1. 9064.262844
    One occasionally wonders what theism adds to Natural Law ethics. Here is one example. Q1: Why are artistic endeavors good? Here, Natural Law answers by itself, without any help from theism: A1: Because they fulfill the human nature. …
    Found 2 hours, 31 minutes ago on Alexander Pruss's Blog
  2. 15695.262893
    A popular way to try to justify holding defendants criminally responsible for inadvertent negligence is via an indirect or ‘tracing’ approach, i.e. an approach which traces the inadvertence back to prior culpable action. I argue that this indirect approach to criminal negligence fails because it can’t account for a key feature of how criminal negligence should be (and sometimes is) assessed. Specifically, it can’t account for why, when considering whether a defendant is negligent, what counts as a risk should be assessed relative to the defendant’s evidence Keywords: Criminal Negligence; Gross Negligence Manslaughter; Culpability; Tracing.
    Found 4 hours, 21 minutes ago on Alexander Greenberg's site
  3. 33637.262911
    Propositions represent the entities from which they are formed. This fact has puzzled philosophers and some have put forward radical proposals in order to explain it. This paper develops a primitivist account of the representational properties of propositions that centers on the operation of application. As we will see, this theory wins out over its competitors on grounds of strength, systematicity and unifying power. Propositions are (or can be) about individuals and predicate properties of them. The proposition that two is prime is about two, for instance, and predicates being prime of it. Many philosophers think we need a reductive theory of propositions in order to account for the representational features of propositions. This paper challenges this claim. I’ll develop a primitivist account of the representational features of propositions and argue that it is no less elegant, simple, or perspicuous than any of the reductive accounts currently on offer.
    Found 9 hours, 20 minutes ago on PhilPapers
  4. 42958.262926
    Ideological language is widespread in theoretical biology. Evolutionary game theory has been defended as a worldview and a leap of faith, and sexual selection theory has been criticized for what it posits as basic to biological nature. Views such as these encourage the impression of ideological rifts in the field. I advocate an alternative interpretation, whereby many disagreements between different camps of biologists merely reflect methodological differences. This interpretation provides a more accurate and more optimistic account of the state of play in the field of biology. It also helps account for biologists’ tendency to embrace ideological positions.
    Found 11 hours, 55 minutes ago on PhilSci Archive
  5. 43036.262941
    University of Cincinnati in October 2012. In this introduction, we first survey the recent history of philosophy of science’s social involvement (or lack thereof) and contrast this with the much greater social involvement of the sciences themselves (Section 1). Next, we argue that the field of philosophy of science bears a special responsibility to contribute to public welfare (Section 2). We then introduce as a term of art ”socially engaged philosophy of science" and articulate what we take to be distinctive about social engagement, with reference to the articles in this collection as exemplars (Section 3). Finally, we survey the current state of social engagement in philosophy of science and suggest some practical steps for individuals and institutions to support this trajectory (Section 4).
    Found 11 hours, 57 minutes ago on PhilSci Archive
  6. 43140.262959
    The concept of levels of organization is prominent in science and central to a variety of debates in philosophy of science. Yet many difficulties plague the concept of universal and discrete hierarchical levels, and these undermine implications commonly ascribed to hierarchical organization. We suggest the concept of scale as a promising alternative. Investigating causal processes at different scales allows for a notion of quasi levels that avoids the difficulties inherent in the classic concept of levels. Our primary focus is ecology, but we suggest how the results generalize to other invocations of hierarchy in science and philosophy of science.
    Found 11 hours, 59 minutes ago on PhilSci Archive
  7. 43184.262995
    The optimality approach to modeling natural selection has been criticized by many biologists and philosophers of biology. For instance, Lewontin (1979) argues that the optimality approach is a shortcut that will be replaced by models incorporating genetic information, if and when such models become available. In contrast, I think that optimality models have a permanent role in evolutionary study. I base my argument for this claim on what I think it takes to best explain an event. In certain contexts, optimality and game-theoretic models best explain some central types of evolutionary phenomena.
    Found 11 hours, 59 minutes ago on PhilSci Archive
  8. 43225.263025
    A common argument against explanatory reductionism is that higher-level explanations are sometimes or always preferable because they are more general than reductive explanations. Here I challenge two basic assumptions that are needed for that argument to succeed. It cannot be assumed that higher-level explanations are more general than their lower-level alternatives or that higher-level explanations are general in the right way to be explanatory. I suggest a novel form of pluralism regarding levels of explanation, according to which explanations at different levels are preferable in different circumstances because they offer different types of generality, which are appropriate in different circumstances of explanation.
