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Philosophy of Science

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Articles 31 - 42 of 42

Full-Text Articles in Philosophy

An Intervening Cause Counterexample To Railton’S Dnp Model Of Explanation, Stuart Gluck, Steven Gimbel Dec 1997

An Intervening Cause Counterexample To Railton’S Dnp Model Of Explanation, Stuart Gluck, Steven Gimbel

Philosophy Faculty Publications

Peter Railton (1978) has introduced the influential deductive-nomological-probabilistic (DNP) model of explanation which is the culmination of a tradition of formal, nonpragmatic accounts of scientific explanation. The other models in this tradition have been shown to be susceptiblet o a class of counterexamplesin volvingi nterveningc auses which speak against their sufficiency. This treatment has never been extended to the DNP model; we contend that the usual form of these counterexamples is ineffective in this case. However, we develop below a new version which overcomes these difficulties. Thus we claim that all of the models in this tradition, DNP included, have ...


Population Thinking And Tree Thinking In Systematics, Robert O’Hara Dec 1996

Population Thinking And Tree Thinking In Systematics, Robert O’Hara

Robert J. O’Hara

Two new modes of thinking have spread through systematics in the twentieth century. Both have deep historical roots, but they have been widely accepted only during this century. Population thinking overtook the field in the early part of the century, culminating in the full development of population systematics in the 1930s and 1940s, and the subsequent growth of the entire field of population biology. Population thinking rejects the idea that each species has a natural type (as the earlier essentialist view had assumed), and instead sees every species as a varying population of interbreeding individuals. Tree thinking has spread through ...


Evolution And Optimality: Feathers, Bowling Balls, And The Thesis Of Adaptationism, Elliott Sober Jan 1996

Evolution And Optimality: Feathers, Bowling Balls, And The Thesis Of Adaptationism, Elliott Sober

Philosophic Exchange

This paper discusses the thesis of adaptationism in evolutionary biology. It is argued that there is a serious scientific question here whose answer is not yet in hand. The truth or falsity of adaptationism is a substantive question about the history of life that must be decided on a trait by trait basis.


Trees Of History In Systematics And Philology, Robert O’Hara Dec 1995

Trees Of History In Systematics And Philology, Robert O’Hara

Robert J. O’Hara

«The Natural System» is the name given to the underlying arrangement present in the diversity of life. Unlike a classification, which is made up of classes and members, a system or arrangement is an integrated whole made up of connected parts. In the pre-evolutionary period a variety of forms were proposed for the Natural System, including maps, circles, stars, and abstract multidimensional objects. The trees sketched by Darwin in the 1830s should probably be considered the first genuine evolutionary diagrams of the Natural System—the first genuine evolutionary trees. Darwin refined his image of the Natural System in the well-known ...


Life-Functional Theories Of Life, Fred Feldman Jan 1992

Life-Functional Theories Of Life, Fred Feldman

Philosophic Exchange

Many philosophers and biologists have attempted to explain what “alive” means. According to one family of accounts, we can explain the meaning of “alive” in terms of life-functions. This paper discusses this family of views. It is argued that the life-functional analyses of life are unsuccessful.


Predictability And Explanation In The Social Sciences, Alasdair Macintyre Jan 1972

Predictability And Explanation In The Social Sciences, Alasdair Macintyre

Philosophic Exchange

Scientific explanation requires a certain type of predictability. The particulars that are studied by the social sciences do not possess that kind of predictability. Therefore the aspiration to construct scientific explanations in the social sciences is bound to fail.


A Response To Macintyre, Charles Taylor Jan 1972

A Response To Macintyre, Charles Taylor

Philosophic Exchange

I agree with a great deal of Professor Macintyre’s paper. However, his argument can be formulated without any appeal to unpredictability. The unpredictability of many human events is due to the role of self-interpretation in the constitution of those very same events.


Do Social Events Defy Scientific Prediction?, Paula G. Morrison Jan 1972

Do Social Events Defy Scientific Prediction?, Paula G. Morrison

Philosophic Exchange

If Professor Macintyre is correct, then there is not, and cannot be, any such thing as a scientific explanation or prediction of anything social, and hence there can never be any social science. This paper responds to Professor Macintyre’s argument, and rejects his position.


Scientific Objectivity And Framework Transpositions, Patrick A. Heelan Jan 1970

Scientific Objectivity And Framework Transpositions, Patrick A. Heelan

Research Resources

Truth-invariance relative to synchronous communities of knowers in all countries of the world seems to be one of the striking facts about science that distinguishes it from common sense or even from philosophy. Science is international, cosmopolitan and has, it is claimed, but one language. So pervasive is this belief about the one language of science that it might seem to be almost part of what we mean by the scientific enterprise, and it was indeed a part of the classical philosophy of Newton, Descartes and Kant which supported the scientific enterprise in the first three hundred years of its ...


A Scientist’S Comments On ‘The Scientific Enterprise And Social Conscience', Robert Morison Jan 1970

A Scientist’S Comments On ‘The Scientific Enterprise And Social Conscience', Robert Morison

Philosophic Exchange

Professor Edel correctly emphasizes the ecological mode of thought. As we penetrate deeper into that ecological mode of thought, we will discover that almost every decision that we make in science will have consequences for many people. Thus, science has an obligation to consider and show, as clearly as possible, what the consequences of these decisions will be.


A Note On Professor Edel’S Paper, Max Black Jan 1970

A Note On Professor Edel’S Paper, Max Black

Philosophic Exchange

Professor Edel’s conclusions are excessively mild. We are often frighteningly ignorant of the consequences of scientific and technological innovations. This ignorance requires a much greater degree of caution in science than Professor Edel has admitted.


The Scientific Enterprise And Social Conscience, Abraham Edel Jan 1970

The Scientific Enterprise And Social Conscience, Abraham Edel

Philosophic Exchange

The scientific enterprise is constantly changing, and the moral conscience of society changes as well. The moral obligations of scientists to society change with both of these changes. Four such changes are especially relevant here. Over time, society has come to accept the idea of intervening to change the course of nature. Both science and society have begun to believe that there are no principled barriers to progress in science. Within society, there has emerged an “ecological mode of thought.” Finally, the relationship between theory and practice has changed. All four of these changes profoundly affect the ethics of science ...