1. 17968.253871
    A standard thing in the philosophy of science to say such stochastic explanation questions is that one can given an answer in terms of the objective chance of the event, even when these chances are less than 1/2. …
    Found 4 hours, 59 minutes ago on Alexander Pruss's Blog
  2. 26533.253918
    spective. As a consequence of the perspectival nature of perception, when we perceive, say, a circular coin from different angles, there is a respect in which the coin looks circular throughout, but also a respect in which the coin's appearance changes. More generally, perception of shape and size properties has both a constant aspect—an aspect that remains stable across changes in perspective—and a perspectival aspect—an aspect that changes depending on one's perspective on the object. How should we account for the perspectival aspect of spatial perception? We present a framework within which to discuss the perspectival aspect of perception and put forward three desiderata that any account of the perspectival aspect of perception should satisfy. We discuss views on which the perspectival aspect of perception is analyzed in terms of constitutively mind‐dependent appearance properties as well as views on which the perspectival aspect of perception is analyzed in terms of representations of mind‐independent perspectival properties.
    Found 7 hours, 22 minutes ago on PhilPapers
  3. 30065.253935
    Superficially, dreidel appears to be a simple game of luck, and a badly designed game at that. It lacks balance, clarity, and (apparently) meaningful strategic choice. From this perspective, its prominence in the modern Hannukah tradition is puzzling. …
    Found 8 hours, 21 minutes ago on The Splintered Mind
  4. 34146.253953
    In this paper we investigate the history of relationalism and its present use in some interpretations of quantum mechanics. In the first part of this article we will provide a conceptual analysis of the relation between substantivalism, relationalism and relativism in the history of both physics and philosophy. In the second part, we will address some relational interpretations of quantum mechanics, namely, Bohr’s relational approach, the modal interpretation by Kochen, the perspectival modal version by Bene and Dieks and the relational interpretation by Rovelli. We will argue that all these interpretations ground their understanding of relations in epistemological terms. By taking into account the analysis on the first part of our work, we intend to highlight the fact that there is a different possibility for understanding quantum mechanics in relational terms which has not been yet considered within the foundational literature. This possibility is to consider relations in (non-relativist) ontological terms. We will argue that such an understanding might be capable of providing a novel approach to the problem of representing what quantum mechanics is really talking about.
    Found 9 hours, 29 minutes ago on PhilSci Archive
  5. 72016.253971
    . In preparation for a new post that takes up some of the recent battles on reforming or replacing p-values, I reblog an older post on power, one of the most misunderstood and abused notions in statistics. …
    Found 20 hours ago on D. G. Mayo's blog
  6. 77460.254013
    How one builds, checks, validates and interprets a model depends on its ‘purpose’. This is true even if the same model is used for different purposes, which means that a model built for one purpose but now used for another may need to be re-checked, re-validated and maybe even rebuilt in a different way. Here we review some of the different purposes for building a simulation model of complex social phenomena, focussing on five in particular: theoretical exposition, prediction, explanation, description and illustration. The chapter looks at some of the implications in terms of the ways in which the intended purpose might fail. In particular, it looks at the ways that a confusion of modelling purposes can fatally weaken modelling projects, whilst giving a false sense of their quality. This analysis motivates some of the ways in which these ‘dangers’ might be avoided or mitigated.
