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  1. Generalizing empirical adequacy I: multiplicity and approximation.Sebastian Lutz - 2014 - Synthese 191 (14):3195-3225.
    I provide an explicit formulation of empirical adequacy, the central concept of constructive empiricism, and point out a number of problems. Based on one of the inspirations for empirical adequacy, I generalize the notion of a theory to avoid implausible presumptions about the relation of theoretical concepts and observations, and generalize empirical adequacy with the help of approximation sets to allow for lack of knowledge, approximations, and successive gain of knowledge and precision. As a test case, I provide an application (...)
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  2. The Literalist Fallacy & the Free Energy Principle: Model building, Scientific Realism and Instrumentalism.Michael David Kirchhoff, Julian Kiverstein & Ian Robertson - manuscript
    Disagreement about how best to think of the relation between theories and the realities they represent has a longstanding and venerable history. We take up this debate in relation to the free energy principle (FEP) - a contemporary framework in computational neuroscience, theoretical biology and the philosophy of cognitive science. The FEP is very ambitious, extending from the brain sciences to the biology of self-organisation. In this context, some find apparent discrepancies between the map (the FEP) and the territory (target (...)
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  3. Quasi-factive Belief and Knowledge-like States.Michel J. Shaffer - forthcoming - Lexington Books.
    This book is addresses a topic that has received little or no attention in orthodox epistemology. Typical epistemological investigation focuses almost exclusively on knowledge, where knowing that something is the case importantly implies that what is believed is strictly true. This condition on knowledge is known as factivity and it is, to be sure, a bit of epistemological orthodoxy. So, if a belief is to qualify as knowledge according to the orthodox view it cannot be false. There is also an (...)
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  4. Maps and Models.Rasmus Grønfeldt Winther - forthcoming - In Routledge Handbook of Philosophy of Scientific Modeling. London, UK:
    Maps and mapping raise questions about models and modeling and in science. This chapter archives map discourse in the founding generation of philosophers of science (e.g., Rudolf Carnap, Nelson Goodman, Thomas Kuhn, and Stephen Toulmin) and in the subsequent generation (e.g., Philip Kitcher, Helen Longino, and Bas van Fraassen). In focusing on these two original framing generations of philosophy of science, I intend to remove us from the heat of contemporary discussions of abstraction, representation, and practice of science and thereby (...)
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  5. Deux enjeux philosophiques entourant la structure des recommandations issues du secteur public.Marc-Kevin Daoust & Victor Babin - 2023 - Dialogue 62 (3):413-429.
    L’une des fonctions des institutions publiques des démocraties libérales est de formuler des recommandations à l’attention des décideurs. Or, les institutions publiques savent que leurs recommandations seront souvent ignorées en partie par le décideur. Cette situation de « conformité partielle » aux recommandations soulève plusieurs problèmes de nature philosophique pour les institutions. En nous appuyant sur une analyse de 570 recommandations tirées de 40 documents et rapports du secteur public québécois, nous identifions deux enjeux entourant la structure des recommandations issues (...)
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  6. Do molecules have structure in isolation? How models can provide the answer.Vanessa Seifert - 2022 - In Olimpia Lombardi, Juan Camilo Martínez & Sebastian Fortin (eds.), Philosophical Perspectives on Quantum Chemistry. Springer Cham. pp. 125–143.
    I argue that molecules may not have structure in isolation. I support this by investigating how quantum models identify structure for isolated molecules. Specifically, I distinguish between two sets of models: those that identify structure in isolation and those that do not. The former identify structure because they presuppose structural information about the target system via the Born- Oppenheimer approximation. However, it is an idealisation to assume structure in isolation because there is no empirical evidence of this. In fact, whenever (...)
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  7. Further Reflections on Quasi-factivism: A Reply to Baumann.Michael J. Shaffer - 2022 - Logos and Episteme 13 (2):207-215.
