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Synthese 28 (2):97-115 (1974)

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  1. A New Framework for Comparative Study of Philosophy.Desheng Zong - 2010 - Dao: A Journal of Comparative Philosophy 9 (4):445-459.
    The aim of this essay is to outline a conceptual framework for a type of philosophy (or approach to philosophy) to be herein called “non-sentential philosophy.” Although I will primarily concern myself with the conceptual coherence of the framework in this essay, illustrations will be provided to show that the notion has rich implications for comparative studies. In particular, I believe this theoretical framework will be of interest to those looking for a way to capture the differences between certain non-Western (...)
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  • Exclusion in Morality.Lei Zhong - 2016 - Grazer Philosophische Studien 93 (2):275-290.
    Recently some philosophers suggested an exclusion problem for moral non-naturalism, which is similar to the exclusion problem in philosophy of mind. In this article, the author aims to advance the discussion of exclusion in morality by investigating two influential solutions to the exclusion problem: the autonomy solution and the overdetermination solution. The author attempts to show that the moral non-naturalist can solve the exclusion problem in a way that is different from the approach to solving mental-physical exclusion. First, the author (...)
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  • Counterfactuals, Regularity and the Autonomy Approach.Lei Zhong - 2012 - Analysis 72 (1):75-85.
    Many philosophers insist that the most plausible solution to the exclusion problem is to adopt the so-called ‘autonomy approach’, which denies either upward or downward causation between mental and physical properties. But the question of whether the autonomy approach is compatible with respectable theories of causation has seldom been discussed in the literature. This paper considers two influential theories of causation, the counterfactual account and the regularity account. I argue that neither the counterfactual theory nor the regularity theory can support (...)
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  • Ecological Validity, Embodiment, and Killjoy Explanations in Developmental Psychology.Shane Zappettini - 2017 - Behavioral and Brain Sciences 40.
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  • Why Be a Methodological Individualist?Julie Zahle & Harold Kincaid - 2019 - Synthese 196 (2):655-675.
    In the recent methodological individualism-holism debate on explanation, there has been considerable focus on what reasons methodological holists may advance in support of their position. We believe it is useful to approach the other direction and ask what considerations methodological individualists may in fact offer in favor of their view about explanation. This is the background for the question we pursue in this paper: Why be a methodological individualist? We start out by introducing the methodological individualism-holism debate while distinguishing two (...)
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  • Supervenience, Dynamical Systems Theory, and Non-Reductive Physicalism.Jeffrey Yoshimi - 2012 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 63 (2):373-398.
    It is often claimed (1) that levels of nature are related by supervenience, and (2) that processes occurring at particular levels of nature should be studied using dynamical systems theory. However, there has been little consideration of how these claims are related. To address the issue, I show how supervenience relations give rise to ‘supervenience functions’, and use these functions to show how dynamical systems at different levels are related to one another. I then use this analysis to describe a (...)
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  • Demystifying Emergence.David Yates - 2016 - Ergo: An Open Access Journal of Philosophy 3:809-841.
    Are the special sciences autonomous from physics? Those who say they are need to explain how dependent special science properties could feature in irreducible causal explanations, but that’s no easy task. The demands of a broadly physicalist worldview require that such properties are not only dependent on the physical, but also physically realized. Realized properties are derivative, so it’s natural to suppose that they have derivative causal powers. Correspondingly, philosophical orthodoxy has it that if we want special science properties to (...)
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  • Rethinking Unity as a "Working Hypothesis" for Philosophy: How Archaeologists Exploit the Disunities of Science.Alison Wylie - 1999 - Perspectives on Science 7 (3):293-317.
    As a working hypothesis for philosophy of science, the unity of science thesis has been decisively challenged in all its standard formulations; it cannot be assumed that the sciences presuppose an orderly world, that they are united by the goal of systematically describing and explaining this order, or that they rely on distinctively scientific methodologies which, properly applied, produce domain-specific results that converge on a single coherent and comprehensive system of knowledge. I first delineate the scope of arguments against global (...)
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  • The Unreality of Realization.Chase Wrenn - 2010 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 88 (2):305-322.
