1. 168174.189937
    The Kuhnian view of theory choice (post Structure) leaves a lot of space for a diversity of theory choice preferences. It remains mysterious, however, how scientists could ever converge on a theory, given this diversity. This paper will argue that there is a solution to the problem of convergence, which can be had even on Kuhn’s own terms.
    Found 1 day, 22 hours ago on PhilSci Archive
  2. 293862.19014
    In the middle chapters of Morality by Degrees, Alastair Norcross argues that there is no principled way to determine the absolute value of an action (incl. whether it is ‘good’ or ‘bad’), only whether it is better or worse than specific alternatives.1 It’s natural to assume that we should judge an action good (bad) just to the extent that it makes things go better (worse) than if the act hadn’t been performed. …
    Found 3 days, 9 hours ago on Good Thoughts
  3. 492245.190164
    We study the anchoring effect in a computational model of group deliberation on preference rankings. Anchoring is a form of path-dependence through which the opinions of those who speak early have a stronger influence on the outcome of deliberation than the opinions of those who speak later. We show that anchoring can occur even among fully rational agents. We then compare the respective effects of anchoring and three other determinants of the deliberative outcome: the relative weight or social influence of the speakers, the popularity of a given speaker’s opinion, and the homogeneity of the group. We find that, on average, anchoring has the strongest effect among these. We finally show that anchoring is often correlated with increases in proximity to single-plateauedness. We conclude that anchoring can constitute a structural bias that might hinder some of the otherwise positive effects of group deliberation.
    Found 5 days, 16 hours ago on PhilSci Archive
  4. 514226.190189
    In this paper, I stress the need to broaden the scope of diversity in value-laden ideals of science to include geographic diversity. I argue that egalitarian and normic value-laden ideals have conceptual limitations when considering this dimension. While egalitarian frameworks advocate for a placeless science, normic frameworks predominantly locate scientific knowledge within the “Global North,” highlighting the importance of including “non- Western” perspectives from the “Global South.” These limitations have negative and unjust epistemic consequences: they risk perpetuating cultural imperialism, reproducing a colonial epistemic norming of space, and epistemic exoticization towards scientific communities in subaltern regions.
    Found 5 days, 22 hours ago on PhilSci Archive
  5. 514381.190207
    We provide a philosophical reconstruction and analysis of the debate on the scientific status of cosmic inflation that has played out in recent years. In a series of critical papers, Ijjas, Steinhardt, and Loeb have questioned the scientificality of current views on cosmic inflation. Proponents of cosmic inflation, such as Guth and Linde, have in turn defended the scientific credentials of their approach. We argue that, while this defense, narrowly construed, is successful against Ijjas, Steinhardt, and Loeb, the latters’ reasoning does point to a significant epistemic issue that arises with respect to inflationary theory. We claim that a broadening of the concept of theory assessment to include meta-empirical considerations is needed to address that issue in an adequate way.
    Found 5 days, 22 hours ago on PhilSci Archive
  6. 599977.190223
    Peter Galison 1,2,3,*, Juliusz Doboszewski 1,4,*, Jamee Elder 1,4,* , Niels C. M. Martens 5,4,6,7,* , Abhay Ashtekar , Jonas Enander , Marie Gueguen 10 , Elizabeth A. Kessler 11, Roberto Lalli 12,13, Martin Lesourd , Alexandru Marcoci 14 Luis Reyes-Galindo 19 , Sebastián Murgueitio Ramírez 15 , Priyamvada Natarajan 1,16,17, James Nguyen 18, , Sophie Ritson 20 , Mike D. Schneider 21, Emilie Skulberg 22,23, Helene Sorgner 7,24, , Mike D. Schneider 21, Emilie Skulberg 22,23, Helene Sorgner 7,24, Matthew Stanley 25, Ann C. Thresher 26, Jeroen Van Dongen 22,23, James Owen Weatherall 27 , Jingyi Wu 27
    Found 6 days, 22 hours ago on James Owen Weatherall's site
  7. 615092.190243
    Why comply with epistemic norms? In this paper, I argue that complying with epistemic norms, engaging in epistemically responsible conduct, and being epistemically trustworthy are constitutive elements of maintaining good epistemic relations with oneself and others. Good epistemic relations are in turn both instrumentally and finally valuable: they enable the kind of coordination and knowledge acquisition underpinning much of what we tend to associate with a flourishing human life; and just as good interpersonal relations with others can be good for their own sake, standing in good epistemic relations is good for its own sake. On my account, we have reason to comply with epistemic norms because it is a way of respecting the final value of something that also tends to be an instrumentally valuable thing: good epistemic relations. Situating the account within the recent social turn in debates about epistemic instrumentalism, I argue that the dual-value aspect of good epistemic relations can explain important anti-instrumentalist intuitions, in a well-motivated way, within a broadly instrumentalist framework.
