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2016

Philosophy of Science

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Articles 31 - 60 of 62

Full-Text Articles in Philosophy

Design Thinking To Meet Real World Needs, Danielle L. Lake Mar 2016

Design Thinking To Meet Real World Needs, Danielle L. Lake

Danielle L Lake

How can we better prepare and motivate students to tackle large-scale systemic challenges? What pedagogical methods and tools can be employed? This Open Mini will highlight a series of concrete strategies for supporting transdisciplinary innovation on real-world problems.
Hybrid strategies derived from Design Thinking, Strategic Doing, and feminist pragmatism as well as best practices from motivational learning and community-engagement research will be highlighted and tools tested. In addition, lessons learned from classroom implementation will be shared.


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 ...


Tests For Intrinsicness Tested, Kelvin J. Mcqueen, René Van Woudenberg Feb 2016

Tests For Intrinsicness Tested, Kelvin J. Mcqueen, René Van Woudenberg

Philosophy Faculty Articles and Research

Various tests have been proposed as helps to identify intrinsic properties. This paper compares three prominent tests (we call them Perfect Duplication, Real Change, and Lonely) and shows that they fail to pass adequate verdicts on a set of three properties. The paper examines whether improved versions of the tests can reduce or remove these negative outcomes. We reach the sceptical conclusion that whereas some of the tests must be discarded as inadequate because they don’t yield definite results, the remaining tests depend for their application on the details of fundamental particle physics so much so that they cannot ...


Under The Veil, William Simkulet Feb 2016

Under The Veil, William Simkulet

William Simkulet

No abstract provided.


Moral And Professional Accountability For Clinical Ethics Consultants, William Simkulet Feb 2016

Moral And Professional Accountability For Clinical Ethics Consultants, William Simkulet

William Simkulet

No abstract provided.


Explanatory Proofs And Beautiful Proofs, Marc Lange Jan 2016

Explanatory Proofs And Beautiful Proofs, Marc Lange

Journal of Humanistic Mathematics

This paper concerns the relation between a proof’s beauty and its explanatory power – that is, its capacity to go beyond proving a given theorem to explaining why that theorem holds. Explanatory power and beauty are among the many virtues that mathematicians value and seek in various proofs, and it is important to come to a better understanding of the relations among these virtues. Mathematical practice has long recognized that certain proofs but not others have explanatory power, and this paper offers an account of what makes a proof explanatory. This account is motivated by a wide range of examples ...


Christian Faith And The Scientific Explanation Of Religion, Donald H. Wacome Jan 2016

Christian Faith And The Scientific Explanation Of Religion, Donald H. Wacome

Northwestern Review

The cognitive theory of religion seems to threaten to debunk religion, including Christianity, as irrational. The cognitive theory explains human religiosity as an accident, a mere byproduct, of the interaction of mental mechanisms evolved for other purposes. The threat to religion can be neutralized by finding good reasons for religious beliefs which can be identified independent of the operation of the cognitive mechanisms the theory posits. Christian faith should be understood not as sub-rational belief, but as trust in the God who resurrected Jesus Christ. Our natural religiosity, like our natural morality, has no necessary connection to God, but God ...


Ecological Laws And Their Promise Of Explanations, Viorel Pâslaru Jan 2016

Ecological Laws And Their Promise Of Explanations, Viorel Pâslaru

Viorel Pâslaru

Marcel Weber (1999) argued that the principle of competitive exclusion is a law of ecology that could explain phenomena (1) by direct application, or (2) by describing default states. Since he did not offer an account of explanation by direct application of laws, I offer an interpretation of explanation by direct application of laws based on a proposal by Elgin and Sober (2002). I show that in both cases it is the descriptions of mechanisms that explain phenomena, and not the laws. Lev Ginzburg and Mark Colyvan (2004) argued Malthus’ Law of Exponential Growth is the first law of ecology ...


Capacities, Universality And Singularity, Stuart M. Glennan Jan 2016

Capacities, Universality And Singularity, Stuart M. Glennan

Stuart Glennan

In this paper I criticize Cartwright's analysis of capacities and offer an alternative analysis. I argue that Cartwright's attempt to connect capacities to her condition CC fails because individuals can exercise capacities only in certain contexts. My own analysis emphasizes three features of capacities: 1) Capacities belong to individuals; 2) Capacities are typically not metaphysically fundamental properties of individuals, but can be explained by referring to structural properties of individuals; and 3) Laws are best understood as ascriptions of capacities.