    Found 12 hours ago on PhilSci Archive
  9. 43312.263056
    Philosophical accounts of scientific explanation are by and large categorized as law-based, unification, causal, mechanistic, etc. This type of categorization emphasizes one particular element of explanatory practices, namely, the type of dependence that is supposed to do the explaining. This question about scientific explanations is: in order for A to explain B, in what way must A account for B?
    Found 12 hours, 1 minute ago on PhilSci Archive
  10. 43373.263073
    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 to any satisfactory account of explanation.
    Found 12 hours, 2 minutes ago on PhilSci Archive
  11. 43412.263102
    Recent philosophy of science has witnessed a shift in focus, in that significantly more consideration is given to how scientists employ models. Attending to the role of models in scientific practice leads to new questions about the representational roles of models, the purpose of idealizations, why multiple models are used for the same phenomenon, and many more besides. In this paper, I suggest that these themes resonate with central topics in feminist epistemology, in particular prominent versions of feminist empiricism, and that model-based science and feminist epistemology each has crucial resources to offer the other’s project.
    Found 12 hours, 3 minutes ago on PhilSci Archive
  12. 43457.263123
    Levels of organization and their use in science have received increased philosophical attention of late, including challenges to the well-foundedness or widespread usefulness of levels concepts. One kind of response to these challenges has been to advocate a more precise and specific levels concept that is coherent and useful. Another kind of response has been to argue that the levels concept should be taken as a heuristic, to embrace its ambiguity and the possibility of exceptions as acceptable consequences of its usefulness. In this chapter, I suggest that each of these strategies faces its own attendant downsides, and that pursuit of both strategies (by different thinkers) compounds the difficulties. That both kinds of approaches are advocated is, I think, illustrative of the problems plaguing the concept of levels of organization. I end by suggesting that the invocation of levels may mislead scientific and philosophical investigations more than it informs them, so our use of the levels concept should be updated accordingly.
    Found 12 hours, 4 minutes ago on PhilSci Archive
  13. 43500.263142
    The fate of optimality modeling is typically linked to that of adaptationism: the two are thought to stand or fall together (Gould and Lewontin, 1979; Orzack and Sober, 1994). I argue here that this is mistaken. The debate over adaptationism has tended to focus on one particular use of optimality models, which I refer to here as their strong use. The strong use of an optimality model involves the claim that selection is the only important influence on the evolutionary outcome in question and is thus linked to adaptationism. However, biologists seldom intend this strong use of optimality models. One common alternative that I term the weak use simply involves the claim that an optimality model accurately represents the role of selection in bringing about the outcome. This and other weaker uses of optimality models insulate the optimality approach from criticisms of adaptationism, and they account for the prominence of optimality modeling (broadly construed) in population biology. The centrality of these uses of optimality models ensures a continuing role for the optimality approach, regardless of the fate of adaptationism.
    Found 12 hours, 5 minutes ago on PhilSci Archive
  14. 43546.26316
    There is increasing attention to the centrality of idealization in science. One common view is that models and other idealized representations are important to science, but that they fall short in one or more ways. On this view, there must be an intermediary step between idealized representation and the traditional aims of science, including truth, explanation, and prediction. Here I develop an alternative interpretation of the relationship between idealized representation and the aims of science. I suggest that continuing, widespread idealization calls into question the idea that science aims for truth. If instead science aims to produce understanding, this would enable idealizations to directly contribute to science’s epistemic success. I also use the fact of widespread idealization to motivate the idea that science’s wide variety aims, epistemic and non-epistemic, are best served by different kinds of scientific products. Finally, I show how these diverse aims—most rather distant from truth— result in the expanded influence of social values on science.
    Found 12 hours, 5 minutes ago on PhilSci Archive
  15. 43588.263178
    Michael Strevens offers an account of causal explanation according to which explanatory practice is shaped by counterbalanced commitments to representing causal influence and abstracting away from overly specific details. In this paper, I challenge a key feature of that account. I argue that what Strevens calls explanatory frameworks figure prominently in explanatory practice because they actually improve explanations.