    Found 1 week ago on Sebastian Köhler's site
  8. 687506.190267
    Stegenga (forthcoming) formulates and defends a novel account of scientific progress, according to which science makes progress just in case there is a change in scientific justification. Here we present several problems for Stegenga’s account, concerning respectively (i) obtaining misleading evidence, (ii) losses or destruction of evidence, (iii) oscillations in scientific justification, and (iv) the possibility of scientific regress. We conclude by sketching a substantially different justification-based account of scientific progress that avoids these problems.
    Found 1 week ago on PhilSci Archive
  9. 735977.190278
    There’s one respect in which philosophical training seems to make (many) philosophers worse at practical ethics. Too many are tempted to treat tidy thought experiments as a model for messy real-world ethical quandaries. …
    Found 1 week, 1 day ago on Good Thoughts
  10. 827223.190288
    Famous problems in variable-population welfare economics have led some to suggest that social welfare comparisons over such populations may be incomplete. In the theory of rational choice with incomplete preferences, attention has recently centered on the Expected Multi-Utility framework, which permits incompleteness but preserves vNM independence and can be derived from weak, attractive axioms. Here, we apply this framework to variable-population welfare economics. We show that Expected Multi-Utility for social preferences, combined with a stochastic ex-ante- Pareto-type axiom, characterizes Expected Critical-Set Generalized Utilitarianism, in the presence of basic axioms. The further addition of Negative Dominance, an axiom recently introduced to the philosophy literature, yields a characterization of Expected Critical-Level Generalized Utilitarianism.
    Found 1 week, 2 days ago on Peter Fritz's site
  11. 863744.190297
    The remaining seven papers (eight, if you count this introductory piece) in this volume of Oxford Studies in Epistemology constitute a special issue on applied epistemology, an exciting, novel, and currently burgeoning subfield of epistemology. The term ‘applied epistemology’ is a relatively recent one, however, and anecdotally, many people I’ve encountered are not quite sure what it denotes, or what different works within the field have in common. In this introductory piece, I’ll venture some views about these questions, and about why applied epistemology is worth doing, as well as about its dangers.
    Found 1 week, 2 days ago on Alex Worsnip's site
  12. 976031.190307
    This book is the second of two volumes on belief and counterfactuals. It consists of five of a total of eleven chapters. ... ... Finally, while merely a change in terminology, I should perhaps note that, throughout the second volume, I follow my own suggestion from the first volume of referring to subjective probabilities not anymore as what they are not, viz., degrees of belief, but as what they are: degrees of certainty.
    Found 1 week, 4 days ago on PhilSci Archive
  13. 1074300.190317
    Before posting new reflections on where we are 5 years after the ASA P-value controversy–both my own and readers’–I will reblog some reader commentaries from 2022 in connection with my (2022) editorial in Conservation Biology: “The Statistical Wars and Intellectual Conflicts of Interest”. …
    Found 1 week, 5 days ago on D. G. Mayo's blog
  14. 1091794.190328
    To analyse contingent propositions, this paper investigates how branching time structures can be combined with probability theory. In particular, it considers assigning infinitesimal probabilities—available in non-Archimedean probability theory—to individual histories. This allows us to introduce the concept of ‘remote possibility’ as a new modal notion between ‘impossibility’ and ‘appreciable possibility’. The proposal is illustrated by applying it to a future contingent and a historical counterfactual concerning an infinite sequence of coin tosses. The latter is a toy model that is used to illustrate the applicability of the proposal to more realistic physical models.
    Found 1 week, 5 days ago on PhilSci Archive
  15. 1380208.19034
    This paper presents a new problem for the inference rule commonly known as Inference to the Best Explanation (IBE). The problem is that uncertainty about parts of one’s evidence may undermine the inferrability of a hypothesis that would provide the best explanation of that evidence, especially in cases where there is an alternative hypothesis that would provide a better explanation of only the more certain pieces of evidence. A potential solution to the problem is sketched, in which IBE is generalized to handle uncertain evidence by invoking a notion of evidential robustness.
