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Full-Text Articles in Philosophy

Rethinking Individuality In Quantum Mechanics, Nathan Moore Jul 2019

Rethinking Individuality In Quantum Mechanics, Nathan Moore

Electronic Thesis and Dissertation Repository

One recent debate in philosophy of physics has centered whether quantum particles are individuals or not. The received view is that particles are not individuals and the standard methodology is to approach the question via the structure of quantum theory. I challenge both the received view and the standard methodology. I contend not only that the structure of quantum theory is not the right place to look for conditions of individuality that quantum particles may or may not satisfy, but also that there is an important role for traditional metaphysics to play. Consequently, my work brings together the philosophy of ...


On Separating The Wheat From The Chaff: Surplus Structure And Artifacts In Scientific Theories, Marie Gueguen Jul 2019

On Separating The Wheat From The Chaff: Surplus Structure And Artifacts In Scientific Theories, Marie Gueguen

Electronic Thesis and Dissertation Repository

Although logical empiricism is now mostly decried, their naturalist claim that the content of a theory can be read off from its structure, without any philosophical considerations needed, still supports traditional strategies to escape cases of underdetermination. The appeal to theoretical equivalence or to theoretical virtues, for instance, both assume that there is a neutral standpoint from which the structure of the theories can be analyzed, the physically relevant from the superfluous separated, and a comparison made between their theoretical content and virtues. In my dissertation, I examine the presuppositions upon which such strategies depend. I argue that the methodological ...


Computing, Modelling, And Scientific Practice: Foundational Analyses And Limitations, Filippos A. Papagiannopoulos Aug 2018

Computing, Modelling, And Scientific Practice: Foundational Analyses And Limitations, Filippos A. Papagiannopoulos

Electronic Thesis and Dissertation Repository

This dissertation examines aspects of the interplay between computing and scientific practice. The appropriate foundational framework for such an endeavour is rather real computability than the classical computability theory. This is so because physical sciences, engineering, and applied mathematics mostly employ functions defined in continuous domains. But, contrary to the case of computation over natural numbers, there is no universally accepted framework for real computation; rather, there are two incompatible approaches --computable analysis and BSS model--, both claiming to formalise algorithmic computation and to offer foundations for scientific computing.

The dissertation consists of three parts. In the first part, we ...


A Practical And Practice-Sensitive Account Of Science As Problem-Solving, Frédéric-Ismaël Banville Aug 2018

A Practical And Practice-Sensitive Account Of Science As Problem-Solving, Frédéric-Ismaël Banville

Electronic Thesis and Dissertation Repository

Philosophers of science have recently begun to pay more attention to scientific practice, moving away from the discipline’s focus on theories. The creation of the Society for Philosophy of Science in Practice in 2006, as well as the emergence of scholarship on experimental practice (e.g. Sullivan 2009; 2010; 2016) as well as on the tools scientists use to construct explanations and theories (e.g. Feest 2011) all point to a disciplinary shift towards a more practice-conscious philosophy of science. In addition, scholars are realizing the potential social relevance of philosophy of science and identifying the obstacles that stand ...


A Pluralism Worth Having: Feyerabend's Well-Ordered Science, Jamie Shaw Jul 2018

A Pluralism Worth Having: Feyerabend's Well-Ordered Science, Jamie Shaw

Electronic Thesis and Dissertation Repository

The goal of this dissertation is to reconstruct, critically evaluate, and apply the pluralism of Paul Feyerabend. I conclude by suggesting future points of contact between Feyerabend’s pluralism and topics of interest in contemporary philosophy of science. I begin, in Chapter 1, by reconstructing Feyerabend’s critical philosophy. I show how his published works from 1948 until 1970 show a remarkably consistent argumentative strategy which becomes more refined and general as Feyerabend’s thought matures. Specifically, I argue that Feyerabend develops a persuasive case against rationalism, or the thesis that there exist normative and exclusive rules of scientific rationality ...


Evidence In Neuroimaging: Towards A Philosophy Of Data Analysis, Jessey Wright Jul 2017

Evidence In Neuroimaging: Towards A Philosophy Of Data Analysis, Jessey Wright

Electronic Thesis and Dissertation Repository

Neuroimaging technology is the most widely used tool to study human cognition. While originally a promising tool for mapping the content of cognitive theories onto the structures of the brain, recently developed tools for the analysis, handling and sharing of data have changed the theoretical landscape of cognitive neuroscience. Even with these advancements philosophical analyses of evidence in neuroimaging remain skeptical of the promise of neuroimaging technology. These views often treat the analysis techniques used to make sense of data produced in a neuroimaging experiment as one, attributing the inferential limitations of analysis pipelines to the technology as a whole ...