    This paper argues against the realization principle, which reifies the realization relation between lower-level and higher-level properties. It begins with a review of some principles of naturalistic metaphysics. Then it criticizes some likely reasons for embracing the realization principle, and finally it argues against the principle directly. The most likely reasons for embracing the principle depend on the dubious assumption that special science theories cannot be true unless special science predicates designate properties. The principle itself turns out to be false (...)
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  • The Metaphysics of Emergence.Hong Yu Wong - 2005 - Noûs 39 (4):658 - 678.
    The following framework of theses, roughly hewn, shapes contemporary discussion of the problem of mental causation: (1) Non-Identity of the Mental and the Physical Mental properties and states cannot be identified with specific physical properties and states. (2) Causal Closure (Completeness) of the Physical The objective probability of every physical event is fixed by prior physical events and laws alone. (This thesis is sometimes expressed in terms of explanation: In tracing the causal history of any physical event, one need not (...)
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  • Why Materialism Is False, and Why It Has Nothing To Do with the Mind.Jaworski William - 2016 - Philosophy 91 (2):183-213.
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  • Tractability and Laws.Isaac Wilhelm - 2022 - Synthese 200 (4):1-17.
    According to the Best System Account of lawhood, laws of nature are theorems of the deductive systems that best balance simplicity and strength. In this paper, I advocate a different account of lawhood which is related, in spirit, to the BSA: according to my account, laws are theorems of deductive systems that best balance simplicity, strength, and also calculational tractability. I discuss two problems that the BSA faces, and I show that my account solves them. I also use my account (...)
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  • Objectually Understanding Informed Consent.Daniel A. Wilkenfeld - 2021 - Analytic Philosophy 62 (1):33-56.
    Analytic Philosophy, Volume 62, Issue 1, Page 33-56, March 2021.
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  • Free Will and Mental Quausation.Sara Bernstein & Jessica M. Wilson - 2016 - Journal of the American Philosophical Association 2 (2):310-331.
    Free will, if such there be, involves free choosing: the ability to mentally choose an outcome, where the outcome is 'free' in being, in some substantive sense, up to the agent of the choice. As such, it is clear that the questions of how to understand free will and mental causation are connected, for events of seemingly free choosing are mental events that appear to be efficacious vis-a-vis other mental events as well as physical events. Nonetheless, the free will and (...)
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  • Explanatory Depth.Brad Weslake - 2010 - Philosophy of Science 77 (2):273-294.
    I defend an account of explanatory depth according to which explanations in the non-fundamental sciences can be deeper than explanations in fundamental physics.
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  • Fitness Made Physical: The Supervenience of Biological Concepts Revisited.Marcel Weber - 1996 - Philosophy of Science 63 (3):411-431.
    The supervenience and multiple realizability of biological properties have been invoked to support a disunified picture of the biological sciences. I argue that supervenience does not capture the relation between fitness and an organism's physical properties. The actual relation is one of causal dependence and is, therefore, amenable to causal explanation. A case from optimality theory is presented and interpreted as a microreductive explanation of fitness difference. Such microreductions can have considerable scope. Implications are discussed for reductive physicalism in evolutionary (...)
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  • Chapter 4 Naturalisms, Materialisms and the Ideal World.Sheila Webb - 2020 - Journal of Philosophy of Education 54 (6):1546-1564.
    Journal of Philosophy of Education, EarlyView.
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  • Representation and the Imperfect Ideal.Charles Wallis - 1994 - Philosophy of Science 61 (3):407-28.
    This paper examines the nomic covariationist strategy of using idealization to define representation. While the literature has focused upon the possibility of defining ideal conditions for perception, I argue that nomic covariationist appeals to idealization are pseudoscientific and contrary to a foundational and empirically well-supported methodological presupposition in cognitive science. Moreover, one major figure in this camp fails to come to grips with its role and its problems in mainstream science. Thus he forwards a false dichotomy of the sciences and (...)
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  • Broad Versus Narrow Content in the Explanation of Action: Fodor on Frege Cases.Jerome C. Wakefield - 2002 - Philosophical Psychology 15 (2):119-33.