Contextual Unanimity And The Units Of Selection Problem, Stuart M. Glennan Jan 2016

Contextual Unanimity And The Units Of Selection Problem, Stuart M. Glennan

Stuart Glennan

Sober and Lewontin’s critique of genic selectionism is based upon the principle that a unit of selection should make a context‐independent contribution to fitness. Critics have effectively shown that this principle is flawed. In this paper I show that the context independence principle is an instance of a more general principle for characterizing causes,called the contextual unanimity principle. I argue that this latter principle, while widely accepted, is erroneous. What is needed is to replace the approach to causality characterized by the contextual unanimity criterion with an approach based on the concept of causal mechanism. After sketching ...


"The Indeterminacy Of Race: The Dilemma Of Difference In Medicine And Health Care", Jamie P. Ross Jan 2016

"The Indeterminacy Of Race: The Dilemma Of Difference In Medicine And Health Care", Jamie P. Ross

Jamie P Ross

The indeterminacy of race:The dilemma of difference in medicine and health careHow can researchers use race, as they do now, to conduct health-care studies when its very definition is in question? The belief that race is a social construct without “biological authenticity” though widely shared across disciplines in social science is not subscribed to by traditional science. Yet with an interdisciplinary approach, the two horns of the social construct/genetics dilemma of race are not mutually exclusive. We can use traditional science to provide a rigorous framework and use a social-science approach so that “invisible” factors are used to ...


Evotext: A New Tool For Analyzing The Biological Sciences, Grant Ramsey, Charles H. Pence Jan 2016

Evotext: A New Tool For Analyzing The Biological Sciences, Grant Ramsey, Charles H. Pence

Faculty Publications

We introduce here evoText, a new tool for automated analysis of the literature in the biological sciences. evoText contains a database of hundreds of thousands of journal articles and an array of analysis tools for generating quantitative data on the nature and history of life science, especially ecology and evolutionary biology. This article describes the features of evoText, presents a variety of examples of the kinds of analyses that evoText can run, and offers a brief tutorial describing how to use it.


Is Genetic Drift A Force?, Charles H. Pence Jan 2016

Is Genetic Drift A Force?, Charles H. Pence

Faculty Publications

One hotly debated philosophical question in the analysis of evolutionary theory concerns whether or not evolution and the various factors which constitute it (selection, drift, mutation, and so on) may profitably be considered as analogous to “forces” in the traditional, Newtonian sense. Several compelling arguments assert that the force picture is incoherent, due to the peculiar nature of genetic drift. I consider two of those arguments here—that drift lacks a predictable direction, and that drift is constitutive of evolutionary systems—and show that they both fail to demonstrate that a view of genetic drift as a force is untenable ...


The Physicist - Philosophers: The Legacy Of James Clerk Maxwell And Herrmann Von Helmholtz, Peter Skiff Jan 2016

The Physicist - Philosophers: The Legacy Of James Clerk Maxwell And Herrmann Von Helmholtz, Peter Skiff

Faculty Books & Manuscripts

One of the most effective, and most mysterious, tools of modern theoretical physics is a mathematical method including what is here called “field theory.” The success of this procedure in unraveling the “zoology” of fundamental particles and their behavior is a marvel. The philosophical context of this marvel is the source of endless academic controversy. The core of the method is a blend of mathematics and description created by “physicist-philosophers,” from Maxwell and Helmholtz to Einstein and Schrödinger. This book tries to unravel the mystery, or at least chronicle it.


The Confluence Of Philosophy And Biology: An Excavation Of Philosophical Issues In Molecular And Developmental Biology, Patrick Johnson Mendie, Emmanuel Bassey Eyo (Ph.D) Jan 2016

The Confluence Of Philosophy And Biology: An Excavation Of Philosophical Issues In Molecular And Developmental Biology, Patrick Johnson Mendie, Emmanuel Bassey Eyo (Ph.D)

Online Journal of Health Ethics

Philosophical evaluations have played an influential role in the growth and development of molecular and developmental biology to ensure that every individual is born healthy, born wanted and has the privilege to fulfil his or her potentials for a life free from disease and disability. This is why it becomes necessary for biologists to carefully understand human genes, evolution, cells and general human anatomy to fulfil this project. During this process, they are faced with challenges where they also lack the foundation on how to solve them. This challenge gave birth to a philosophical excavation of molecular and developmental biology ...


Book Review: Philosophy Of Science: Key Concepts, David B. Levy Jan 2016

Book Review: Philosophy Of Science: Key Concepts, David B. Levy

Touro College Libraries Publications and Research

The author reviews the book Philosophy of Science: Key Concepts.


