of cognitive neuroscience. Underlying its influence is a crucial inference, 9 which we call the Decoder’s Dictum: if information can be decoded from patterns of neural activity, then this provides strong evidence about what information those patterns represent. Although the Dictum is a widely held and well-motivated principle in decoding research, it has received scant philosophical attention. We critically evaluate the Dictum, arguing that it is false: decodability is a poor guide for revealing the content of neural representations. However, we also suggest how the Dictum can be improved on, in order to better justify inferences about neural representation using MVPA.
    Found 1 day, 1 hour ago on PhilSci Archive
  3. 115356.046577
    Yesterday Ryan Mandelbaum, at Gizmodo, posted a decidedly tongue-in-cheek piece about whether or not the universe is a computer simulation. (The piece was filed under the category “LOL.”) The immediate impetus for Mandelbaum’s piece was an blog post by Sabine Hossenfelder, a physicist who will likely be familiar to regulars here in the nerdosphere. …
    Found 1 day, 8 hours ago on Scott Aaronson's blog
  4. 232026.046609
    I am teaching Introduction to Neuroscience this spring semester and am using An Introduction to Brain and Behavior 5th edition by Kolb et al as the textbook (this is the book the biology program decided to adopt). …
    Found 2 days, 16 hours ago on Richard Brown's blog
  5. 331787.046637
    Does time pass? A-theorists say it does; B theorists disagree. However both sides of the debate generally agree that it at least appears to us as though time passes, with B theorists standardly taking the passage of time to be some kind of cognitive illusion. This paper rejects the idea that temporal passage forms part of our conscious representation of the world. I consider a range of explanatory strategies for the aspects of our temporal experience generally taken to be passage-like—which I term ‘temporal qualia’—, and defend a reductionist account, according to which our temporal qualia are nothing more than our generally veridical experience of change, motion, succession, and other such features of the world well studied by empirical psychology. As such, I argue that our experience of time is neither illusory nor corresponds to temporal passage, and show that reductionism about temporal qualia is both continuous with and well supported by empirical work on time perception.
    Found 3 days, 20 hours ago on PhilPapers
  6. 345825.046662
    Non-relativistic quantum mechanics is grounded on ‘classical’ (Newtonian) space and time (NST). The mathematical description of these concepts entails that any two spatially separated objects are necessarily different, which implies that they are discernible (in classical logic, identity is defined by means of indiscernibility) — we say that the space is T2, or "Hausdorff". But quantum systems, in the most interesting cases, sometimes need to be taken as indiscernible, so that there is no way to tell which system is which, and this holds even in the case of fermions. But in the NST setting, it seems that we can always give an identity to them, which seems to be contra the physical situation. In this paper we discuss this topic for a case study (that of two potentially infinite wells) and conclude that, taking into account the quantum case, that is, when physics enter the discussion, even NST cannot be used to say that the systems do have identity. Keywords: identity of quantum particles, spatial identity, space and time in quantum mechanics.
    Found 4 days ago on PhilSci Archive
  7. 396880.046687
    In philosophy of statistics, Deborah Mayo and Aris Spanos have championed the following epistemic principle, which applies to frequentist tests: Severity Principle (full). Data x (produced by process G) provides good evidence for hypothesis H (just) to the extent that test T severely passes H with x . (Mayo and Spanos 2011, pp.162). They have also devised a severity score that is meant to measure the strength of the evidence by quantifying the degree of severity with which H passes the test T (Mayo and Spanos 2006, 2011; Spanos 2013). That score is a real number defined on the interval [0,1]. In this paper, I put forward a paradoxical feature of the severity score as a measure of evidence. To do this, I create a scenario where a frequentist statistician S is interested in finding out if there is a difference between the means of two normally distributed random variables. The null hypothesis (H0) states that there is no difference between the two means.
    Found 4 days, 14 hours ago on PhilSci Archive
  8. 519215.046712
    Thomas Polger and Lawrence Shapiro, The Multiple Realization Book (OUP, 2016) In The Multiple Realization Book we articulate an account of multiple realization that is based on the idea that the “job description” for multiple realization is to be incompatible with brain-based theories of the mind and therefore to strongly favor functionalist and other realization-based theories. …
    Found 6 days ago on The Brains Blog
  9. 553837.046737
    In our view, behavior is to be understood as influenced by a number of different control systems. We shall focus in particular on what we will call the habit system, the desire system, and the planning system. These three systems are of crucial importance for determining almost all of our choices, addictive and otherwise. It seems likely that the first two of these systems are shared with other animals, but that the planning system is peculiar to humans. By describing these three systems, we aim to provide a framework that will clarify the mechanisms of addiction and the loss of control they involve.