    This paper is a response to Baumann's comments on "Can Knowledge Really be Non-fative?" In this paper Baumann's suggestions for how those who deny the factivty of knowledge might deal with the argument from inconsistency and explosion are addressed.
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  8. Numerical instability and dynamical systems.Vincent Ardourel & Julie Jebeile - 2021 - European Journal for Philosophy of Science 11 (2):1-21.
    In philosophical studies regarding mathematical models of dynamical systems, instability due to sensitive dependence on initial conditions, on the one side, and instability due to sensitive dependence on model structure, on the other, have by now been extensively discussed. Yet there is a third kind of instability, which by contrast has thus far been rather overlooked, that is also a challenge for model predictions about dynamical systems. This is the numerical instability due to the employment of numerical methods involving a (...)
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  9. Taming the tyranny of scales: models and scale in the geosciences.Alisa Bokulich - 2021 - Synthese 199 (5-6):14167-14199.
    While the predominant focus of the philosophical literature on scientific modeling has been on single-scale models, most systems in nature exhibit complex multiscale behavior, requiring new modeling methods. This challenge of modeling phenomena across a vast range of spatial and temporal scales has been called the tyranny of scales problem. Drawing on research in the geosciences, I synthesize and analyze a number of strategies for taming this tyranny in the context of conceptual, physical, and mathematical modeling. This includes several strategies (...)
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  10. Generalizing Empirical Adequacy II: Partial Structures.Sebastian Lutz - 2021 - Synthese 198 (2):1351-1380.
    I show that extant attempts to capture and generalize empirical adequacy in terms of partial structures fail. Indeed, the motivations for the generalizations in the partial structures approach are better met by the generalizations via approximation sets developed in “Generalizing Empirical Adequacy I”. Approximation sets also generalize partial structures.
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  11. Drawing scales apart: The origins of Wilson's conception of effective field theories.Sébastien Rivat - 2021 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 90 (C):321-338.
    This article traces the origins of Kenneth Wilson's conception of effective field theories (EFTs) in the 1960s. I argue that what really made the difference in Wilson's path to his first prototype of EFT are his long-standing pragmatic aspirations and methodological commitments. Wilson's primary interest was to work on mathematically interesting physical problems and he thought that progress could be made by treating them as if they could be analyzed in principle by a sufficiently powerful computer. The first point explains (...)
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  12. The Truth About Better Understanding?Lewis Ross - 2021 - Erkenntnis 88 (2):747-770.
    The notion of understanding occupies an increasingly prominent place in contemporary epistemology, philosophy of science, and moral theory. A central and ongoing debate about the nature of understanding is how it relates to the truth. In a series of influential contributions, Catherine Elgin has used a variety of familiar motivations for antirealism in philosophy of science to defend a non- factive theory of understanding. Key to her position are: (i) the fact that false theories can contribute to the upwards trajectory (...)
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  13. Informative Models: Idealization and Abstraction.Mauricio Suárez & Agnes Bolinska - 2021 - In Alejandro Cassini & Juan Redmond (eds.), Models and Idealizations in Science: Artifactual and Fictional Approaches. Springer Verlag. pp. 71-85.
    Mauricio Suárez and Agnes Bolinska apply the tools of communication theory to scientific modeling in order to characterize the informational content of a scientific model. They argue that when represented as a communication channel, a model source conveys information about its target, and that such representations are therefore appropriate whenever modeling is employed for informational gain. They then extract two consequences. First, the introduction of idealizations is akin in informational terms to the introduction of noise in a signal; for in (...)
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  14. Modelling Nature. An Opinionated Introduction to Scientific Representation.Roman Frigg & James Nguyen - 2020 - New York: Springer.
    This monograph offers a critical introduction to current theories of how scientific models represent their target systems. Representation is important because it allows scientists to study a model to discover features of reality. The authors provide a map of the conceptual landscape surrounding the issue of scientific representation, arguing that it consists of multiple intertwined problems. They provide an encyclopaedic overview of existing attempts to answer these questions, and they assess their strengths and weaknesses. The book also presents a comprehensive (...)