In Theory, There's Hope: Queer Co-(M)Motions Of Science And Subjectivity, Cordelia Sand Jan 2016

In Theory, There's Hope: Queer Co-(M)Motions Of Science And Subjectivity, Cordelia Sand

Masters Theses

Given the state of the planet at present —specifically, the linked global ecological and economic crises that conjure dark imaginings and nihilistic actualities of increasing resource depletion, poisonings, and wide-scale sufferings and extinctions—I ask What might we hope now? What points of intervention offer possibility for transformation? At best, the response can only be partial. The approach this thesis takes initiates from specific pre-discursive assumptions. The first understands current conditions as having been produced, and continuing to be so, through practices that enact and sustain neoliberal relations. Secondly, these practices are expressive of a subjectivity tied to a Cartesian ...


Evidence And Formal Models In The Linguistic Sciences, Carlos Gray Santana Jan 2016

Evidence And Formal Models In The Linguistic Sciences, Carlos Gray Santana

Publicly Accessible Penn Dissertations

This dissertation contains a collection of essays centered on the relationship between theoretical model-building and empirical evidence-gathering in linguistics and related language sciences. The first chapter sets the stage by demonstrating that the subject matter of linguistics is manifold, and contending that discussion of relationships between linguistic models, evidence, and language itself depends on the subject matter at hand. The second chapter defends a restrictive account of scientific evidence. I make use of this account in the third chapter, in which I argue that if my account of scientific evidence is correct, then linguistic intuitions do not generally qualify as ...


No Evidence That Pain Is Painful Neural Process, Riccardo Manzotti Jan 2016

No Evidence That Pain Is Painful Neural Process, Riccardo Manzotti

Animal Sentience

Key (2016) claims that fish do not feel pain because they lack the neural structures that have a contingent causal role in generating and feeling pain in mammals. I counterargue that no conclusive evidence supports the sufficiency of any mammalian neural structure to produce pain. We cannot move from contingent necessity in mammals to necessity in every organism.


Fish Sentience And The Precautionary Principle, Robert C. Jones Jan 2016

Fish Sentience And The Precautionary Principle, Robert C. Jones

Animal Sentience

Key (2016) argues that fish do not feel pain based on neuroanatomical evidence. I argue that Key makes a number of conceptual, philosophical, and empirical errors that undermine his claim.


Ecological Laws And Their Promise Of Explanations, Viorel Pâslaru Jan 2016

Ecological Laws And Their Promise Of Explanations, Viorel Pâslaru

Philosophy Faculty Publications

Marcel Weber (1999) argued that the principle of competitive exclusion is a law of ecology that could explain phenomena (1) by direct application, or (2) by describing default states. Since he did not offer an account of explanation by direct application of laws, I offer an interpretation of explanation by direct application of laws based on a proposal by Elgin and Sober (2002). I show that in both cases it is the descriptions of mechanisms that explain phenomena, and not the laws. Lev Ginzburg and Mark Colyvan (2004) argued Malthus’ Law of Exponential Growth is the first law of ecology ...


Ethical Considerations Facing The Regulation Of Self-Driving Cars In The United States, Richard Mancuso Jan 2016

Ethical Considerations Facing The Regulation Of Self-Driving Cars In The United States, Richard Mancuso

CMC Senior Theses

Self-driving cars are here. Once an advanced technology that seemed futuristic, they are now closer than most believe. Many of the largest automobile manufacturers are working on autonomous vehicle technology of their own. Perhaps most well-known, though, are the cars being developed by Tesla and Google. Both companies have well-developed prototypes of fully autonomous vehicles, meaning they require no human input or supervision, and Tesla has promised widespread, consumer availability of this technology in the next one to two years.

Along with the availability of this technology to the public and transportation companies like Uber and Lyft, comes a need ...


What Would The Babel Fish Say?, Monica Gagliano Jan 2016

What Would The Babel Fish Say?, Monica Gagliano

Animal Sentience

Starting with its title, Key’s (2016) target article advocates the view that fish do not feel pain. The author describes the neuroanatomical, physiological and behavioural conditions involved in the experience of pain in humans and rodents and confidently applies analogical arguments as though they were established facts in support of the negative conclusion about the inability of fish to feel pain. The logical reasoning, unfortunately, becomes somewhat incoherent, with the arbitrary application of the designated human criteria for an analogical argument to one animal species (e.g., rodents) but not another (fish). Research findings are reported selectively, and questionable ...


Becoming What We Are: Virtue And Practical Wisdom As Natural Ends, Keith Buhler Jan 2016

Becoming What We Are: Virtue And Practical Wisdom As Natural Ends, Keith Buhler

Theses and Dissertations--Philosophy

This dissertation is about ethical naturalism. Philippa Foot and John McDowell both defend contemporary neo-Aristotelian ethics but each represents a rival expression of the same. They are united in the affirmation that virtue is ‘natural goodness’ for human beings. Nevertheless, they are divided in their rival conceptions of ‘nature.’ McDowell distinguishes second nature or the "space of reasons" from first nature or the “realm of law.” Foot rejects this division.