    A major obstacle to formulating a broad-content intentional psychology is the occurrence of ''Frege cases'' - cases in which a person apparently believes or desires Fa but not Fb and acts accordingly, even though "a" and "b" have the same broad content. Frege cases seem to demand narrow-content distinctions to explain actions by the contents of beliefs and desires. Jerry Fodor ( The elm and the expert: Mentalese and its semantics , Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 1994) argues that an explanatorily (...)
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  • On Leszek Nowak’s Conception of the Unity of Science.Mateusz Wajzer - forthcoming - Foundations of Science:1-18.
    The purpose of this essay is to present and analyse the basic assumptions of Leszek Nowak’s conception of the unity of science. According to Nowak, the unity of science is manifested in the common application of the method of idealisation in scientific research. In accordance with his conception, regardless of the discipline they represent, researchers go through the same stages in building a theory. Two key ones among them are: introducing idealising assumptions into the representation and then their concretisation. In (...)
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  • Typicality and Minutis Rectis Laws: From Physics to Sociology.Gerhard Wagner - 2020 - Journal for General Philosophy of Science / Zeitschrift für Allgemeine Wissenschaftstheorie 51 (3):447-458.
    This paper contributes to the clarification of the concept of “typicality” discussed in contemporary philosophy of physics by conceiving the nomological status of a typical behaviour such as that expressed in the Second Law of Thermodynamics as a “minutis rectis law”. A brief sketch of the discovery of “typicality” shows that there were ideas of typical behaviour not only in physics but also in sociology. On this basis and in analogy to the Second Law of Thermodynamics, it is shown that (...)
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  • Reduction Without Elimination: Mental Disorders as Causally Efficacious Properties.Gottfried Vosgerau & Patrice Soom - 2018 - Minds and Machines 28 (2):311-330.
    We argue that any account of mental disorders that meets the desideratum of assigning causal efficacy to mental disorders faces the so-called “causal exclusion problem”. We argue that fully reductive accounts solve this problem but run into the problem of multiple realizability. Recently advocated symptom-network approaches avoid the problem of multiple realizability, but they also run into the causal exclusion problem. Based on a critical analysis of these accounts, we will present our own account according to which mental disorders are (...)
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  • The Human Genome Project: Towards an Analysis of the Empirical, Ethical, and Conceptual Issues Involved. [REVIEW]Marga Vicedo - 1992 - Biology and Philosophy 7 (3):255-278.
    In this paper I claim that the goal of mapping and sequencing the human genome is not wholly new, but rather is an extension of an older project to map genes, a central aim of genetics since its birth. Thus, the discussion about the value of the HGP should not be posed in global terms of acceptance or rejection, but in terms of how it should be developed. The first section of this paper presents a brief history of the project. (...)
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  • On the Causal Completeness of Physics.Agustín Vicente - 2006 - International Studies in the Philosophy of Science 20 (2):149 – 171.
    According to an increasing number of authors, the best, if not the only, argument in favour of physicalism is the so-called 'overdetermination argument'. This argument, if sound, establishes that all the entities that enter into causal interactions with the physical world are physical. One key premise in the overdetermination argument is the principle of the causal closure of the physical world, said to be supported by contemporary physics. In this paper, I examine various ways in which physics may support the (...)
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  • Shapelessness in Context.Pekka Väyrynen - 2014 - Noûs 48 (3):573-593.
    Many philosophers believe that the extensions of evaluative terms and concepts aren’t unified under non-evaluative similarity relations and that this “shapelessness thesis” (ST) has significant metaethical implications regarding non-cognitivism, ethical naturalism, moral particularism, thick concepts and more. ST is typically offered as an explanation of why evaluative classifications appear to “outrun” classifications specifiable in independently intelligible non-evaluative terms. This paper argues that both ST and the outrunning point used to motivate it can be explained on the basis of more general (...)
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  • Whewell’s Hylomorphism as a Metaphorical Explanation for How Mind and World Merge.Ragnar van der Merwe - forthcoming - Journal for General Philosophy of Science / Zeitschrift für Allgemeine Wissenschaftstheorie.