    Found 2 weeks, 1 day ago on PhilSci Archive
  16. 1380236.19035
    We claim that scientists working with deep learning (DL) models exhibit a form of pragmatic understanding that is not reducible to or dependent on explanation. This pragmatic understanding comprises a set of learned methodological principles that underlie DL model design-choices and secure their reliability. We illustrate this action-oriented pragmatic understanding with a case study of AlphaFold2, highlighting the interplay between background knowledge of a problem and methodological choices involving techniques for constraining how a model learns from data. Building successful models requires pragmatic understanding to apply modelling strategies that encourage the model to learn data patterns that will facilitate reliable generalisation.
    Found 2 weeks, 1 day ago on PhilSci Archive
  17. 1380264.190361
    Climate change attribution involves measuring the human contribution to warming. In principle, inaccuracies in the characterization of the climate’s internal variability could undermine these measurements. Equally in principle, the success of the measurement practice could provide evidence that our assumptions about internal variability are correct. I argue that neither condition obtains: current measurement practices do not provide evidence for the accuracy of our assumptions precisely because they are not as sensitive to inaccuracy in the characterization of internal variability as might be worried. I end by drawing some lessons about “robustness reasoning” more generally.
    Found 2 weeks, 1 day ago on PhilSci Archive
  18. 1380295.190371
    Perspectival realism (“PR” hereafter) is a developing trend in contemporary thought, which can be recognised as one of the post-Kuhnian theories of science. In these theories, significant emphasis is placed on the inseparable nature of cognitive and social dynamics within the cognitive act and the development of scientific knowledge (see Collins, Evans 2002). This sets it apart from a static approach of (logical) positivists. In particular, proponents of PR “share the general idea that there is no ‘view from nowhere’ and that scientific knowledge cannot transcend a human perspective” (premiss 1). This implies that the truth condition or justification of a hypothesis depends on an epistemic vantage point. However, “it is in part mind-independent facts that make our theories true or false” (premiss 2) (Ruyant 2020).
    Found 2 weeks, 1 day ago on PhilSci Archive
  19. 1380325.190382
    According to what I call the Probabilistic View, absence of evidence is evidence of absence when finding evidence is highly expected. However, this view fails to make sense of the practice of using absence of evidence in the paleosciences, where finding evidence is typically not highly expected. Using a case from paleogeology, I offer a novel account of when absence of evidence should be evidence of absence, which I call the Pragmatic View: appeals to absence of evidence as evidence of absence are warranted because they offer a scaffold to investigate auxiliary hypotheses related to the hypothesis in question.
    Found 2 weeks, 1 day ago on PhilSci Archive
  20. 1484926.190393
    What is inquiry? While I can’t provide a complete philosophical account or theory, I can point it out. We all know it well. Imagine this typical morning. You wake up and look at the clock: 8 am. You check your phone and your messages, look at your emails. Your department chair has emailed asking for your availability for meetings this semester, so you look at your calendar and fill in the poll. You go to make some tea but you don’t seem to have any left so you check the other pantry. You think about whether you should get some exercise this morning — is there time for a run? You check the weather, look at the clock again, and think about which layers to wear. Maybe you should eat something first so you go to the fridge to see what you have and figure out what you’re in the mood for. Are there enough eggs left? You think about whether you have time to get groceries today after work. While you’re making breakfast you notice something weird-looking hiding behind a jar on the counter so you take a closer look — ah, that’s where that pencil went!
    Found 2 weeks, 3 days ago on Jane Friedman's site
  21. 1497586.190402
    Rob Henderson includes support for open borders on his short list of “luxury beliefs”: When an affluent person advocates for drug legalization, or defunding the police, or open borders, or loose sexual norms, or white privilege, they are engaging in a status display. …
    Found 2 weeks, 3 days ago on Bet On It
  22. 1556023.190412
    The term ‘coherence’ (and its antonym ‘incoherence’) is used in a bewildering variety of ways in epistemology (and in philosophy more broadly). This entry attempts to bring some discipline to uses of the term by offering a taxonomy of notions of coherence (and incoherence), and then surveying which of the resulting notions is (or should be) at work in the various different contexts in which it is deployed.