    Found 12 hours, 6 minutes ago on PhilSci Archive
  16. 43629.263197
    The value of optimality modeling has long been a source of contention amongst population biologists. Here I present a view of the optimality approach as at once playing a crucial explanatory role and yet also depending on external sources of confirmation. Optimality models are not alone in facing this tension between their explanatory value and their dependence on other approaches; I suspect that the scenario is quite common in science. This investigation of the optimality approach thus serves as a case study, on the basis of which I suggest that there is a widely felt tension in science between explanatory independence and broad epistemic inter dependence, and that this tension influences scientific methodology.
    Found 12 hours, 7 minutes ago on PhilSci Archive
  17. 43683.263215
    An historically important conception of the unity of science is explanatory reductionism, according to which the unity of science is achieved by explaining all laws of science in terms of their connection to microphysical law. There is, however, a separate tradition that advocates the unity of science. According to that tradition, the unity of science consists of the coordination of diverse fields of science, none of which is taken to have privileged epistemic status. This alternate conception has roots in Otto Neurath’s notion of unified science. In this paper, I develop a version of the coordination approach to unity that is inspired by Neurath’s views. The resulting conception of the unity of science achieves aims similar to those of explanatory reductionism, but does so in a radically different way. As a result, it is immune to the criticisms facing explanatory reductionism. This conception of unity is also importantly different from the view that science is disunified, and I conclude by demonstrating how it accords better with scientific practice than do conceptions of the disunity of science.
    Found 12 hours, 8 minutes ago on PhilSci Archive
  18. 43726.263234
    Causal accounts of scientific explanation are currently broadly accepted (though not universally so). My first task in this paper is to show that, even for a causal approach to explanation, significant features of explanatory practice are not determined by settling how causal facts bear on the phenomenon to be explained. I then develop a broadly causal approach to explanation that accounts for the additional features that I argue an explanation should have. This approach to explanation makes sense of several aspects of actual explanatory practice, including the widespread use of equilibrium explanations, the formulation of distinct explanations for a single event, and the tight relationship between explanations of events and explanations of causal regularities.
    Found 12 hours, 8 minutes ago on PhilSci Archive
  19. 43767.263253
    In this paper, I first outline the view developed in my recent book on the role of idealization in scientific understanding. I discuss how this view leads to the recognition of a number of kinds of variability among scientific representations, including variability introduced by the many different aims of scientific projects. I then argue that the role of idealization in securing understanding distances understanding from truth, but that this understanding nonetheless gives rise to scientific knowledge. This discussion will clarify how my view relates to three other recent books on understanding by Henk de Regt, Catherine Elgin, and Kareem Khalifa.
    Found 12 hours, 9 minutes ago on PhilSci Archive
  20. 43807.263272
    Debate about cognitive science explanations has been formulated in terms of identifying the proper level(s) of explanation. Views range from reductionist, favoring only neuroscience explanations, to mechanist, favoring the integration of multiple levels, to pluralist, favoring the preservation of even the most general, high-level explanations, such as those provided by embodied or dynamical approaches. In this paper, we challenge this framing. We suggest that these are not different levels of explanation at all but, rather, different styles of explanation that capture different, cross-cutting patterns in cognitive phenomena. Which pattern is explanatory depends on both the cognitive phenomenon under investigation and the research interests occasioning the explanation. This reframing changes how we should answer the basic questions of which cognitive science approaches explain and how these explanations relate to one another. On this view, we should expect different approaches to offer independent explanations in terms of their different focal patterns and the value of those explanations to partly derive from the broad patterns they feature.
    Found 12 hours, 10 minutes ago on PhilSci Archive
  21. 43861.26329
    One of the central aims of science is explanation: scientists seek to uncover why things happen the way they do. This chapter addresses what kinds of explanations are formulated in biology, how explanatory aims influence other features of the field of biology, and the implications of all of this for biology education. Philosophical treatments of scientific explanation have been both complicated and enriched by attention to explanatory strategies in biology. Most basically, whereas traditional philosophy of science based explanation on derivation from scientific laws, there are many biological explanations in which laws play little or no role. Instead, the field of biology is a natural place to turn for support for the idea that causal information is explanatory. Biology has also been used to motivate mechanistic accounts of explanation, as well as criticisms of that approach.
    Found 12 hours, 11 minutes ago on PhilSci Archive
  22. 43926.263309
    When game theory was introduced to biology, the components of classic game theory models were replaced with elements more befitting evolutionary phenomena. The actions of intelligent agents are replaced by phenotypic traits; utility is replaced by fitness; rational deliberation is replaced by natural selection. In this paper, I argue that this classic conception of comprehensive reapplication is misleading, for it overemphasizes the discontinuity between human behavior and evolved traits. Explicitly considering the representational roles of evolutionary game theory brings to attention areas of overlap that are often neglected, and so a range of evolutionary possibilities that are often overlooked. The clarifications this analysis provides are well illustrated by—and particularly valuable for—game theoretic treatments of the evolution of social behavior.