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  15. Unifying the essential concepts of biological networks: biological insights and philosophical foundations.Daniel Kostic, Claus Hilgetag & Marc Tittgemeyer - 2020 - Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences 375 (1796):1-8.
    Over the last decades, network-based approaches have become highly popular in diverse fields of biology, including neuroscience, ecology, molecular biology and genetics. While these approaches continue to grow very rapidly, some of their conceptual and methodological aspects still require a programmatic foundation. This challenge particularly concerns the question of whether a generalized account of explanatory, organisational and descriptive levels of networks can be applied universally across biological sciences. To this end, this highly interdisciplinary theme issue focuses on the definition, motivation (...)
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  16. Near-Decomposability and the Timescale Relativity of Causal Representations.Naftali Weinberger - 2020 - Philosophy of Science 87 (5):841-856.
    A common strategy for simplifying complex systems involves partitioning them into subsystems whose behaviors are roughly independent of one another at shorter timescales. Dynamic causal models clarify how doing so reveals a system’s nonequilibrium causal relationships. Here I use these models to elucidate the idealizations and abstractions involved in representing a system at a timescale. The models reveal that key features of causal representations—such as which variables are exogenous—may vary with the timescale at which a system is considered. This has (...)
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  17. Minimal approximations and Norton’s dome.Samuel C. Fletcher - 2019 - Synthese 196 (5):1749-1760.
    In this note, I apply Norton’s (Philos Sci 79(2):207–232, 2012) distinction between idealizations and approximations to argue that the epistemic and inferential advantages often taken to accrue to minimal models (Batterman in Br J Philos Sci 53:21–38, 2002) could apply equally to approximations, including “infinite” ones for which there is no consistent model. This shows that the strategy of capturing essential features through minimality extends beyond models, even though the techniques for justifying this extended strategy remain similar. As an application (...)
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  18. Stochastic Stability and Disagreements between Dynamics.Aydin Mohseni - 2019 - Philosophy of Science 86 (3):497-521.
    The replicator dynamics and Moran process are the main deterministic and stochastic models of evolutionary game theory. The models are connected by a mean-field relationship—the former describes the expected behavior of the latter. However, there are conditions under which their predictions diverge. I demonstrate that the divergence between their predictions is a function of standard techniques used in their analysis and of differences in the idealizations involved in each. My analysis reveals problems for stochastic stability analysis in a broad class (...)
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  19. Infinite idealizations in physics.Elay Shech - 2018 - Philosophy Compass 13 (9):e12514.
    In this essay, I provide an overview of the debate on infinite and essential idealizations in physics. I will first present two ostensible examples: phase transitions and the Aharonov– Bohm effect. Then, I will describe the literature on the topic as a debate between two positions: Essentialists claim that idealizations are essential or indispensable for scientific accounts of certain physical phenomena, while dispensabilists maintain that idealizations are dispensable from mature scientific theory. I will also identify some attempts at finding a (...)
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  20. Margaret Morrison's Reconstructing Reality. [REVIEW]Alexander Reutlinger & Stephan Hartmann - 2016 - BJPS Review of Books 8.
    In her new book Reconstructing Reality (henceforth RR), Margaret Morrison’s main target is the kind of information about the world (or, more specifically, about physical and biological systems) one can extract from the ‘reconstructive methods and practices of science’ (p. 1). To address this, Morrison focuses on three central kinds of interrelated strategies for ‘recasting nature’ (p. 2) by using reconstructive methods and practices: (i) abstract mathematical explanations and understanding (Part 1 of the book), (ii) scientific models (Part 2), and (...)
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  21. Approximate Truth, Quasi-Factivity, and Evidence.Michael J. Shaffer - 2015 - Acta Analytica 30 (3):249-266.
