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Adeel, M. Ashraf. Evolution of Quine’s Thinking on the Thesis of Underdetermination and Scott Soames’s Accusation of Paradoxicality
2015, HOPOS: The Journal of the International Society for the History of Philosophy of Science 5(1): 56-69.
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Added by: Laura Jimenez

Abstract: Scott Soames argues that interpreted in the light of Quine’s holistic verificationism, Quine’s thesis of underdetermination leads to a contradiction. It is contended here that if we pay proper attention to the evolution of Quine’s thinking on the subject, particularly his criterion of theory individuation, Quine’s thesis of underdetermination escapes Soames’ charge of paradoxicality.

Comment: Good as a secondary reading for those who are confident with Quine's thesis of underdetermination. Recomended for postgraduate courses in philosophy of science.

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Akins, Kathleen. A bat without qualities?
1993, In Martin Davies & Glyn W. Humphreys (eds.), Consciousness: Psychological and Philosophical Essays. Blackwell. pp. 345--358.
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Added by: Clotilde Torregrossa, Contributed by: Simon Fokt

Abstract: Discusses the alleged elusiveness of phenomenal consciousness / argues . . . that there is no way of telling ahead of time just what science will reveal to us / if we start from the thought that science can shed some light upon an alien point of view, we may well find ourselves with the intuition, nevertheless, that there is something that science must leave out / perhaps science can reveal the shape or structure of experience, but it leaves out the tone or shading / perhaps science can make plain to us the representational properties of experience, but it is silent about the phenomenal feel argues that this intuition . . . is to be resisted because it rests upon the flawed idea that we can separate the qualitative from the representational aspects of experience: the idea that it makes sense to try to imagine an experience that is qualitatively just like the visual experience that I am having now, but represents quite different objects and properties in the world

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Akins, Kathleen. Of sensory systems and the “aboutness” of mental states
1996, Journal of Philosophy 93(7): 337-372.
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Added by: Nick Novelli

Summary: The author presents a critique of the classical conception of the senses assumed by the majority of naturalist authors who attempt to explain mental content. This critique is based on neurobiological data on the senses that suggest that they do not seem to describe objective characteristics of the world, but instead act “narcissistically”, so to speak, representing information depending on the specific interests of the organism.

Comment: This paper provides a good explanation of the integrated sensory-motor approach in philosophy of mind and how it differs from the classical conception. A good, easy to understand presentation of a challenge to the naive view that the senses give us objective information about the way the world is.

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Alexandrova, Anna, Robert Northcott. It’s just a feeling: why economic models do not explain
2013, Journal of Economic Methodology, 20(3), 262-267
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Added by: Simon Fokt, Contributed by: Patricia Rich

Abstract: Julian Reiss correctly identified a trilemma about economic models: we cannot maintain that they are false, but nevertheless explain and that only true accounts explain. In this reply we give reasons to reject the second premise – that economic models explain. Intuitions to the contrary should be distrusted.

Comment: This is a good short article to read alongside Reiss' important paper on the explanation paradox, in the context of a philosophy of economics or social science class. It argues against Reiss' premise that economic models are explanatory. It draws on, but does not require, knowledge of anyone's positions in the larger debate on the status of formal models.

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Alexandrova, Anna. Making Models Count
2008, Philosophy of Science 75(3): 383-404.
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Added by: Nick Novelli

Abstract: What sort of claims do scientific models make and how do these claims then underwrite empirical successes such as explanations and reliable policy interventions? In this paper I propose answers to these questions for the class of models used throughout the social and biological sciences, namely idealized deductive ones with a causal interpretation. I argue that the two main existing accounts misrepresent how these models are actually used, and propose a new account.

Comment: A good exploration of the role of models in scientific practice. Provides a good overview of the main theories about models, and some objections to them, before suggesting an alternative. Good use of concrete examples, presented very clearly. Suitable for undergraduate teaching. Would form a useful part of an examination of modelling in philosophy of science.