    Found 12 hours, 12 minutes ago on PhilSci Archive
  23. 55465.263327
     Kids, you tried your best and you failed miserably. The lesson is: never try. (Homer Simpson) I’m like most people: I spend a long time thinking that I am a failure. I see others posting updates online about personal triumphs and successes, and I feel like I don’t measure up. …
    Found 15 hours, 24 minutes ago on John Danaher's blog
  24. 55466.263352
    This is the second in a series of posts about my recently published book, Forming Impressions: Expertise in Perception and Intuition (OUP, 2020).Birds and Physics ProblemsIn Chapters 2 and 3 of Forming Impressions, I argue that both expert perception and expert intuition manifest themselves in experience.When an expert birdwatcher sees the pictured bird, they have a visual experience that represents it as an American Robin. …
    Found 15 hours, 24 minutes ago on The Brains Blog
  25. 89041.263374
    What is race? In what sense is race “real”; in what sense is it an illusion? How should scientific inquiry take race into account (or not)? How should systems that distribute key social benefits and burdens take race into account (or not)? Does fairness require colorblindness? If not, how can we incorporate considerations of race that do not lead to other kinds of harms? These questions arise in a broad range of disciplines, but have now taken on another dimension of significance as automated computational and machine learning tools are increasingly folded into systems that address complex social coordination problems. After reviewing the philosophical literature, we argue that the main issue is not how or whether we adequately represent racial phenomena, or how we can trade-off legitimate “non-race-related” interests with an aim of racial “fairness,” but how such computational systems contribute to the production of race; the normative issue, then, is not how to be fair, but how to dismantle racism.
    Found 1 day ago on Sally Haslanger's site
  26. 96066.263397
    It is generally allowed that perceptual accuracy is sometimes sacrificed for other goods like speed or energy efficiency. At the same time, we might suppose that some degree of accuracy is required if perception is going to fulfill its selected-for purpose. Palmer (1999) endorses this point of view: “Evolutionarily speaking, visual perception is useful only if it is reasonably accurate.” In this paper I identify an important kind of exception to Palmer’s view that accuracy is integral to the success of perceptual tasks found in nature. On the standard way of thinking about accuracy in psychophysics, accuracy needs to be distinguished from inter-observer reliability. My central claim is that biologically successful perception sometimes depends on inter-observer reliability rather than accuracy. The biological utility of inter-observer reliability is on display in the phenomenon of sensory exploitation, a key driver of sexual selection.
    Found 1 day, 2 hours ago on Todd Ganson's site
  27. 108945.263419
    I have a weird view: when a dog or another substance ceases to exist, all its particles cease to exist, being replaced by new particles with very similar physical parameters (with the new physical parameters being predictable via the laws of nature). …
    Found 1 day, 6 hours ago on Alexander Pruss's Blog
  28. 109152.263439
    We analyse the object assignment model enriched with a set of orderings over the set of agents. These orderings provide potential criteria for determining the suitability of agents to be assigned to an object. A candidate for a definable equilibrium is an assignment of the agents to the objects and an attachment of a single criterion to each object. In equilibrium, each agent is better-suited to his assigned object than any agent who envies him, according to the criterion attached to that object. We analyze the equilibrium notion and provide some examples.
    Found 1 day, 6 hours ago on Ariel Rubinstein's site
  29. 141355.263457
    IntroductionRadiologists can reliably tell whether a seen x-ray image is abnormal without scanning its details. This is an example of expert perception.Chess masters immediately think of superior moves, so that the move they ultimately choose differs from these initial options only in difficult cases. …
    Found 1 day, 15 hours ago on The Brains Blog
  30. 159226.263479
    In QBism the wave function does not represent an element of physical reality external to the agent, but represent an agent’s personal probability assignments, reflecting his subjective degrees of belief about the future content of his experience. In this paper, I argue that this view of the wave function is not consistent with protective measurements. The argument does not rely on the realist assumption of the ψ-ontology theorems, namely the existence of the underlying ontic state of a quantum system.
    Found 1 day, 20 hours ago on PhilSci Archive