    William Whewell’s 19th century philosophy of science is sometimes glossed over as a footnote to Kant. There is however a key feature of Whewell’s account worth noting. This is his appeal to Aristotle’s form/matter hylomorphism as a metaphor to explain how mind and world merge in successful scientific inquiry. Whewell’s hylomorphism suggests a middle way between rationalism and empiricism reminiscent of experience pragmatists like Steven Levine’s view that mind and world are entwined in experience. I argue however that Levine does (...)
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  • The World: An Unruly Mess. [REVIEW]J. van Brakel - 2001 - Foundations of Chemistry 3 (3):251-262.
  • Preface.Raphael van Riel & Albert Newen - 2011 - Philosophia Naturalis 48 (1):5-8.
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  • Identity, Asymmetry, and the Relevance of Meanings for Models of Reduction.Raphael van Riel - 2013 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 64 (4):747-761.
    Assume that water reduces to H2O. If so water is identical to H2O. At the same time, if water reduces to H2O then H2O does not reduce to water–the reduction relation is asymmetric. This generates a puzzle–if water just is H2O it is hard to see how we can account for the asymmetry of the reduction relation. The paper proposes a solution to this puzzle. It is argued that the reduction predicate generates intensional contexts and that in order to account (...)
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  • Troubles with Cognitive Neuroscience.Gabriel Vacariu & Mihai Vacariu - 2013 - Philosophia Scientae 17:151-170.
    This special issue is dedicated to one of the oldest and most controversial philosophical topics, the mind–body problem. Paradoxically, since Descartes until the present days, nobody has proposed a viable solution to this problem. In the last decades, through the unification of neuroscience and psychology, a new science, cognitive neuroscience, was created to deal with this problem. Using EEG, fMRI, and other apparatus, scientists try to grasp the “correlations” between any mental state and some neural patterns of activation. Articles and (...)
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  • Social Construction, HPC Kinds, and the Projectability of Human Categories.Jonathan Y. Tsou - 2020 - Philosophy of the Social Sciences 50 (2):115-137.
    This paper addresses the question of how human science categories yield projectable inferences by critically examining Ron Mallon’s ‘social role’ account of human kinds. Mallon contends that human categories are projectable when a social role produces a homeostatic property cluster (HPC) kind. On this account, human categories are projectable when various social mechanisms stabilize and entrench those categories. Mallon’s analysis obscures a distinction between transitory and robust projectable inferences. I argue that the social kinds discussed by Mallon yield the former, (...)
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  • Physicalism and Sparse Ontology.Kelly Trogdon - 2009 - Philosophical Studies 143 (2):147-165.
    Discussion of reductive and non-reductive physicalism formulated in a priority monist framework.
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  • The Individuation of Causal Powers by Events (and Consequences of the Approach).Brandon N. Towl - 2010 - Metaphysica 11 (1):49-61.
    In this paper, I explore the notion of a “causal power”, particularly as it is relevant to a theory of properties whereby properties are individuated by the causal powers they bestow on the objects that instantiate them. I take as my target certain eliminativist positions that argue that certain kinds of properties (or relations) do not exist because they fail to bestow unique causal powers on objects. But the notion of a causal powers is inextricably bound up with our notion (...)
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  • The Rational Character of Belief and the Argument for Mental Anomalism.E. C. Tiffany - 2001 - Philosophical Studies 103 (3):258-314.
    If mental anomalism is to be interpreted as a thesisunique to psychology, the anomalousness must begrounded in some feature unique to the mental,presumably its rational nature. While the ground forsuch arguments from normativity has been notoriouslyslippery terrain, there are two recently influentialstrategies which make the argument precise. The firstis to deny the possibility of psychophysical bridgelaws because of the different constitutive essences ofmental and physical laws, and the second is to arguethat mental anomalism follows from the uncodifiabilityof rationality. In this (...)
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  • The Role Functionalist Theory of Absences.Justin Tiehen - 2015 - Erkenntnis 80 (3):505-519.
    Functionalist theories have been proposed for just about everything: mental states, dispositions, moral properties, truth, causation, and much else. The time has come for a functionalist theory of nothing. Or, more accurately, a role functionalist theory of those absences that are causes and effects.