On Foot's naturalism, natural goodness is just as much a feature of first nature as health is, even though human practical reasoning is unique in the biological world. I ...


The Path To Supersubstantivalism, Joshua D. Moulton Jan 2016

The Path To Supersubstantivalism, Joshua D. Moulton

Doctoral Dissertations

This dissertation is divided into two parts. In the first part I defend substantivalism. I do this by offering, in chapter 1, a counterpart-theoretic defense of substantivalism from Leibniz’ shift arguments. Then, in chapter 2, I defend substantivalism from the hole argument and argue, against the consensus, that the question of haecceitism is irrelevant to substantivalism in the context of general relativity.

In the second part of the dissertation I defend supersubstantivalism. I do this by offering, in chapter 3, an argument against dualistic substantivalism. The argument appeals to plausible principles of modal plenitude to show that the dualist is ...


Understanding And Its Role In Inquiry, Benjamin T. Rancourt Jan 2016

Understanding And Its Role In Inquiry, Benjamin T. Rancourt

Doctoral Dissertations

In this dissertation, I argue that understanding possesses unique epistemic value. I propose and defend a novel account of understanding that I call the management account of understanding, which is the view that an agent A understands a subject matter S just in case A has the ability to extract the relevant information and exploit it with the relevant cognitive capacities to answer questions in S. Since inquiry is the process of raising and answering questions, I argue that without understanding, it would be impossible to engage in successful inquiry. I argue that understanding is indispensable for effective cognition and ...


Scientific Fictionalism And The Problem Of Inconsistency In Nietzsche, Justin Remhof Jan 2016

Scientific Fictionalism And The Problem Of Inconsistency In Nietzsche, Justin Remhof

Philosophy Faculty Publications

In this article, I begin to develop Nietzsche’s scientific fictionalism in order to make headway toward resolving a central interpretive issue in his epistemology. For Nietzsche knowledge claims are falsifications. Presumably, this is a result of his puzzling view that truths are somehow false. I argue that Nietzsche thinks knowledge claims are falsifications because he embraces a scientific fictionalist view according to which inexact representations, which are false, can also be accurate, or true, and that this position is not inconsistent.


Physical Geometry, James P. Binkoski Jan 2016

Physical Geometry, James P. Binkoski

Doctoral Dissertations

All physical theories, from classical Newtonian mechanics to relativistic quantum field theory, entail propositions concerning the geometric structure of spacetime. To give an example, the general theory of relativity entails that spacetime is curved, smooth, and four-dimensional. In this dissertation, I take the structural commitments of our theories seriously and ask: how is such structure instantiated in the physical world? Mathematically, a property like 'being curved' is perfectly well-defined insofar as we know what it means for a mathematical space to be curved. But what could it mean to say that the physical world is curved? Call this the problem ...


Data Epistemologies / Surveillance And Uncertainty, Sun Ha Hong Jan 2016

Data Epistemologies / Surveillance And Uncertainty, Sun Ha Hong

Publicly Accessible Penn Dissertations

Data Epistemologies studies the changing ways in which ‘knowledge’ is defined, promised, problematised, legitimated vis-á-vis the advent of digital, ‘big’ data surveillance technologies in early twenty-first century America. As part of the period’s fascination with ‘new’ media and ‘big’ data, such technologies intersect ambitious claims to better knowledge with a problematisation of uncertainty. This entanglement, I argue, results in contextual reconfigurations of what ‘counts’ as knowledge and who (or what) is granted authority to produce it – whether it involves proving that indiscriminate domestic surveillance prevents terrorist attacks, to arguing that machinic sensors can know us better than we can ...


Algo-Ritmo: More-Than-Human Performative Acts And The Racializing Assemblages Of Algorithmic Architectures, Ezekiel J. Dixon-Román Dec 2015

Algo-Ritmo: More-Than-Human Performative Acts And The Racializing Assemblages Of Algorithmic Architectures, Ezekiel J. Dixon-Román

Ezekiel J Dixon-Román

What happens when more-than-human digital acts tell us something about ourselves? This article examines the ways in which the algorithms of data analytics function in relation to other ontologies and assemblages and how they are shaping and forming our lives. Beginning by critically questioning the ontology of data, data are argued to be an assemblage that is materially and discursively produced from a multiplicity of apparatuses including sociopolitical relations of power and “difference.” The concept of algo-ritmo—that is, the repetition of data with alterity—is introduced as a way of understanding how the performative acts of the “soft(ware ...