    Found 2 weeks, 4 days ago on Alex Worsnip's site
  23. 1696455.190421
    Brian Goff’s piece on the cost disease is one of my most-read guest posts. Now he’s written some thoughtful commentary on my recent piece on the RCT agenda. Enjoy! Bryan Your post regarding the ideological presuppositions of RCTs is very insightful and important (looking forward to the book). …
    Found 2 weeks, 5 days ago on Bet On It
  24. 1696481.19043
    The field of neuroscience and the development of artificial neural networks (ANNs) have mutually influenced each other, drawing from and contributing to many concepts initially developed in statistical mechanics. Notably, Hopfield networks and Boltzmann machines are versions of the Ising model, a model extensively studied in statistical mechanics for over a century. In the first part of this chapter, we provide an overview of the principles, models, and applications of ANNs, highlighting their connections to statistical mechanics and statistical learning theory. Artificial neural networks can be seen as high-dimensional mathematical functions, and understanding the geometric properties of their loss landscapes (i.e., the high-dimensional space on which one wishes to find extrema or saddles) can provide valuable insights into their optimization behavior, generalization abilities, and overall performance. Visualizing these functions can help us design better optimization methods and improve their generalization abilities. Thus, the second part of this chapter focuses on quantifying geometric properties and visualizing loss functions associated with deep ANNs.
    Found 2 weeks, 5 days ago on Gregory Wheeler's site
  25. 1722491.190439
    Moral disagreement pervades our lives. We disagree about the rightness or wrongness of actions, the goodness or badness of outcomes, and the justice or injustice of institutions. These disagreements often seem quite reasonable — and equally intractable. Moral reasoning is hard, requiring us to navigate complex concepts and their intricate and often surprising implications. We come to this task with different life experiences, educations, and social networks, and so with different biases, priors, and evidence bases. And, even when we agree about which moral considerations matter, we often disagree about their weights. Moral thinking, in other words, is subject to the “burdens of judgment” (Rawls 2005, 55–57; compare MacAskill et al. 2020, 11–14). And it is a predictable consequence of these burdens that intelligent people, reasoning in good faith, will come to different conclusions about morality.
    Found 2 weeks, 5 days ago on Philosopher's Imprint
  26. 1722589.190449
    We offer a new case which shows that edt mismanages the news, thus vindicating Lewis’s original charge. We argue that this case reveals a flaw in the “Why ain’cha rich?” defense of edt. We argue further that this case is an advance on extant putative counterexamples to edt.
    Found 2 weeks, 5 days ago on Philosopher's Imprint
  27. 1841973.190459
    There has been increased attention on how scientific communities should respond to spurious dissent. One proposed method is to hide such dissent by preventing its publication. To investigate this, I computationally model the epistemic effects of hiding dissenting evidence on scientific communities. I find that it is typically epistemically harmful to hide dissent, even when there exists an agent purposefully producing biased dissent. However, hiding dissent also allows for quicker correct epistemic consensus among scientists. Quicker consensus may be important when policy decisions must be made quickly, such as during a pandemic, suggesting times when hiding dissent may be useful.
    Found 3 weeks ago on PhilSci Archive
  28. 2014990.190471
    Research on the role of values in science and objectivity has typically approached trust through its epistemic aspects. Yet, recent work on public trust in science has emphasized the role of non-epistemic values in building and maintaining trust. This paper will use a concept of trust that adds concerns about justice to epistemic conditions to investigate this problem in relation to public health. I will argue that trust-conducive values, particularly justice, are relevant in deciding which value influences are legitimate in scientific decision-making. Drawing on public health ethics, I will provide a consequentialist justification for employing trust-conducive values. While several concepts of justice have been explored in the context of public health, I will further draw on public health ethics, focusing on a view that brings together both distributive and procedural aspects. For illustration, I will use the case of cardiovascular disease prevention, particularly how concerns about justice apply when choosing between population-based and individual-based approaches.
    Found 3 weeks, 2 days ago on PhilSci Archive
  29. 2020130.190481
    This is the last of the selected posts I will reblog from 5 years ago on the 2019 statistical significance controversy. The original post, published on this blog on December 13, 2019, had 85 comments, so you might find them of interest. …
    Found 3 weeks, 2 days ago on D. G. Mayo's blog
  30. 2042201.190493
    On his Substack, Chris Freiman argues that libertarianism is “liberalism without exceptions.” Basically, liberals (in the European meaning of the word) and libertarians agree that the state ought to prioritize a range of civil liberties (freedom of association, freedom of speech, …) but disagree with respect to the status of property. …
    Found 3 weeks, 2 days ago on The Archimedean Point