    Found 21 hours, 31 minutes ago on Bruce Edmonds's site
  7. 127333.254043
    Suppose you agreed with me that the science of well-being should strive to be value-apt, that mid-level theories is the way to provide value-aptness, and that all of this is compatible with scientific objectivity. …
    Found 1 day, 11 hours ago on The Brains Blog
  8. 197185.254057
    From the Icosahedron to E8 Here is a little article I’m writing for the Newsletter of the London Mathematical Society. The regular icosahedron is connected to many ‘exceptional objects’ in mathematics, and here I describe two ways of using it to construct One uses a subring of the quaternions called the ‘icosians’, while the other uses Du Val’s work on the resolution of Kleinian singularities. …
    Found 2 days, 6 hours ago on Azimuth
  9. 207650.254071
    The paper explains why an ontology of permanent point particles that are individuated by their relative positions and that move on continuous trajectories as given by a deterministic law of motion constitutes the best solution to the measurement problem in both quantum mechanics and quantum field theory. This case is made by comparing the Bohmian theory to collapse theories such as the GRW matter density and the GRW flash theory. It is argued that the Bohmian theory makes the minimal changes, concerning only the dynamics and neither the ontology nor the account of probabilities, that are necessary to get from classical mechanics to quantum physics. There is no cogent reason to go beyond these minimal changes.
    Found 2 days, 9 hours ago on PhilSci Archive
  10. 207667.254084
    I will defend two claims. First, Schaffer's priority monism is in tension with many research programs in quantum gravity. Second, priority monism can be modified into a view more amenable to this physics. The first claim is grounded in the fact that promising approaches to quantum gravity such as loop quantum gravity or string theory deny the fundamental reality of spacetime. Since fundamental spacetime plays an important role in Schaffer's priority monism by being identified with the fundamental structure, namely the cosmos, the disappearance of spacetime in these views might undermine classical priority monism. My second claim is that priority monism can avoid this issue with two moves: first, in dropping one of its core assumption, namely that the fundamental structure is spatio-temporal, second, by identifying the connection between the nonspatio-temporal structure and the derivative spatio-temporal structure with mereological composition.
    Found 2 days, 9 hours ago on PhilSci Archive
  11. 254591.2541
    In certain crystals you can knock an electron out of its favorite place and leave a hole: a place with a missing electron. Sometimes these holes can move around like particles. And naturally these holes attract electrons, since they are places an electron would want to be. …
    Found 2 days, 22 hours ago on Azimuth
  12. 257722.254114
    My aim in this chapter is to defend explanatory indispensability arguments for the existence of irreducibly evaluative properties from what I call the supervenience objection. A structurally similar argument and objection are found in the philosophy of mathematics. My strategy is to argue that a response to the supervenience objection is available that is structurally similar to a recent response made in the philosophy of mathematics case. My claim is that reductive realists in metaethics, like nominalists in philosophy of mathematics, have to take what has been called the ‘hard road’. And in metaethics, like in philosophy of mathematics, we have good reasons to think that this road is not navigable. I proceed as follows: Section 10.1 deals with some preliminary background issues. In Section 10.2 I outline the structure of explanatory indispensability arguments in general before giving some cases from metaethics and philosophy of mathematics. In this section I also make some remarks about good explanations and consider and respond to a proto-version of the supervenience objection. I then turn, in Section 10.3, to the supervenience objection itself, and the structurally similar objection in philosophy of mathematics, which I call the nominalist objection. In Section 10.4 I give my response to the supervenience objection, drawing on a recent response Mark Colyvan has made to the nominalist objection.
    Found 2 days, 23 hours ago on PhilPapers
  13. 273315.254127
    When I awoke with glowing, translucent hands, and hundreds of five-pointed yellow stars lined up along the left of my visual field, my first thought was that a dream must have made itself self-defeatingly obvious. …
    Found 3 days, 3 hours ago on Scott Aaronson's blog
  14. 315323.25414
    I offer some responses to Prosser’s ‘Experiencing Time’, one of whose goals is to debunk a view of temporal experience somewhat prevalent in the metaphysics literature, which I call ‘Perceptualism’. According to Perceptualism: (1) it is part of the content of perceptual experience that time passes in a metaphysically strong sense: the present has a metaphysically privileged status, and time passes in virtue of changes in which events this ‘objective present’ highlights, and moreover (2) this gives us evidence in favor of strong passage. Prosser argues that perception cannot be sensitive to whether the strong passage obtains, and therefore cannot represent strong passage in a way that gives us evidence of its truth. Although I accept this conclusion, I argue that Prosser’s argument for it is problematic. It threatens to over-generalize to rule out uncontroversial cases of perceptual knowledge, such as our knowledge that we live in a spatial world. Furthermore, a successful argument ruling out perceptual evidence for strong passage would have to give constraints on the theory/observation distinction of a kind not provided by Prosser’s discussion. I also comment on several other parts of the book.