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  • The Cost of Forfeiting Causal Inheritance.Justin Thomas Tiehen - 2013 - Philosophical Studies 165 (2):491-507.
    Jaegwon Kim’s causal inheritance principle says that the causal powers of a mental property instance are identical with the causal powers of its particular physical realizer. Sydney Shoemaker’s subset account of realization is at odds with Kim’s principle: it says that a mental property instance has fewer causal powers than Kim’s principle entails. In this paper, I argue that the subset account should be rejected because it has intolerable consequences for mental causation, consequences that are avoided by accepting causal inheritance. (...)
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  • Physicalism.Justin Tiehen - 2018 - Analysis 78 (3):537-551.
    As a first pass, physicalism is the doctrine that there is nothing over and above the physical. Much recent philosophical work has been devoted to spelling out what this means in more rigorous terms and to assessing the case for the view. What follows is a survey of such work. I begin by looking at competing accounts of what is meant by nothing over and above and then turn to how the physical should be understood. Once we are clear on (...)
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  • Metaphysics of the Bayesian Mind.Justin Tiehen - forthcoming - Mind and Language.
    Recent years have seen a Bayesian revolution in cognitive science. This should be of interest to metaphysicians of science, whose naturalist project involves working out the metaphysical implications of our leading scientific accounts, and in advancing our understanding of those accounts by drawing on the metaphysical frameworks developed by philosophers. Toward these ends, in this paper I develop a metaphysics of the Bayesian mind. My central claim is that the Bayesian approach supports a novel empirical argument for normativism, the thesis (...)
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  • How Counterpart Theory Saves Nonreductive Physicalism.Justin Tiehen - 2019 - Mind 128 (509):139-174.
    Nonreductive physicalism faces serious problems regarding causal exclusion, causal heterogeneity, and the nature of realization. In this paper I advance solutions to each of those problems. The proposed solutions all depend crucially on embracing modal counterpart theory. Hence, the paper’s thesis: counterpart theory saves nonreductive physicalism. I take as my inspiration the view that mental tokens are constituted by physical tokens in the same way statues are constituted by lumps of clay. I break from other philosophers who have pursued this (...)
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  • Grounding Causal Closure.Justin Tiehen - 2015 - Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 96 (3):501-522.
    What does it mean to say that mind-body dualism is causally problematic in a way that other mind-body theories, such as the psychophysical type identity theory, are not? After considering and rejecting various proposals, I advance my own, which focuses on what grounds the causal closure of the physical realm. A metametaphysical implication of my proposal is that philosophers working without the notion of grounding in their toolkit are metaphysically impoverished. They cannot do justice to the thought, encountered in every (...)
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  • Explaining Causal Closure.Justin Tiehen - 2015 - Philosophical Studies 172 (9):2405-2425.
    The physical realm is causally closed, according to physicalists like me. But why is it causally closed, what metaphysically explains causal closure? I argue that reductive physicalists are committed to one explanation of causal closure to the exclusion of any independent explanation, and that as a result, they must give up on using a causal argument to attack mind–body dualism. Reductive physicalists should view dualism in much the way that we view the hypothesis that unicorns exist, or that the Kansas (...)
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  • Disproportional Mental Causation.Justin T. Tiehen - 2011 - Synthese 182 (3):375-391.
    In this paper I do three things. First, I argue that Stephen Yablo’s influential account of mental causation is susceptible to counterexamples involving what I call disproportional mental causation. Second, I argue that similar counterexamples can be generated for any alternative account of mental causation that is like Yablo’s in that it takes mental states and their physical realizers to causally compete. Third, I show that there are alternative nonreductive approaches to mental causation which reject the idea of causal competition, (...)
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  • Resilience as a Unifying Concept.Henrik Thorén - 2014 - International Studies in the Philosophy of Science 28 (3):303-324.
    In sustainability research and elsewhere, the notion of resilience is attracting growing interest and causing heated debate. Those focusing on resilience often emphasize its potential to bridge, integrate, and unify disciplines. This article attempts to evaluate these claims. Resilience is investigated as it appears in several fields, including materials science, psychology, ecology, and sustainability science. It is argued that two different concepts of resilience are in play: one local, the other global. The former refers to the ability to return to (...)