    Found 6 days, 9 hours ago on David Papineau's site
  10. 562502.04677
    Inference to the Best Explanation (IBE) is widely criticized for being an unreliable form of ampliative inference – partly because the explanatory hypotheses we have considered at a given time may all be false, and partly because there is an asymmetry between the comparative judgment on which an IBE is based and the absolute verdict that IBE is meant to license. In this paper, I present a further reason to doubt the epistemic merits of IBE and argue that it motivates moving to an inferential pattern in which IBE emerges as a degenerate limiting case. Since this inferential pattern is structurally similar to an argumentative strategy known as Inferential Robustness Analysis (IRA), it effectively combines the most attractive features of IBE and IRA into a unified approach to non-deductive inference.
    Found 6 days, 12 hours ago on PhilPapers
  11. 569716.046795
    Neither Karl Popper, nor Frank Knight, nor Max Weber are cited or mentioned in Friedman’s famous 1953 essay “On the methodology of positive economics” (F53). However, they play a crucial role in F53. Making their contribution explicit suggests that F53 has been seriously misread in the past. I will first show that there are several irritating statements in F53 that are, taken together, not compatible with any of the usual readings of F53. Second, I show that an alternative reading of F53 can be achieved if one takes seriously Friedman’s reference to ideal types; “ideal type” is a technical term introduced by Max Weber. Friedman was familiar with Max Weber’s work through Frank Knight, who was his teacher in Chicago. Given that in F53’s view ideal types are fundamental building blocks of economic theory, it becomes clear why both instrumentalist and realist readings of F53 are inadequate. Third, the reading of F53 in terms of ideal types gives the role of elements from Popper’s falsificationist methodology in F53 a somewhat different twist. Finally, I show that the irritating passages of F53 make good sense under the new reading, including the infamous “the more significant the theory, the more unrealistic the assumptions”.
    Found 6 days, 14 hours ago on PhilSci Archive
  12. 569835.04682
    I propose a new definition of identification in the limit (also called convergence to the truth), as a new success criterion that is meant to complement, rather than replacing, the classic definition due to Gold (1967). The new definition is designed to explain how it is possible to have successful learning in a kind of scenario that Gold’s classic account ignores—the kind of scenario in which the entire infinite data stream to be presented incrementally to the learner is not presupposed to completely determine the correct learning target. From a purely mathematical point of view, the new definition employs a convergence concept that generalizes net convergence and sits in between pointwise convergence and uniform convergence. Two results are proved to suggest that the new definition provides a success criterion that is by no means weak: (i) Between the new identification in the limit and Gold’s classic one, neither implies the other. (ii) If a learning method identifies the correct target in the limit in the new sense, any U-shaped learning involved therein has to be redundant and can be removed while maintaining the new kind of identification in the limit. I conclude that we should have (at least) two success criteria that correspond to two senses of identification in the limit: the classic one and the one proposed here. They are complementary: meeting any one of the two is good; meeting both at the same time, if possible, is even better.
    Found 6 days, 14 hours ago on PhilSci Archive
  13. 609046.046846
    In the two months since I last blogged, the US has continued its descent into madness. Yet even while so many certainties have proven ephemeral as the morning dew—our US’s autonomy from Russia, the sanity of our nuclear chain of command, the outcome of our Civil War, the constraints on rulers that supposedly set us apart from the world’s dictator-run hellholes—I’ve learned that certain facts of life remain constant. …
    Found 1 week ago on Scott Aaronson's blog
  14. 627436.04687
    In this work we present a dynamical approach to quantum logics. By changing the standard formalism of quantum mechanics to allow non-Hermitian operators as generators of time evolution, we address the question of how can logics evolve in time. In this way, we describe formally how a non-Boolean algebra may become a Boolean one under certain conditions. We present some simple models which illustrate this transition and develop a new quantum logical formalism based in complex spectral resolutions, a notion that we introduce in order to cope with the temporal aspect of the logical structure of quantum theory.
    Found 1 week ago on PhilSci Archive
  15. 627452.046894
    We discuss generalized pobabilistic models for which states not necessarily obey Kolmogorov’s axioms of probability. We study the relationship between properties and probabilistic measures in this setting, and explore some possible interpretations of these measures.
    Found 1 week ago on PhilSci Archive
  16. 627468.046917
    Although during the last decades the philosophy of chemistry has greatly extended its thematic scope, the problem of the relationship between chemistry and physics still attracts a great interest in the area. In particular, the main difficulties appear in the attempt to link the chemical description of atoms and molecules and the description supplied by quantum mechanics.