    Found 3 days, 15 hours ago on PhilPapers
  15. 439043.254153
    The relational interpretation of quantum mechanics proposes to solve the measurement problem and reconcile completeness and locality of quantum mechanics by postulating relativity to the observer for events and facts, instead of an absolute “view from nowhere”. The aim of this paper is to clarify this interpretation, and in particular, one of its central claims concerning the possibility for an observer to have knowledge about other observer’s events. I consider three possible readings of this claim (deflationist, relationist and relativist), and develop the most promising one, relativism, to show how it fares when confronted with the traditional interpretative problems of quantum mechanics. Although it provides answers to some problems, I claim that there is currently no adapted locality criterion to evaluate whether the resulting interpretation is local or not.
    Found 5 days, 1 hour ago on PhilSci Archive
  16. 447707.254166
    Anna Alexandrova, A Philosophy for the Science of Well-Being (OUP, 2017)Here’s an attitude I sometimes encounter among scientists: “It is not my job as a scientist to figure out what true well-being is and to choose my constructs accordingly. …
    Found 5 days, 4 hours ago on The Brains Blog
  17. 447710.25418
    I’d like to explain a conjecture about Wigner crystals, which we came up with in a discussion on Google+. It’s a purely mathematical conjecture that’s pretty simple to state, motivated by the picture above. …
    Found 5 days, 4 hours ago on Azimuth
  18. 554939.254193
    This paper considers the temporal dimension of data processing and use, and the ways in which it affects the production and interpretation of knowledge claims. I start by distinguishing the time at which data collection, dissemination and analysis occur (Data time, or Dt) from the time in which the phenomena for which data serve as evidence operate (Phenomena time, or Pt). Building on the analysis of two examples of data re-use from modelling and experimental practices in biology, I then argue that Dt affects how researchers (1) select and interpret data as evidence and (2) identify and understand phenomena.
    Found 6 days, 10 hours ago on PhilSci Archive
  19. 605387.25421
    In our last several chapters we have defended Jonathan Bennett’s Simple Theory of Counterfactuals. One consequence of Bennett’s theory is that counterfactual backtracking – supposing that the past would be different if the present were different—is legitimate. We closed our last chapter endorsing backtracking writ large by arguing that nomological determinism entails counterfactual determinism.
    Found 1 week ago on PhilPapers
  20. 612609.254239
    Richard Lewontin is often cited as an inspiration and founder of what is now known as Niche Construction Theory. The first goal of this paper is to argue that they present distinct arguments from niche construction against Adaptationism. While Niche Construction Theory argues that natural selection is not the only adaptive evolutionary force, Lewontin rejects the externalist characterization of natural selection. The key difference lies in the types of phenomena that are allowed to count as “niche construction” and their argumentative roles. The second goal is to argue that it is time to revive Lewontin’s argument. I argue that it finds renewed support in Denis Walsh’s ecological affordance framework (Walsh 2015) and empirical evidence from ecological developmental biology (Sultan 2015). Reexamining the roots of Niche Construction Theory (Odling-Smee 1988), I suggest that the rich conceptual resources therein provide a way for Niche Construction Theory to also develop a neo-Lewontinian argument against the externalism of natural selection explanations.
