1. 172829.05521
    Stephen Mumford and Alexander Bird disagree about which properties are powers and, correspondingly, about the extent of the philosophical work to which powers may be put. Unfortunately, there is an important respect in which these authors are talking past each other and so the reason for their disagreement remains obscured. I highlight what has gone wrong in their recent exchange, attempt to clear up the confusion and pinpoint the true source of their disagreement. My hope is to redirect the efforts of these authors and their followers onto more pressing foundational issues in the metaphysics of powers.
    Found 2 days ago on PhilPapers
  2. 181718.055478
    An explanation is an answer to a why-question, and so a causal explanation is an answer to “Why X?” that says something about the causes of X. For example, “Because it rained,” as an answer to “Why is the ground wet?,” is a causal explanation. Causal explanation is philosophically important because explanation-in-general is philosophically important, and causal explanation is a basic kind of explanation. So a complete philosophy will include a theory of explanation, and a complete theory of explanation will offer criteria for being a causal explanation.
    Found 2 days, 2 hours ago on Bradford Skow's site
  3. 181734.055496
    This paper aims to establish and defend a realist position focused on scientific phenomena, particularly in the context of particle physics. Building on insights from scientific practice, the study addresses the limitations of previous realist positions and acknowledges the trend towards local realism. The primary objective is to develop an inferential blueprint that integrates theoretical and ontological layers, with a central focus on the concept of scientific phenomena. The framework is based on bottom-up inferences, specifically identifying robust patterns called ‘signatures,’ which can be inferred from the data and causally related to the phenomenon, analogous to traces of smoke indicating fire. A phenomenon can be stabilized bottom-up by utilizing multiple partially converging signatures, demonstrating resilience even in the presence of theoretical changes. Theoretical models can serve as a supportive structure atop this stable foundation, encouraging the search for additional signatures.
    Found 2 days, 2 hours ago on PhilSci Archive
  4. 181742.055521
    In this paper I revisit an important response to the Moral Twin Earth (MTE) challenge: The Common Functional Role strategy (CFR). I argue that CFR is open to a revenge problem. MTE-cases allegedly show that two linguistic communities can be in genuine disagreement even when they are regulated by distinct families of properties. CFR provides a way to reconcile the intuition that the two communities are in genuine disagreement with the claim that the use of moral terms by both communities is causally regulated by different families of properties. This is done by identifying a functional role that those families of properties both fulfil. Still, even if CFR is successful, its proponents need to face a serious revenge problem. Roughly, it could be that the families of properties that regulate each community are equally perfect realizers of the relevant higher-order functional state. I suggest that the proponent of CFR faces a dilemma: either CFR has controversial implications about first-order moral theory, or CFR needs to be coupled with substantive and parochial empirical/metaphysical assumptions to avoid those implications.
    Found 2 days, 2 hours ago on PhilPapers
  5. 181915.055533
    The latest leaps forward in AI with its large language models, deep fakes, and counterfeit people are rightly causing anxiety. Yet people are responding as though AI is just one more scary new technology, like electricity, cars, or nuclear power once were. We invented it, so the argument goes, so we should be able to regulate and manage it for our own benefit. Not so. I believe this situation is new and serious and our survival is at stake.
    Found 2 days, 2 hours ago on Susan Blackmore's site
  6. 217615.055548
    ‘Biodiversity’ is widely recognized as an extremely ambiguous concept in conservation science and ecology. It is defined in a number of different and incompatible ways in the scientific literature, and is also “exported” beyond the scientific community, where it may take on a host of other meanings for governments, policy-makers, non-governmental organizations, and the general public at large. One might respond to this ambiguity by either pushing for its clarification, and by extension the adoption of a single, univocal biodiversity concept, or by rejecting the term entirely, replacing it with a relevant, more precise concept in each context. In this paper, I argue for a third approach. Drawing on literature describing change in large organizations, I explore ways in which ambiguity might be seen as productive – as a manner, at the very least, in which we can enable action by a mixed coalition of actors with different and, at times, contradictory interests and value commitments. I explore how this literature – in particular, a taxonomy of rhetorical uses of ambiguous concepts – could enable us to put the ambiguity of biodiversity to work for us, offering us a way to intervene in conflicts about the concept by helping to develop both clearer descriptive analyses and normative “rules for engagement” in debates surrounding biodiversity.