Species Pluralism: Conceptual, Ontological, And Practical Dimensions, Justin Bzovy Nov 2016

Species Pluralism: Conceptual, Ontological, And Practical Dimensions, Justin Bzovy

Electronic Thesis and Dissertation Repository

Species are central to biology, but there is currently no agreement on what the adequate species concept should be, and many have adopted a pluralist stance: different species concepts will be required for different purposes. This thesis is a multidimensional analysis of species pluralism. First I explicate how pluralism differs monism and relativism. I then consider the history of species pluralism. I argue that we must re-frame the species problem, and that re-evaluating Aristotle's role in the histories of systematics can shed light on pluralism. Next I consider different forms of pluralism: evolutionary and extra-evolutionary species pluralism, which differ ...


Similarity, Adequacy, And Purpose: Understanding The Success Of Scientific Models, Melissa Jacquart Aug 2016

Similarity, Adequacy, And Purpose: Understanding The Success Of Scientific Models, Melissa Jacquart

Electronic Thesis and Dissertation Repository

A central component to scientific practice is the construction and use of scientific models. Scientists believe that the success of a model justifies making claims that go beyond the model itself. However, philosophical analysis of models suggests that drawing inferences about the world from successful models is more complex. In this dissertation I develop a framework that can help disentangle the related strands of evaluation of model success, model extendibility, and the ability to draw ampliative inferences about the world from models.

I present and critically assess two leading accounts of model assessment, arguing that neither is sufficient to provide ...


The Entelechial Thinker In Space: ‘Worlds Within Worlds’ In Durrell, Flaubert, And Carroll, Sheena M. Jary Aug 2016

The Entelechial Thinker In Space: ‘Worlds Within Worlds’ In Durrell, Flaubert, And Carroll, Sheena M. Jary

Electronic Thesis and Dissertation Repository

This thesis argues that the interior space of each individual mind has infinite potentiality to do or create x new reality in one’s life via possible worlds. I use Lawrence Durrell’s short story “Zero” (1939), Gustave Flaubert’s “Un coeur simple” (1877), and Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland (1865) as literary representations of how readers outside of the literary text share an unbreakable bond with universal space. I discuss the infinite potentiality of the finite being, and the experiential data in the process of entelechy, or epistemological maturation of the mind. I bring Leibniz’s ...


Assessing Decision-Making Capacity After Severe Brain Injury, Andrew Peterson Jul 2016

Assessing Decision-Making Capacity After Severe Brain Injury, Andrew Peterson

Electronic Thesis and Dissertation Repository

Severe brain injury is a leading cause of death and disability. Following severe brain injury diagnosis is difficult and errors frequently occur. Recent findings in clinical neuroscience may offer a solution. Neuroimaging has been used to detect preserved cognitive function and awareness in some patients clinically diagnosed as being in a vegetative state. Remarkably, neuroimaging has also been used to communicate with some vegetative patients through a series of yes/no questions. Some have speculated that, one day, this method may allow severely brain-injured patients to make medical decisions. Yet, skepticism is rife, due in part to the inherent difficulty ...


The Constellations Of Empiricism, New Science, And Mind In Hobbes, Locke, And Hume, Lisa Pelot Apr 2016

The Constellations Of Empiricism, New Science, And Mind In Hobbes, Locke, And Hume, Lisa Pelot

Electronic Thesis and Dissertation Repository

In this thesis, positive and negative tensions among the “unit-ideas” of New Science and empiricism are explored as they relate to explanations of aspects of mind in the Modern period. Some constellations of ideas are mutually supporting, and provide fruitful discussion on how mind can fit into the natural world. This project aims to clarify the adequacy of this type of framework in accommodating and explaining mind, and aspects of mind. I proceed by analyzing key texts via the “unit-ideas” of New Science and empiricism. The three central chapters are case studies, looking at Hobbes, Locke, and Hume. Each chapter ...


Evaluating The Quantum Postulate In The Context Of Pursuit, Molly M. Kao Apr 2016

Evaluating The Quantum Postulate In The Context Of Pursuit, Molly M. Kao

Electronic Thesis and Dissertation Repository

The purpose of this dissertation is to contribute to our understanding of scientific theory pursuit by providing a detailed case study on the development of early quantum theory, from roughly 1900 to 1916.

I first elaborate on why this case should be considered an instance of piecemeal pursuit by presenting the historical quantum conjectures that were being used in different contexts. These conjectures gave varied interpretations of quantization. By comparing these conjectures, I identify a general quantum postulate that captures the underlying assumption common to all the cases. I argue that it is possible to consider a general postulate about ...


On The Role Of Mathematics In Scientific Representation, Saad Anis Feb 2016

On The Role Of Mathematics In Scientific Representation, Saad Anis

Electronic Thesis and Dissertation Repository

In this dissertation, I consider from a philosophical perspective three related questions concerning the contribution of mathematics to scientific representation. In answering these questions, I propose and defend Carnapian frameworks for examination into the nature and role of mathematics in science.