    The main question addressed in this paper is whether some false sentences can constitute evidence for the truth of other propositions. In this paper it is argued that there are good reasons to suspect that at least some false propositions can constitute evidence for the truth of certain other contingent propositions. The paper also introduces a novel condition concerning propositions that constitute evidence that explains a ubiquitous evidential practice and it contains a defense of a particular condition concerning the possession (...)
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  22. E Does Not Equal K.Michael J. Shaffer - 2013 - The Reasoner 7:30-31.
    This paper challenges Williamson's "E = K" thesis on the basis of evidential practice. The main point is that most evidence is only approximately true and so cannot be known if knowledge is factive.
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  23. Simulation and Similarity: Using Models to Understand the World.Michael Weisberg - 2013 - New York, US: Oxford University Press.
    one takes to be the most salient, any pair could be judged more similar to each other than to the third. Goodman uses this second problem to showthat there can be no context-free similarity metric, either in the trivial case or in a scientifically ...
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  24. Degree of explanation.Robert Northcott - 2012 - Synthese 190 (15):3087-3105.
    Partial explanations are everywhere. That is, explanations citing causes that explain some but not all of an effect are ubiquitous across science, and these in turn rely on the notion of degree of explanation. I argue that current accounts are seriously deficient. In particular, they do not incorporate adequately the way in which a cause’s explanatory importance varies with choice of explanandum. Using influential recent contrastive theories, I develop quantitative definitions that remedy this lacuna, and relate it to existing measures (...)
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  25. Approximation and Idealization: Why the Difference Matters.John D. Norton - 2012 - Philosophy of Science 79 (2):207-232.
    It is proposed that we use the term “approximation” for inexact description of a target system and “idealization” for another system whose properties also provide an inexact description of the target system. Since systems generated by a limiting process can often have quite unexpected, even inconsistent properties, familiar limit systems used in statistical physics can fail to provide idealizations, but are merely approximations. A dominance argument suggests that the limiting idealizations of statistical physics should be demoted to approximations.
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  26. Not-Exact-Truths, Pragmatic Encroachment, and the Epistemic Norm of Practical Reasoning.Michael J. Shaffer - 2012 - Logos and Episteme 3 (2):239-259.
    Recently a number of variously motivated epistemologists have argued that knowledge is closely tied to practical matters. On the one hand, radical pragmatic encroachment is the view that facts about whether an agent has knowledge depend on practical factors and this is coupled to the view that there is an important connection between knowledge and action. On the other hand, one can argue for the less radical thesis only that there is an important connection between knowledge and practical reasoning. So, (...)
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  27. Moorean Sentences and the Norm of Assertion.Michael J. Shaffer - 2012 - Logos and Episteme 3 (4):653-658.
    In this paper Timothy Williamson’s argument that the knowledge norm of assertion is the best explanation of the unassertability of Morrean sentences is challenged and an alternative account of the norm of assertion is defended.
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  28. The Ramsey Principle and The Principle of Informational Equilibrium.Michael J. Shaffer - 2011 - The Reasoner 5 (3):37-39.
    This paper challenges the soundness of an argument given in support of a Ramseyan analysis of belief defended by Dokic and Engel in their 2001 book.
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  29. Novel approaches to models: Mauricio Suárez : Fictions in science: philosophical essays on modeling and idealization, Routledge, New York, 2009, vii + 282 pp, US$118 HB. [REVIEW]Adam Toon - 2010 - Metascience 19 (2):285-288.
    This paper is a review of Suarez, M. (ed.) Fictions in Science (Routledge).
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  30. Approximations, Idealizations and 'Experiments' at the Physics-Biology Interface.Darrell Patrick Rowbottom - 2008 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences 42 (2):145-154.
    This paper, which is based on recent empirical research at the University of Leeds, the University of Edinburgh, and the University of Bristol, presents two difficulties which arise when condensed matter physicists interact with molecular biologists: (1) the former use models which appear to be too coarse-grained, approximate and/or idealized to serve a useful scientific purpose to the latter; and (2) the latter have a rather narrower view of what counts as an experiment, particularly when it comes to computer simulations, (...)