    Found 2 days, 12 hours ago on PhilSci Archive
  7. 217635.055561
    Current cosmological observations place little constraints on the nature of dark matter, allowing the development of a large number of viable models and various methods for probing their properties. At first glance, this variety of models and methods provides ideal grounds for the employment of robustness arguments in dark matter research. The aim of this article is to examine the extent to which such arguments can be used to overcome various methodological and theoretical challenges. The main conclusion is that while robustness arguments have a limited scope in the context of dark matter research, they can still be used for increasing the scientists’ confidence about the properties of specific models.
    Found 2 days, 12 hours ago on PhilSci Archive
  8. 217744.055576
    In a recent article, Halvorson and Manchak [forthcoming] claim that there is no basis for the Hole Argument, because (in a certain sense) hole isometries are unique. This raises two important questions: (a) does their argument succeed?; (b) how does this mathematical-cum-formalist response to the Hole Argument relate to other recent responses to the Hole Argument in the same tradition—in particular, that of Weatherall [2018]? In this article, ad (a), we argue that Halvorson and Manchak’s claim does not go through; ad (b), we argue that although a charitable reading would see Halvorson and Manchak as filling an important hole (no pun intended) in Weatherall’s argument, in fact this reading is implausible; there is no need to supplement Weatherall’s work with Halvorson and Manchak’s results.
    Found 2 days, 12 hours ago on PhilSci Archive
  9. 260472.055594
    The non-relativistic Schrodinger equation on a domain Ω ⊂ Rn with boundary is often considered with homogeneous Dirichlet boundary conditions (ψ(x) = 0 for x on the boundary) or homogeneous Neumann boundary conditions (∂nψ(x) = 0 for x on the boundary and ∂n the normal derivative) or Robin boundary conditions (∂nψ(x) = αψ(x) for x on the boundary and α a real parameter). Physically, the Dirichlet condition applies if outside of Ω the potential is much higher than inside (“potential well”). We ask, when does the Neumann or Robin condition apply physically? Our answer is, when the potential is much lower (at the appropriate level) in a thin layer before a potential well, or when a negative delta potential of the appropriate strength is added close to the potential well.
    Found 3 days ago on R. Tumulka's site
  10. 321843.055606
    Depression is a widespread and debilitating disorder, with significant social and economic impacts (World Health Organization 2021). The COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated the situation, leading to a sharp increase in cases of depression worldwide (Santomauro et al. 2021). Despite the urgent need for effective treatments, developing new antidepressant drugs has proven to be difficult, with roughly 90% of compounds that work on animals failing to work on humans (Garner 2014). To put the point differently, a big problem for developing more effective treatments for depression is the difficulty of extrapolating from seemingly effective treatments used on animals to effective treatments for human beings. One obstacle to this sort of extrapolation is the fact that depression occurs much more frequently among women than men— by an almost 2:1 ratio—and animal research on depression has been done almost exclusively using male animals (Beery and Zucker 2011; Shansky 2019). In light of this, the seemingly easy solution would be to improve the male-female sex ratio in animal research. But such a remedial step does little when the problem itself—i.e., the problem of effective extrapolation—arises from 1 Although I focus on depression (major depressive disorder), much of my argument generalizes and applies to other mental health disorders.
    Found 3 days, 17 hours ago on PhilPapers
  11. 362866.055618
    Bayesian approaches to human cognition have been extensively advocated in the last decades, but sharp objections have been raised too within cognitive science. In this paper, we outline a diagnosis of what has gone wrong with the prevalent strand of Bayesian cognitive science (here labelled pure Bayesian cognitive science), relying on selected illustrations from the psychology of reasoning and tools from the philosophy of science. Bayesians’ reliance on so-called method of rational analysis is a key point of our discussion. We tentatively conclude on a constructive note, though: an appropriately modified variant of Bayesian cognitive science can still be coherently pursued, as some scholars have noted.