The first research question concerns the varied ways in which mathematics contributes to scientific representation. In response, I consider in Chapter 2 two recent philosophical proposals claiming to account for the explanatory role of mathematics in science, by Philip Kitcher, and Otavio Bueno and Mark Colyvan. My novel and detailed critique of these accounts shows that they are too ...


Probabilistic Reasoning In Cosmology, Yann Benétreau-Dupin Sep 2015

Probabilistic Reasoning In Cosmology, Yann Benétreau-Dupin

Electronic Thesis and Dissertation Repository

Cosmology raises novel philosophical questions regarding the use of probabilities in inference. This work aims at identifying and assessing lines of arguments and problematic principles in probabilistic reasoning in cosmology.

The first, second, and third papers deal with the intersection of two distinct problems: accounting for selection effects, and representing ignorance or indifference in probabilistic inferences. These two problems meet in the cosmology literature when anthropic considerations are used to predict cosmological parameters by conditionalizing the distribution of, e.g., the cosmological constant on the number of observers it allows for. However, uniform probability distributions usually appealed to in such ...


On Nonequilibrium Statistical Mechanics, Joshua M. Luczak Aug 2015

On Nonequilibrium Statistical Mechanics, Joshua M. Luczak

Electronic Thesis and Dissertation Repository

This thesis makes the issue of reconciling the existence of thermodynamically irreversible processes with underlying reversible dynamics clear, so as to help explain what philosophers mean when they say that an aim of nonequilibrium statistical mechanics is to underpin aspects of thermodynamics.

Many of the leading attempts to reconcile the existence of thermodynamically irreversible processes with underlying reversible dynamics proceed by way of discussions that attempt to underpin the following qualitative facts: (i) that isolated macroscopic systems that begin away from equilibrium spontaneously approach equilibrium, and (ii) that they remain in equilibrium for incredibly long periods of time. These attempts ...


Philipp Frank: Philosophy Of Science, Pragmatism, And Social Engagement, Amy N. Wuest Aug 2015

Philipp Frank: Philosophy Of Science, Pragmatism, And Social Engagement, Amy N. Wuest

Electronic Thesis and Dissertation Repository

Philipp Frank––physicist, philosopher, and early member of the Vienna Circle––is often neglected in retrospective accounts of twentieth century philosophy of science, despite renewed interest in the work of the Vienna Circle. In this thesis, I argue that this neglect is unwarranted. Appealing to a variety of philosophical and historical sources, I trace the development of Frank’s philosophical thought and, in so doing highlight the roles played by history, sociology, values, and pragmatism in his philosophy of science. Turning to contemporary literature, I then argue that Frank’s work should be understood as an early instance of what ...


Some Disputed Aspects Of Inertia, With Particular Reference To The Equivalence Principle, Ryan S. Samaroo Aug 2013

Some Disputed Aspects Of Inertia, With Particular Reference To The Equivalence Principle, Ryan S. Samaroo

Electronic Thesis and Dissertation Repository

This thesis is a contribution to the foundations of space-time theories. It examines the proper understanding of the Newtonian and 1905 inertial frame concepts and the critical analysis of these concepts that was motivated by the equivalence principle. This is the hypothesis that it is impossible to distinguish locally between a homogeneous gravitational field and a uniformly accelerated frame.

The three essays that comprise this thesis address, in one way or another, the criteria through which the inertial frame concepts are articulated. They address the place of these concepts in the conceptual framework of physics and their significance for our ...


Structures In Real Theory Application: A Study In Feasible Epistemology, Robert H. C. Moir Aug 2013

Structures In Real Theory Application: A Study In Feasible Epistemology, Robert H. C. Moir

Electronic Thesis and Dissertation Repository

This thesis considers the following problem: What methods should the epistemology of science use to gain insight into the structure and behaviour of scientific knowledge and method in actual scientific practice? After arguing that the elucidation of epistemological and methodological phenomena in science requires a method that is rooted in formal methods, I consider two alternative methods for epistemology of science. One approach is the classical approaches of the syntactic and semantic views of theories. I show that typical approaches of this sort are inadequate and inaccurate in their representation of scientific knowledge by showing how they fail to account ...


Basic Cable: Notes Toward Digital Ontology, Robbie Cormier Aug 2013

Basic Cable: Notes Toward Digital Ontology, Robbie Cormier

Electronic Thesis and Dissertation Repository

This thesis begins the work of constructing a fundamental ontology that employs the network automaton—a class of abstract computer program—as its model. Following a brief historical overview of the theory of network automata and its culmination in the work of Steven Wolfram, I examine how it bears on the ancient question concerning whether the continuous or the discrete has ontological primacy, consider the ontological status of materiality in consultation with Deleuzean ontology, and introduce the concept of prescience as a means of topologically mapping emergent patterns within the causal relations that compose the network. Finally, I will break ...