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Allori, Valia. On the metaphysics of quantum mechanics
2013, In Soazig Lebihan (ed.), Precis de la Philosophie de la Physique, Vuibert.
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Added by: Laura Jimenez

Abstract: Many solutions have been proposed for solving the problem of macroscopic superpositions of wave function ontology. A possible solution is to assume that, while the wave function provides the complete description of the system, its temporal evolution is not given by the Schroedinger equation. The usual Schroedinger evolution is interrupted by random and sudden “collapses”. The most promising theory of this kind is the GRW theory, named after the scientists that developed it: Gian Carlo Ghirardi, Alberto Rimini and Tullio Weber. It seems tempting to think that in GRW we can take the wave function ontologically seriously and avoid the problem of macroscopic superpositions just allowing for quantum jumps. In this paper it is argued that such “bare” wave function ontology is not possible, neither for GRW nor for any other quantum theory: quantum mechanics cannot be about the wave function simpliciter. All quantum theories should be regarded as theories in which physical objects are constituted by a primitive ontology. The primitive ontology is mathematically represented in the theory by a mathematical entity in three-dimensional space, or space-time.

Comment: This is a very interesting article on the ontology of Quantum Mechanics. It is recommended for advanced courses in Philosophy of Science, especially for modules in the Philosophy of physics. Previous knowledge of Bohmian mechanics and the Many Words Interpretation is necessary. Recommended for postgraduate students.

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Allori, Valia. Primitive Ontology in a Nutshell
2015, International Journal of Quantum Foundations 1(2):107-122
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Added by: Sara Peppe

Abstract: The aim of this paper is to summarize a particular approach of doing metaphysics through physics – the primitive ontology approach. The idea is that any fundamental physical theory has a well-defined architecture, to the foundation of which there is the primitive ontology, which represents matter. According to the framework provided by this approach when applied to quantum mechanics, the wave function is not suitable to represent matter. Rather, the wave function has a nomological character, given that its role in the theory is to implement the law of evolution for the primitive ontology.

Comment: This article works well as a secondary reading since it refers to specific theories of physics. Previous knowledge on the cornerstones of philosophy of physics is needed.

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Anderson, Elizabeth. Ethical Assumptions in Economic Theory: Some Lessons from the History of Credit and Bankruptcy
2004, Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 7.4, 347-360
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Added by: Björn Freter

Abstract: This paper evaluates the economic assumptions of economic theory via an examination of the capitalist transformation of creditor-debtor relations in the 18th century. This transformation enabled masses of people to obtain credit without moral opprobrium or social subordination. Classical 18th century economics had the ethical concepts to appreciate these facts. Ironically, contemporary economic theory cannot. I trace this fault to its abstract representations of freedom, efficiency, and markets. The virtues of capitalism lie in the concrete social relations and social meanings through which capital and commodities are exchanged. Contrary to laissez faire capitalism, the conditions for sustaining these concrete capitalist formations require limits on freedom of contract and the scope of private property rights.

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Anderson, Elizabeth. Feminist Epistemology and Philosophy of Science
2015, Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
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Added by: Giada Fratantonio

Abstract: Feminist epistemology and philosophy of science studies the ways in which gender does and ought to influence our conceptions of knowledge, the knowing subject, and practices of inquiry and justification. It identifies ways in which dominant conceptions and practices of knowledge attribution, acquisition, and justification systematically disadvantage women and other subordinated groups, and strives to reform these conceptions and practices so that they serve the interests of these groups. Various practitioners of feminist epistemology and philosophy of science argue that dominant knowledge practices disadvantage women by (1) excluding them from inquiry, (2) denying them epistemic authority, (3) denigrating their ‘feminine’ cognitive styles and modes of knowledge, (4) producing theories of women that represent them as inferior, deviant, or significant only in the ways they serve male interests, (5) producing theories of social phenomena that render women’s activities and interests, or gendered power relations, invisible, and (6) producing knowledge (science and technology) that is not useful for people in subordinate positions, or that reinforces gender and other social hierarchies. Feminist epistemologists trace these failures to flawed conceptions of knowledge, knowers, objectivity, and scientific methodology. They offer diverse accounts of how to overcome these failures. They also aim to (1) explain why the entry of women and feminist scholars into different academic disciplines, especially in biology and the social sciences, has generated new questions, theories, and methods, (2) show how gender and feminist values and perspectives have played a causal role in these transformations, (3) promote theories that aid egalitarian and liberation movements, and (4) defend these developments as cognitive, not just social, advances.