    Found 4 days, 4 hours ago on Vincenzo Crupi's site
  12. 410033.055633
    Some time, around the 1980s, philosophers of science turned their attention to scientific experiments in a way that contrasted with the reigning approaches to philosophy of science. My colleague, Wendy Parker, and I decided to embark on an experiment of our own, aimed at elucidating some central themes of this evolving movement, sometimes referred to as the ‘new experimentalism.’ It was to begin tomorrow, but due to unexpected weather conditions, I’ll be traveling back then, and find myself with an additional afternoon in New York City. …
    Found 4 days, 17 hours ago on D. G. Mayo's blog
  13. 437365.055646
    This paper defends global realism about the units of selection, the view that there is always (or nearly always) an objective fact of the matter concerning the level at which natural selection acts. The argument proceeds in two stages. First, it is argued that global conventionalist-pluralism is false. This is established by identifying plausible sufficient conditions for irreducible selection at a particular level, and showing that these conditions are sometimes satisfied in nature. Second, it is argued that local pluralism – the view that while realism is true of some selection regimes, pluralist conventionalism holds for others – should also be rejected. I show that the main arguments for local pluralism are consistent with global realism. I also suggest that local pluralism offers an unacceptably disunified view of the metaphysics of selection. It follows that we should accept global realism. But this leaves open the question of how to classify so called ‘multi-level selection type 1’ (MLS1) processes, such as Wilson’s classic trait-group model for the evolution of altruism: should they be interpreted as particle selection or collective selection? On the assumption of global realism, at most one of these is correct. I argue, against global realists such as Sober, that MLS1 processes should be understood as particle, not collective, selection, due to three features of MLS1: the reducibility of collective fitness, the absence of collective reproduction, and the dispensable role of collectives.
    Found 5 days, 1 hour ago on PhilPapers
  14. 490215.055658
    Eva Erman and Niklas Möller (2022) have recently presented a trenchant critique of my (2015) argument that ideal normative theories are uninformative for certain practical purposes. Their criticisms are largely correct. In this note, I develop the ideas behind my earlier argument in a way that circumvents their critique and explains more clearly why ideal theory is uninformative for certain purposes while leaving open the possibility that it might be informative for other purposes. Eva Erman and Niklas Möller (2022) have recently presented a trenchant critique of my (2015) argument that ideal normative theories are uninformative for certain practical purposes: namely, for specifying the normative principles we should realize (the “Target View”), and for specifying a set of principles that we should use to normatively rank feasible options (the “Benchmark View”). Their criticisms are largely correct: my model is at turns obscure and clumsy and my arguments contain several missteps. Even still, we can develop the ideas behind my original argument in a way that circumvents their critique. In this note, I do just that in an effort to more clearly explain why ideal theory is uninformative for certain purposes while leaving open the possibility that it might be informative for other purposes.
    Found 5 days, 16 hours ago on David Wiens's site
  15. 495102.055671
    Michael Tye is perhaps best known for his defense of tracking representationalism, a view that combines representationalism (the view that an experience's phenomenal character is determined by its representational content) with a tracking theory of representation (the view that mental representation is a matter of causal covariation, carrying information, or, more generally, tracking). In Vagueness and the Evolution of Consciousness, Tye takes an unexpected turn, endorsing a combination of tracking representationalism and panpsychism, understood here as the view that phenomenal consciousness is a primitive feature of the fundamental constituents of reality. While Tye takes both panpsychism and tracking representationalism to fail as theories of consciousness, he argues that their combination–– panpsychist representationalism––can avoid the problems of both.
    Found 5 days, 17 hours ago on PhilPapers
  16. 503605.055683
    Pautz’s Perception is a fantastic book, a wide-ranging exploration of the main philosophical theories of perception and perhaps the best single-volume introduction to the philosophy of perception in existence.
    Found 5 days, 19 hours ago on Brian Cutter's site
  17. 506068.055706
    It is the prevailing paradigm in contemporary physics to model the dynamical evolution of physical systems in terms of a real parameter conventionally denoted as ‘t’ (‘little tee’). We typically call such dynamical models ‘laws of nature’ and t we call ‘physical time’. It is common in the philosophy of time to regard t as time itself, and to take the global structure of general relativity as the ultimate guide to physical time, and so consequently the true nature of time. In this paper we defend the idea that physical time, t, is rather better defined as an operational modelling parameter: we measure relations between changing physical quantities using bespoke physical systems—i.e. clocks—that coordinate local coincidences. We argue that the sorts of physical systems that make good clocks—what we call precision clocks— are those that exhibit self-sustained oscillations known as limit cycles, which are ubiquitous in open, driven, stable, dissipative systems. We develop the physical and philosophical ramifications of this conception of physical time, particularly the notion that physical time does not track something ‘out there’ in the world. As a result, we speculate that physical time is perhaps not as different from manifest time as many philosophers of time (and apparently general relativity) seem to suggest.