On The Physical Explanation For Quantum Computational Speedup, Michael Cuffaro Mar 2013

On The Physical Explanation For Quantum Computational Speedup, Michael Cuffaro

Electronic Thesis and Dissertation Repository

The aim of this dissertation is to clarify the debate over the explanation of quantum speedup and to submit, for the reader’s consideration, a tentative resolution to it. In particular, I argue that the physical explanation for quantum speedup is precisely the fact that the phenomenon of quantum entanglement enables a quantum computer to fully exploit the representational capacity of Hilbert space. This is impossible for classical systems, joint states of which must always be representable as product states. I begin the dissertation by considering, in Chapter 2, the most popular of the candidate physical explanations for quantum speedup ...


The Reasonable Effectiveness Of Mathematics In The Natural Sciences, Nicolas Fillion Dec 2012

The Reasonable Effectiveness Of Mathematics In The Natural Sciences, Nicolas Fillion

Electronic Thesis and Dissertation Repository

One of the most unsettling problems in the history of philosophy examines how mathematics can be used to adequately represent the world. An influential thesis, stated by Eugene Wigner in his paper entitled "The Unreasonable Effectiveness of Mathematics in the Natural Sciences," claims that "the miracle of the appropriateness of the language of mathematics for the formulation of the laws of physics is a wonderful gift which we neither understand nor deserve." Contrary to this view, this thesis delineates and implements a strategy to show that the applicability of mathematics is very reasonable indeed.

I distinguish three forms of the ...


From Mirror To Mirage: The Idea Of Logical Space In Kant, Wittgenstein, And Van Fraassen, Lucien R. Lamoureux Aug 2012

From Mirror To Mirage: The Idea Of Logical Space In Kant, Wittgenstein, And Van Fraassen, Lucien R. Lamoureux

Electronic Thesis and Dissertation Repository

This dissertation investigates the origin, intellectual development and use of a semantic variant of the idea of logical space found implicitly in Kant and explicitly in early Wittgenstein and van Fraassen. It elucidates the idea of logical space as the idea of images or pictures representative of reality organized into a logico-mathematical structure circumscribing a form of all possible worlds. Its main claim is that application of these images or pictures to reality is through a certain conception of self.

The first chapter presents a novel interpretation of Kant’s semantic theory of schemata in the Critique of Pure Reason ...


Explanation In Science, James A. Overton May 2012

Explanation In Science, James A. Overton

Electronic Thesis and Dissertation Repository

Scientific explanation is an important goal of scientific practise. Philosophers have proposed a striking diversity of seemingly incompatible accounts of explanation, from deductive-nomological to statistical relevance, unification, pragmatic, causal-mechanical, mechanistic, causal intervention, asymptotic, and model-based accounts. In this dissertation I apply two novel methods to reexamine our evidence about scientific explanation in practise and thereby address the fragmentation of philosophical accounts.

I start by collecting a data set of 781 articles from one year of the journal Science. Using automated text mining techniques I measure the frequency and distribution of several groups of philosophically interesting words, such as "explain", "cause ...


Emergence And Reduction In Science. A Case Study, Alexandru Manafu Dec 2011

Emergence And Reduction In Science. A Case Study, Alexandru Manafu

Electronic Thesis and Dissertation Repository

The past decade or so has witnessed an increase in the number of philosophical discussions about emergence and reduction in science. However, many of these discussions (though not all) remain too abstract and theoretical, and are wanting with respect to concrete examples taken from the sciences. This dissertation studies the topics of reduction and emergence in the context of a case study. I focus on the case of chemistry and investigate how emergentism can help us secure the autonomy of this discipline in relation to the underlying microphysics. I develop an account of emergence (called functional emergence) that is, I ...


Meta-Heuristic Strategies In Scientific Judgment, Spencer P. Hey Oct 2011

Meta-Heuristic Strategies In Scientific Judgment, Spencer P. Hey

Electronic Thesis and Dissertation Repository

In the first half of this dissertation, I develop a heuristic methodology for analyzing scientific solutions to the problem of underdetermination. Heuristics are rough-and-ready procedures used by scientists to construct models, design experiments, interpret evidence, etc. But as powerful as they are, heuristics are also error-prone. Therefore, I argue that they key to prudently using a heuristic is the articulation of meta-heuristics---guidelines to the kinds of problems for which a heuristic is well- or ill-suited.

Given that heuristics will introduce certain errors into our scientific investigations, I emphasize the importance of a particular category of meta-heuristics involving the search for ...