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  • Seventeenth-Century Mechanism: An Alternative Framework for Reductionism.Kari L. Theurer - 2013 - Philosophy of Science 80 (5):907-918.
    The current antireductionist consensus rests in part on the indefensibility of the deductive-nomological model of explanation, on which classical reductionism depends. I argue that the DN model is inessential to the reductionist program and that mechanism provides a better framework for thinking about reductionism. This runs counter to the contemporary mechanists’ claim that mechanism is an alternative to reductionism. I demonstrate that mechanists are committed to reductionism, as evidenced by the historical roots of the contemporary mechanist program. This view shares (...)
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  • Holography and Emergence.Nicholas J. Teh - 2013 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part B: Studies in History and Philosophy of Modern Physics 44 (3):300-311.
    In this paper, I discuss one form of the idea that spacetime and gravity might ‘emerge’ from quantum theory, i.e. via a holographic duality, and in particular via AdS/CFT duality. I begin by giving a survey of the general notion of duality, as well as its connection to emergence. I then review the AdS/CFT duality and proceed to discuss emergence in this context. We will see that it is difficult to find compelling arguments for the emergence of full quantum gravity (...)
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  • Two Kinds of Explanatory Integration in Cognitive Science.Samuel D. Taylor - 2019 - Synthese 198 (5):4573-4601.
    Some philosophers argue that we should eschew cross-explanatory integrations of mechanistic, dynamicist, and psychological explanations in cognitive science, because, unlike integrations of mechanistic explanations, they do not deliver genuine, cognitive scientific explanations. Here I challenge this claim by comparing the theoretical virtues of both kinds of explanatory integrations. I first identify two theoretical virtues of integrations of mechanistic explanations—unification and greater qualitative parsimony—and argue that no cross-explanatory integration could have such virtues. However, I go on to argue that this is (...)
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  • Naturalness in Context.Elanor Taylor - 2016 - Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy 59 (4):1-24.
    According to proponents of one influential account of metaphysical naturalness, properties fall along a spectrum from perfectly natural to highly non-natural. The perfectly natural end of the spectrum is occupied by properties that appear in the laws of nature, account for resemblance and causal powers, and ground other properties, whereas the highly non-natural properties at the spectrum’s other end are not like this at all. However, there is another phenomenon that looks very much like metaphysical naturalness but is context-dependent. I (...)
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  • Concepts as a Working Hypothesis.Samuel D. Taylor - 2021 - Philosophical Psychology (4):569-594.
    Some philosophers argue that all concepts cannot have the same representational structure, because no single kind of representation has been successful in accounting for the phenomena related to the formation and application of concepts. Here, I argue against this “appeal to cognitive science” by demonstrating that different theories of the kind concept cohere with different interpretations of the argument. To circumvent the threat of relativism, I argue that theories of concept should be understood as working hypotheses, which are provisionally accepted (...)
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  • Against Explanatory Realism.Elanor Taylor - 2018 - Philosophical Studies 175 (1):197-219.
    Explanatory realism is the position that all explanations give information about whatever metaphysically determines the explanandum. This view is popular and plays a central role in metaphysics, but in this paper I argue that explanatory realism is false. In Sect. 1 I introduce explanatory realism in its weak and strong versions, and discuss the argumentative work that explanatory realism is used for in contemporary metaphysics. In Sect. 2 I present a series of problem cases for explanatory realism, including explanation by (...)
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  • Knowledge as a Non‐Normative Relation.Kurt Sylvan - 2018 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 97 (1):190-222.
    According to a view I’ll call Epistemic Normativism, knowledge is normative in the same sense in which paradigmatically normative properties like justification are normative. This paper argues against EN in two stages and defends a positive non-normativist alternative. After clarifying the target in §1, I consider in §2 some arguments for EN from the premise that knowledge entails justification. I first raise some worries about inferring constitution from entailment. I then rehearse the reasons why some epistemologists reject the Entailment Thesis (...)
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