    Found 5 days, 20 hours ago on PhilSci Archive
  18. 506102.055719
    I briefly summarize, through an informal interview, the main answers given to the ‘Past Hypothesis’, the postulation of a low-entropy initial state of the universe. I have chosen this as an open problem in contemporary philosophy, specifically in the foundations of physics. I hope this (too brief) overview helps the reader in gaining perspective and in appreciating the varied and fascinating landscape of arguments and proposals in this debate—a debate which is part of the quest to explain and interpret our scientific picture of the universe.
    Found 5 days, 20 hours ago on PhilSci Archive
  19. 563790.055732
    It is a received view that superluminal signaling is prohibited in collapse theories of quantum mechanics. In this paper, I argue that this may be not the case. I propose two possible mechanisms of superluminal signaling in collapse theories. The first one is based on the well-accepted solution to the tails problem, and the second one is based on certain assumptions about the minds of observers. Finally, I also discuss how collapse theories can avoid such superluminal signaling.
    Found 6 days, 12 hours ago on PhilSci Archive
  20. 698038.055744
    Recently Quanta magazine came out with an article explaining modular forms: • Jordana Cepelewicz, Behold modular forms, the ‘fifth fundamental operation’ of math, Quanta, 23 September 2023. It does a heroically good job. …
    Found 1 week, 1 day ago on Azimuth
  21. 769449.055757
    This work was performed under the supervision of Professor Matthew J. Simpson, Doctor Pascal R. Buenzli, and Professor Maria A. Woodruff. I declare that the work submitted in this thesis is my own, except as acknowledged in the text and footnotes, and has not been previously submitted for a degree at Queensland University of Technology or any other institution.
    Found 1 week, 1 day ago on Matthew Simpson's site
  22. 888344.05577
    Before proceeding, let us put one issue to one side. Huw Price argued that a concern with fairness should lead Everettians to reject the Born rule that dictates the standard probabilities for outcomes in chancy quantum situations. If all the possible selves who experience such outcomes are equally real, argues Price, you should not favour the interests of the high-probability ones over the low-probability ones, but should treat them all equally. It would be unconscionable, argued Price, for an Everettian to deliberately engender a real successor who dies miserably in a plane crash, just to allow another successor to enjoy a few days on a sunny beach [2].
    Found 1 week, 3 days ago on David Papineau's site
  23. 957149.055783
    Probability Threshold: Any legal standard of proof is reducible to some threshold value of probability, t, such that a defendant should be found liable when and because the probability that they are liable, given the evidence, is strictly greater than t.
    Found 1 week, 4 days ago on PhilPapers
  24. 967427.055794
    Some argue that the term “explanation” in science is ambiguous, referring to at least three distinct concepts: a communicative concept, a representational concept, and an ontic concept. Each is defined in a different way with its own sets of norms and goals, and each of which can apply in contexts where the others do not. In this paper, I argue that such a view is false. Instead, I propose that a scientific explanation is a complex entity that can always be analyzed along a communicative dimension, a representational dimension, and an ontic dimension. But all three are always present within scientific explanations. I highlight what such an account looks like, and the potential problems it faces (namely that a single explanation can appear to have incompatible sets of norms and goals that govern it). I propose a solution to this problem and demonstrate how this account can help to dissolve current disputes in philosophy of science regarding debates between epistemic and ontic accounts of mechanistic explanations in the life sciences. Keywords: Evaluative Dimension, Communicative Concept of Explanation, Representational Concept of Explanation, Ontic Concept of Explanation; Mechanistic Explanation.