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  31. Approximation Representations for Δ2 Reals.George Barmpalias - 2004 - Archive for Mathematical Logic 43 (8):947-964.
    We study Δ2 reals x in terms of how they can be approximated symmetrically by a computable sequence of rationals. We deal with a natural notion of ‘approximation representation’ and study how these are related computationally for a fixed x. This is a continuation of earlier work; it aims at a classification of Δ2 reals based on approximation and it turns out to be quite different than the existing ones (based on information content etc.).
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  32. Inconsistency in classical electrodynamics.Mathias Frisch - 2004 - Philosophy of Science 71 (4):525-549.
    I show that the standard approach to modeling phenomena involving microscopic classical electrodynamics is mathematically inconsistent. I argue that there is no conceptually unproblematic and consistent theory covering the same phenomena to which this inconsistent theory can be thought of as an approximation; and I propose a set of conditions for the acceptability of inconsistent theories.
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  33. Approximations, idealizations, and models in statistical mechanics.Chuang Liu - 2004 - Erkenntnis 60 (2):235-263.
    In this paper, a criticism of the traditional theories of approximation and idealization is given as a summary of previous works. After identifying the real purpose and measure of idealization in the practice of science, it is argued that the best way to characterize idealization is not to formulate a logical model – something analogous to Hempel's D-N model for explanation – but to study its different guises in the praxis of science. A case study of it is then made (...)
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  34. Vague Reference and Approximating Judgements.Thomas Bittner & Barry Smith - 2003 - Spatial Cognition and Computation 3 (2):137–156.
    We propose a new account of vagueness and approximation in terms of the theory of granular partitions. We distinguish different kinds of crisp and non-crisp granular partitions and we describe the relations between them, concentrating especially on spatial examples. We describe the practice whereby subjects use regular grid-like reference partitions as a means for tempering the vagueness of their judgments, and we demonstrate how the theory of reference partitions can yield a natural account of this practice, which is referred to (...)
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  35. A unified theory of granularity, vagueness and approximation.Thomas Bittner & Barry Smith - 2001 - In COSIT Workshop on Spatial Vagueness, Uncertainty and Granularity. pp. 39.
    Abstract: We propose a view of vagueness as a semantic property of names and predicates. All entities are crisp, on this semantic view, but there are, for each vague name, multiple portions of reality that are equally good candidates for being its referent, and, for each vague predicate, multiple classes of objects that are equally good candidates for being its extension. We provide a new formulation of these ideas in terms of a theory of granular partitions. We show that this (...)
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  36. How the laws of economics lie.Ian Hunt - 2001 - Journal of Applied Philosophy 18 (2):119–133.
  37. Galilean Idealization.Ernan McMullin - 1985 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 16 (3):247.
  38. Galileo's law of fall: Absolute truth or approximation.R. H. Naylor - 1982 - Annals of Science 39 (4):384-389.
  39. Idealizations and approximations in physics.Robert John Schwartz - 1978 - Philosophy of Science 45 (4):595-603.
    While the use of so-called idealizations in science has been widely recognized for many years, the philosophical problems that arise from this use have received relatively little attention. Even a cursory reading of the philosophical literature devoted to these problems reveals that the following questions remain unanswered: In general, what, if any, are the distinguishing characteristics of idealizations? More specifically, do idealizations have any distinguishing syntactic or semantic characteristics? In addition to these questions there exist the following pragmatic questions, questions (...)
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  40. Abstract and Complete.Alkistis Elliott-Graves - unknown
    There are two notions of abstraction that are often confused. The material view implies that the products of abstraction are not concrete. It is vulnerable to the criticism that abstracting introduces misrepresentations to the system, hence abstraction is indistinguishable from idealization. The omission view fares better against this criticism because it does not entail that abstract objects are non-physical and because it asserts that the way scientists abstract is different to the way they idealize. Moreover, the omission view better captures (...)
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