Comment: A very detailed primer on feminist epistemology and philosophy of science. Covers a wide range of topics and issues, its length is such that it would probably be best to assign specific sections that are of interest rather than reading the whole thing. Useful as a preliminary introduction to the topics covered, and also offers a good summary of objections to the views presented.

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Anderson, Elizabeth. Uses of value judgments in science: A general argument, with lessons from a case study of feminist research on divorce
2004, Hypatia 19 (1):1-24.
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Added by: Simon Fokt

Abstract: The underdetermination argument establishes that scientists may use political values to guide inquiry, without providing criteria for distinguishing legitimate from illegitimate guidance. This paper supplies such criteria. Analysis of the confused arguments against value-laden science reveals the fundamental criterion of illegitimate guidance: when value judgments operate to drive inquiry to a predetermined conclusion. A case study of feminist research on divorce reveals numerous legitimate ways that values can guide science without violating this standard.

Comment: [This is a stub entry. Please add your comments to help us expand it]

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Attfield, Robin, Robin Attfield, Attfield, Kate. Principles of Equality: Managing Equality and Diversity in a Steiner School
2019, Sustainable Management Practices, ed. Muddassar Sarfraz, Muhammad Ibrahim Adbullah, Abdul Rauf, Syed Ghulam Meran Shah, London: IntechOpen
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Added by: Björn Freter, Contributed by: Robin Attfield, Kate Attfield

Abstract: Principles of equality are examined in the context of managing equality and diversity in practice. Our case study is the Cardiff Steiner School, an independent international school located in Wales, UK with educational values guided by the philosophers and educationalists Rudolf Steiner and Millicent Mackenzie. The sustainable management referred to and assessed in this chapter is the school’s management structure and the related School pedagogical operation, with the founding Steiner value of human justice informing these. We argue that at the School the management of equality and diversity reflects theories of Diversity and Equality Management, with School managers aspiring to encourage respect for all. We appraise the philosophical and spiritual values of the founders in relation to equality and diversity, in order to demonstrate the visionary ideals of these philosophers and the extent to which their beliefs live on sustainable in contemporary society, and particularly in a Steiner education community.

Comment: The principle of equality of consideration underpins managerial and pedagogical practices at the Cardiff Steiner School. We argue that respecting the principle of equality of consideration (see Singer 1983) is a prerequisite of respecting diversity, and issues in precisely this in an educational context. We present alternative models of equality (related to different principles of equality), applying these to an inclusive educational system, and find them deficient when it comes to the respecting of diversity. The various dimensions of diversity considered are culture, gender status, sexual orientation, socio-economic position, appearance and ethnicity.

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Attfield, Robin, Robin Attfield, Attfield, Kate. The Concept of ‘Gaia’
2016, eLS. electronic Encyclopedia of the Life Sciences
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Added by: Björn Freter, Contributed by: Robin Attfield

Abstract: The Gaia theory of James Lovelock proposes that the Earth is a self-regulating system, or super-organism, maintaining conditions hospitable to contemporary planetary biota. Objections to this theory, concerning its alleged untestability and circularity, are considered and countered. Favourable evidence includes Lovelock’s daisyworld model of a planet regulating its own temperatures and thus maintaining homeostasis, and his discoveries of actual regulatory mechanisms such as the biological generation of dimethyl sulphide, which removes sulphur from the oceans and seeds clouds whose albedo reduces solar radiation (a negative feedback mechanism). After some decades of scepticism, sections of the scientific community have partially endorsed Gaia theory, accepting that the Earth system behaves as if self-regulating. Whether or not this theory is acceptable in full, it has drawn attention to the need for preserving planetary biological cycles and for the planetary dimension to be incorporated in ethical decision-making, and thus for a planetary ethic.