    Found 1 week ago on PhilSci Archive
  17. 627484.046946
    Pearl and Woodward are both well-known advocates of interventionist causation. What is less well-known is the interesting relationship between their respective accounts. In this paper we discuss the different perspectives of causation these two accounts present and show that they are two sides of the same coin. Pearl’s focus is on leveraging global network constraints to correctly identify local causal relations. The rules by which global causal structures are composed from distinct causal relations are precisely defined by the global constraints. Woodward’s focus, however, is on the use of local manipulation to identify single causal relations that then compose into global causal structures. The rules by which this composition takes place emerge as a result of local interventionist constraints (or so the claim goes). We contend that the complete picture of causality to be found between these two perspectives from the interventionist tradition must recognise both the global constraints of the sort identified by Pearl and the local constraints of the sort identified by Woodward, and the interplay between them: Pearl requires the possibility of local interventions and Woodward requires a global statistical framework within which to build composite causal structures.
    Found 1 week ago on PhilSci Archive
  18. 742795.046973
    The paper discusses major implications of high energy physics for the scientific realism debate. The first part analyses the ways in which aspects of the empirically well-confirmed standard model of particle physics are relevant for a reassessment of entity realism, ontological realism and structural realism. The second part looks at the implications of more far-reaching concepts like string theory. While those theories have not found empirical confirmation, if they turned out viable, their implications for the realism debate would be more substantial than those of the standard model.
    Found 1 week, 1 day ago on PhilSci Archive
  19. 778059.047003
    Thomas Polger and Lawrence Shapiro, The Multiple Realization Book (OUP, 2016) In our first post we explained how we came to write The Multiple Realization Book, we articulated our general approach, and we set out our criteria for multiple realization. …
    Found 1 week, 2 days ago on The Brains Blog
  20. 834980.047028
    There was a period in the 1970’s when the admissions data for the UC–Berkeley graduate school (hereafter, BGS) exhibited some (prima facie) peculiar statistical correlations. Specifically, a strong negative correlation was observed between being female and being accepted into BGS. This negative correlation (in the overall population of BGS applicants) was (initially) a cause for some concern regarding the possibility of gender bias in the admissions process at BGS. However, closer scrutiny of the BGS admissions data from this period revealed that no individual department’s admissions data exhibited a negative correlation between being female and being admitted. In fact, every department reported a positive correlation between being female and being accepted. In other words, a correlation that appears at the level of the general population of BGS applicants is reversed in every single department of BGS. This sort of correlation reversal is known as Simpson’s Paradox. Because admissions decisions at BGS are made (autonomously) by each individual department, the lack of departmental correlations seems to rule-out the gender bias hypothesis as the best (causal) explanation of the observed correlations in the data. As it happens, there was a strong positive correlation between being female and applying to a department with a (relatively) high rejection rate.
    Found 1 week, 2 days ago on Branden Fitelson's site
  21. 858554.047051
    My paper Deprioritizing the A Priori Arguments Against Physicalism, which was a product of the online consciousness conference, directly grew out of blog discussions I had around here shortly after I started this blog in May of 2007 (which, by the way, I just noticed, means that the 10 year anniversary of Philosophy Sucks! …
    Found 1 week, 2 days ago on Richard Brown's blog
  22. 864819.047075
    Thomas Polger and Lawrence Shapiro, The Multiple Realization Book (OUP, 2016) First, we’d like to thank John Schwenkler for giving us the opportunity to talk about The Multiple Realization Book (OUP 2016) on Brains. …
    Found 1 week, 3 days ago on The Brains Blog
  23. 916388.0471
    According to the antirealist argument known as the pessimistic induction, the history of science is a graveyard of dead scientific theories and abandoned theoretical posits. Support for this pessimistic picture of the history of science usually comes from a few case histories, such as the demise of the phlogiston theory and the abandonment of caloric as the substance of heat. In this paper, I wish to take a new approach to examining the “history of science as a graveyard of theories” picture. Using JSTOR Data for Research and Springer Exemplar, I present new lines of evidence that are at odds with this pessimistic picture of the history of science. When rigorously tested against the historical record of science, I submit, the pessimistic picture of the history of science as a graveyard of dead theories and abandoned posits may turn out to be no more than a philosophers’ myth.
    Found 1 week, 3 days ago on PhilSci Archive
  24. 916413.047126
    I argue that our judgements regarding the locally causal models which are compatible with a given quantum no-go theorem implicitly depend, in part, on the context of inquiry. It follows from this that certain no-go theorems, which are particularly striking in the traditional foundational context, have no force when the context switches to a discussion of the physical systems we are capable of building with the aim of classically reproducing quantum statistics. I close with a general discussion of the possible implications of this for our understanding of the limits of classical description, and for our understanding of the fundamental aim of physical investigation.