    Found 1 week, 4 days ago on PhilSci Archive
  25. 967450.055809
    This study critically reevaluates the Harlow-Hayden (HH) solution to the black hole information paradox and its articulation in the firewall paradox. The exploration recognizes the HH solution as a revolutionary approach in black hole physics, steering away from traditional constraints to depict the event horizon as a computational rather than a physical barrier. The paper first maps the initial physical dilemma that instigated the HH journey, introducing Alice, an observer facing intricate computational challenges as she approaches the black hole. I then depict the evolution of the narrative, describing how Alice was facilitated with a quantum computer to surmount the computational challenges and further detailing the augmented complexities arising from the integration of the physical dynamics of the black hole. Yet, HH’s research applies the AdS/CFT correspondence to explore the dynamic unitary transformation in solving the firewall paradox through decoding Hawking radiation. However, it identifies a contradiction; the eternal perspective of black holes from the AdS/CFT theory challenges the firewall paradox’s foundation. Finally, I narrate a paradigm shift as HH reframes Alice’s task within the realms of error-correcting codes, illustrating a remarkable transition from a physical problem in black hole physics to a computational predicament in computer science. The study revisits pivotal moments in understanding black hole physics ten years later through this reexamination.
    Found 1 week, 4 days ago on PhilSci Archive
  26. 1082737.055822
    This article investigates the lack of usefulness of professional philosophy of science, i.e. to which extent it fails to reach its objective (definitional) goals. In the first section, I recall what philosophy, and philosophy of science in particular, are supposed to deliver: what are their goals. In a second section, rather than providing an overview of how these goals are met or not, I mainly focus on some problematic cases where they are not met, in other words cases where philosophy of science is not useful. More precisely, I show how the skills necessary to philosophy can hinder consensus, and how an unrealistic picture of science can lead to descriptive and normative irrelevance, both of these situations leading to uselessness. I then argue for the need, for philosophy, to reflect upon its own values, an issue which is illustrated by the two previous ones, as well as by the issue of the choice of research avenues. This again has an impact on usefulness, but potentially a positive one. The conclusion summarises my claims and suggests a further avenue of improvement for philosophy of science : the assessment of the consequences of its practice.
    Found 1 week, 5 days ago on PhilSci Archive
  27. 1082766.055837
    We argue that the driving thought behind Mach’s critique of Newton’s first law consists in the assertion that inertial motion is not motion in the absence of causes; rather, it is motion whose cause lies in some homogeneous aspect of the environment. We distinguish this formal requirement (Mach’s principle) from two hypotheses which Mach considers concerning the origin of inertia: that the distant stars play a (1) merely “collateral” or (2) “fundamental” role in the causal determination of inertial motion. This interpretation is made possible by close attention to some of Mach’s earliest writings. We propose that much of the controversy in secondary literature concerning the definition of Mach’s principle stems from Mach’s deliberate avoidance of explicitly referring to the concept of causation in subsequent writings.
    Found 1 week, 5 days ago on PhilSci Archive
  28. 1082815.055851
    Descartes’s doctrine of clarity and distinctness states that whatever is clearly and distinctly perceived is true. This paper looks at his early doctrine from Rules for the Direction of the Mind, and its application to the demarcation problem of curves in Descartes’s Geometry. This paper offers and defends a novel account of the demarcation criterion of curves: a curve is geometrical just in case it is clearly and distinctly perceivable. This account connects Descartes’s rationalist epistemological programme with his ontological views about mathematics.
    Found 1 week, 5 days ago on PhilSci Archive
  29. 1083824.055863
    Kant’s philosophy of science has received attention from several different audiences and for a variety of reasons. It is of interest to contemporary philosophers of science because of the way in which Kant attempts to articulate a philosophical framework that places substantive conditions on our scientific knowledge of the world while still respecting the autonomy and diverse claims of particular sciences. Of enduring interest is also his doctrine of laws, including those of scientific theories. Kant’s scientific writings are also of interest to historians of modern philosophy, historians of science, and historians of philosophy of science.
    Found 1 week, 5 days ago on Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy
  30. 1188063.055875
    I defend a novel account of scientific progress centred around justification. Science progresses, on this account, where there is a change in justification. I consider three options for explicating this notion of change in justification. This account of scientific progress dispels with a condition for scientific progress that requires accumulation of truth or truthlikeness, and it emphasises the social nature of scientific justification.
    Found 1 week, 6 days ago on PhilPapers