Comment: This interdisciplinary survey of the Gaia hypothesis, its critics and its supporters, could be used in Philosophy of Science or Philosophy of Biology classes to clarify the concept of Gaia, which is often presented too vaguely by those who have not considered issues such as whether this hypothesis is falsifiable or not; it could also be used in Ethics classes because of its section on Gaian ethics. We show how Lovelock has devised indirect ways of testing this hypothesis (or better, the Gaia theory), how a critic (Kirchner) has presented it as either falsifiable but unsurprising or unfalsifiable and thus useless, and how a supporter, Tim Lenton has sought to explain how it can be reconciled with Darwinian evolution. Finally we show how elements of the theory have been endorsed by a scientific conference, but other aspects, such as the purposiveness of Gaia, were not endorsed.

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Balog, Katalin. Jerry Fodor on Non-Conceptual Content
2009, Synthese, 170, 311-320
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Added by: Simon Fokt, Contributed by: Simon Prosser

Abstract: Proponents of non-conceptual content have recruited it for various philosophical jobs. Some epistemologists have suggested that it may play the role of “the given” that Sellars is supposed to have exorcised from philosophy. Some philosophers of mind (e.g., Dretske) have suggested that it plays an important role in the project of naturalizing semantics as a kind of halfway between merely information bearing and possessing conceptual content. Here I will focus on a recent proposal by Jerry Fodor. In a recent paper he characterizes non-conceptual content in a particular way and argues that it is plausible that it plays an explanatory role in accounting for certain auditory and visual phenomena. So he thinks that there is reason to believe that there is non-conceptual content. On the other hand, Fodor thinks that non-conceptual content has a limited role. It occurs only in the very early stages of perceptual processing prior to conscious awareness. My paper is examines Fodor’s characterization of non-conceptual content and his claims for its explanatory importance. I also discuss if Fodor has made a case for limiting non-conceptual content to non-conscious, sub-personal mental states.

Comment: Useful discussion of Fodor's view on non-conceptual content; I use the Fodor piece as main reading, and this as further reading.

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Basso, Alessandra, Lisciandra, Chiara, Marchionni, Caterina. Hypothetical models in social science: their features and uses
2017, Springer Handbook of Model-Based Science. Magnani, L. & Bertolotti, T. (eds.). Springer, 413-433
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Added by: Björn Freter

Abstract: The chapter addresses the philosophical issues raised by the use of hypothetical modeling in the social sciences. Hypothetical modeling involves the construction and analysis of simple hypothetical systems to represent complex social phenomena for the purpose of understanding those social phenomena.

To highlight its main features hypothetical modeling is compared both to laboratory experimentation and to computer simulation. In analogy with laboratory experiments, hypothetical models can be conceived of as scientific representations that attempt to isolate, theoretically, the working of causal mechanisms or capacities from disturbing factors. However, unlike experiments, hypothetical models need to deal with the epistemic uncertainty due to the inevitable presence of unrealistic assumptions introduced for purposes of analytical tractability. Computer simulations have been claimed to be able to overcome some of the strictures of analytical tractability. Still they differ from hypothetical models in how they derive conclusions and in the kind of understanding they provide.

The inevitable presence of unrealistic assumptions makes the legitimacy of the use of hypothetical modeling to learn about the world a particularly pressing problem in the social sciences. A review of the contemporary philosophical debate shows that there is still little agreement on what social scientific models are and what they are for. This suggests that there might not be a single answer to the question of what is the epistemic value of hypothetical models in the social sciences.

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Bechtel, William P., Jennifer Mundale. Multiple realizability revisited: Linking cognitive and neural states
1999, Philosophy of Science 66 (2): 175-207.
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Added by: Nick Novelli

Abstract: The claim of the multiple realizability of mental states by brain states has been a major feature of the dominant philosophy of mind of the late 20th century. The claim is usually motivated by evidence that mental states are multiply realized, both within humans and between humans and other species. We challenge this contention by focusing on how neuroscientists differentiate brain areas. The fact that they rely centrally on psychological measures in mapping the brain and do so in a comparative fashion undercuts the likelihood that, at least within organic life forms, we are likely to find cases of multiply realized psychological functions.

Comment: One of the better arguments against multiple realizability. Could be used in any philosophy of mind course where that claim arises as a demonstration of how it could be challenged. A good deal of discussion about neuroscientific practices and methods, but not excessively technical.

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