    Found 1 week, 3 days ago on PhilSci Archive
  25. 948023.04715
    Despite numerous and increasing attempts to define what life is, there is no consensus on necessary and sufficient conditions for life. Accordingly, some scholars have questioned the value of definitions of life and encouraged scientists and philosophers alike to discard the project. As an alternative to this pessimistic conclusion, we argue that critically rethinking the nature and uses of definitions can provide new insights into the epistemic roles of definitions of life for different research practices. This paper examines the possible contributions of definitions of life in scientific domains where such definitions are used most (e.g., Synthetic Biology, Origins of Life, Alife, and Astrobiology). Rather than as classificatory tools for demarcation of natural kinds, we highlight the pragmatic utility of what we call operational definitions that serve as theoretical and epistemic tools in scientific practice. In particular, we examine contexts where definitions integrate criteria for life into theoretical models that involve or enable observable operations. We show how these definitions of life play important roles in influencing research agendas and evaluating results, and we argue that to discard the project of defining life is neither sufficiently motivated, nor possible without dismissing important theoretical and practical research.
    Found 1 week, 3 days ago on PhilPapers
  26. 1031722.047173
    Naturalistic philosophers rely on literature search and review in a number of ways and for different purposes. Yet this article shows how processes of literature search and review are likely to be affected by widespread and systematic biases. A solution to this problem is offered here. Whilst the tradition of systematic reviews of literature from scientific disciplines has been neglected in philosophy, systematic reviews are important tools that minimize bias in literature search and review and allow for greater reproducibility and transparency. If naturalistic philosophers wish to reduce bias in their research, they should then supplement their traditional tools for literature search and review by including systematic methodologies.
    Found 1 week, 4 days ago on PhilSci Archive
  27. 1143390.0472
    Human behavior is frequently described both in abstract, general terms and in concrete, specific terms. We asked whether these two ways of framing equivalent behaviors shift the inferences people make about the biological and psychological bases of those behaviors. In five experiments, we manipulated whether behaviors are presented concretely (i.e. with reference to a specific person, instantiated in the particular context of that person’s life) or abstractly (i.e. with reference to a category of people or behaviors across generalized contexts). People judged concretely framed behaviors to be less biologically based and, on some dimensions, more psychologically based than the same behaviors framed in the abstract. These findings held true for both mental disorders (Experiments 1 and 2) and everyday behaviors (Experiments 4 and 5) and yielded downstream consequences for the perceived efficacy of disorder treatments (Experiment 3). Implications for science educators, students of science, and members of the lay public are discussed.
    Found 1 week, 6 days ago on Joshua Knobe's site
  28. 1321175.04723
    I’m surprised it’s a year already since posting my published comments on the ASA Document on P-Values. Since then, there have been a slew of papers rehearsing the well-worn fallacies of tests (a tad bit more than the usual rate). …
    Found 2 weeks, 1 day ago on D. G. Mayo's blog
  29. 1377800.047254
    The original “modal interpretation” of non-relativistic quantum theory was born in the early 1970s, and at that time the phrase referred to a single interpretation. The phrase now encompasses a class of interpretations, and is better taken to refer to a general approach to the interpretation of quantum theory. We shall describe the history of modal interpretations, how the phrase has come to be used in this way, and the general program of (at least some of) those who advocate this approach.
    Found 2 weeks, 1 day ago on Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy
  30. 1474924.047276
    David is the author of two books that significantly shaped my intellectual life, Quantum Mechanics and Experience and Time and Chance. Both broke new ground in philosophy of physics, fundamentally reshaping the discussion of the measurement problem in the first, and laying out a bold understanding of thermodynamics and the temporal asymmetries in the second. Unlike these two books, the present one is a collection of essays and has the character of a welcome sequel. We’re all familiar with the sadness one feels when finishing a particularly good book. I was crushed when I finished David Mitchell’s Clock Bones, for instance, because I knew I would miss joining the strange compelling universe portrayed there. I’ve just learned that Mitchell wrote a brief sequel and I can’t wait to jump back into that world. After Physics inspires a similar feeling, where one is delighted to rejoin a wonderful conversation that ones dearly misses. It doesn’t disappoint, for it is no less packed with original, fun, deep, and dense argumentation than the first two books. The big difference in the two sequels is that whereas Mitchell’s genre-busting fantasy is fiction, David’s book purports to be nonfiction. :) Barry Loewer once said to me that whereas he and David are fundamentalists first, Humeans second, I am Humean first, fundamentalist second. There is something to that. What I’ll try to do is sketch two places in David’s overall picture where this may matter. Even if one isn’t inclined to a spare Humean picture of the world, the discussion may be of interest to anyone because the resulting pictures are at odds with David’s and (I think) independent of their genesis in Humean motivations. 2
    Found 2 weeks, 3 days ago on PhilSci Archive