    Found 1 week ago on PhilSci Archive
  21. 620616.254271
    I’ve been thinking about Thomson’s Violinist case. I should say about that case that it seems utterly obvious to me that in the case where the violinist is your child and you are in no long term danger from the connection, it’s a vicious failure of parental duties to disconnect. …
    Found 1 week ago on Alexander Pruss's Blog
  22. 650311.254299
    Anna Alexandrova, A Philosophy for the Science of Well-Being (OUP, 2017)Different people expect different things from theories of well-being. Some expect that they systematise in a maximally general way intuitions about goods that constitute well-being, others that they states most important causes of well-being, still others that they help them to lead a good life. …
    Found 1 week ago on The Brains Blog
  23. 670240.254314
    The idea that gauge theory has ‘surplus’ structure poses a puzzle: in one much discussed sense, this structure is redundant; but on the other hand, it is also widely held to play an essential role in the theory. In this paper, we employ category-theoretic tools to illuminate an aspect of this puzzle. We precisify what is meant by ‘surplus’ structure by means of functorial comparisons with equivalence classes of gauge fields, and then show that such structure is essential for any theory that represents a rich collection of physically relevant fields which are ‘local’ in nature.
    Found 1 week ago on PhilSci Archive
  24. 670263.25433
    Kuhn argued that scientific theory choice is, in some sense, a rational matter, but one that is not fully determined by shared objective scientific virtues like accuracy, simplicity, and scope. Okasha imports Arrow’s impossibility theorem into the context of theory choice to show that rather than not fully determining theory choice, these virtues cannot determine it at all. If Okasha is right, then there is no function (satisfying certain desirable conditions) from ‘preference’ rankings supplied by scientific virtues over competing theories (or models, or hypotheses) to a single all-things-considered ranking. This threatens the rationality of science. In this paper we show that if Kuhn’s claims about the role that subjective elements play in theory choice are taken seriously, then the threat dissolves.
    Found 1 week ago on PhilSci Archive
  25. 670285.254345
    Discussing the contemporary debate about the metaphysics of relations and structural realism, I analyse the philosophical significance of relational quantum mechanics (RQM). Relativising properties of objects (or systems) to other objects (or systems), RQM affirms that reality is inherently relational. My claim is that RQM can be seen as an instantiation of the ontology of ontic structural realism, for which relations are prior to objects, since it provides good reasons for the argument from the primacy of relation. In order to provide some evidence, RQM is interpreted focusing on its metametaphysics, in particular in relation to the very concept of relation, and to the meaning such concept assumes in the dispute between realism and antirealism.
    Found 1 week ago on PhilSci Archive
  26. 670301.25436
    In this paper I connect two debates in the philosophy of science; the questions of scientific representation and both model and theoretical equivalence. I argue that by paying attention to how a model is used to draw inferences about its target system, we can define a notion of theoretical equivalence that turns on whether their models licence the same claims about the same target systems. I briefly consider the implications of this for two questions that have recently been discussed in the context of the formal philosophy of science.
    Found 1 week ago on PhilSci Archive
  27. 678245.254373
    « The destruction of graduate education in the United States Quickies As everyone knows, the flaming garbage fire of a tax bill has passed the Senate, thanks to the spinelessness of John McCain, Lisa Murkowski, Susan Collins, and Jeff Flake. …
    Found 1 week ago on Scott Aaronson's blog
  28. 678259.254386
    I'm puzzled that in the literature on the nature of sex, gender, race, etc., there are so few philosophers who take a biological realist stance. Maybe this is a function of who is drawn to these topics. …
    Found 1 week ago on Jean Kazez's blog
  29. 735922.2544
    My interest in what is now called the science of well-being dates back to my graduate school days at UC San Diego. Sometime in the mid-aughts I came across a debate between psychologists who advanced ‘hedonic profile’ measures of happiness and those who favoured life satisfaction questionnaires. …
    Found 1 week, 1 day ago on The Brains Blog
  30. 769847.254413
    Last time, I argued that there are substantive open questions about whether the theoretical constructs of formal linguistics play any role in the psychological processes underlying language use. Let’s now address those questions.When people talk about “the psychological reality of syntax”, there are (at least) two importantly different types of psychological state that they might have in mind. …
    Found 1 week, 1 day ago on The Brains Blog