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Billy Wheeler
Sun Yat-Sen University
  1. Humeanism and Exceptions in the Fundamental Laws of Physics.Billy Wheeler - 2017 - Principia: An International Journal of Epistemology 21 (3):317-337.
    It has been argued that the fundamental laws of physics do not face a ‘problem of provisos’ equivalent to that found in other scientific disciplines (Earman, Roberts and Smith 2002) and there is only the appearance of exceptions to physical laws if they are confused with differential equations of evolution type (Smith 2002). In this paper I argue that even if this is true, fundamental laws in physics still pose a major challenge to standard Humean approaches to lawhood, as they (...)
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  2.  4
    Simplicity, Language-Dependency and the Best System Account of Laws.Billy Wheeler - 2016 - Theoria: Revista de Teoría, Historia y Fundamentos de la Ciencia 31 (2):189-206.
    It is often said that the best system account of laws needs supplementing with a theory of perfectly natural properties. The ‘strength’ and ‘simplicity’ of a system is language-relative and without a fixed vocabulary it is impossible to compare rival systems. Recently a number of philosophers have attempted to reformulate the BSA in an effort to avoid commitment to natural properties. I assess these proposals and argue that they are problematic as they stand. Nonetheless, I agree with their aim, and (...)
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  3.  20
    Idealization and the Laws of Nature.Billy Wheeler - 2018 - Switzerland: Springer.
    This new study provides a refreshing look at the issue of exceptions and shows that much of the problem stems from a failure to recognize at least two kinds of exception-ridden law: ceteris paribus laws and ideal laws. Billy Wheeler offers the first book-length discussion of ideal laws. The key difference between these two kinds of laws concerns the nature of the conditions that need to be satisfied and their epistemological role in the law’s formulation and discovery. He presents a (...)
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  4.  91
    Simplicity, Language-Dependency and the Best System Account of Laws.Billy Wheeler - 2014 - Theoria : An International Journal for Theory, History and Fundations of Science 31 (2):189-206.
    It is often said that the best system account of laws needs supplementing with a theory of perfectly natural properties. The ‘strength’ and ‘simplicity’ of a system is language-relative and without a fixed vocabulary it is impossible to compare rival systems. Recently a number of philosophers have attempted to reformulate the BSA in an effort to avoid commitment to natural properties. I assess these proposals and argue that they are problematic as they stand. Nonetheless, I agree with their aim, and (...)
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  5.  50
    Reliabilism and the Testimony of Robots.Billy Wheeler - 2020 - Techné: Research in Philosophy and Technology 24 (3):332-356.
    We are becoming increasingly dependent on robots and other forms of artificial intelligence for our beliefs. But how should the knowledge gained from the “say-so” of a robot be classified? Should it be understood as testimonial knowledge, similar to knowledge gained in conversation with another person? Or should it be understood as a form of instrument-based knowledge, such as that gained from a calculator or a sundial? There is more at stake here than terminology, for how we treat objects as (...)
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  6.  13
    Truth Tracking and Knowledge From Virtual Reality.Billy Wheeler - 2020 - Logos and Episteme 11 (3):369-388.
    Is it possible to gain knowledge about the real world based solely on experiences in virtual reality? According to one influential theory of knowledge, you cannot. Robert Nozick's truth-tracking theory requires that, in addition to a belief being true, it must also be sensitive to the truth. Yet beliefs formed in virtual reality are not sensitive: in the nearest possible world where P is false, you would have continued to believe that P. This is problematic because there is increasing awareness (...)
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  7.  36
    Giving Robots a Voice: Testimony, Intentionality, and the Law.Billy Wheeler - 2017 - In Steve Thompson & Steven John Thompson (eds.), Androids, Cyborgs, and Robots in Contemporary Society and Culture. Hershey, PA, USA: pp. 1-34.
    Humans are becoming increasingly dependent on the ‘say-so' of machines, such as computers, smartphones, and robots. In epistemology, knowledge based on what you have been told is called ‘testimony' and being able to give and receive testimony is a prerequisite for engaging in many social roles. Should robots and other autonomous intelligent machines be considered epistemic testifiers akin to those of humans? This chapter attempts to answer this question as well as explore the implications of robot testimony for the criminal (...)
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  8.  10
    Idealization, Scientific Realism, and the Improvement Model of Confirmation.Billy Wheeler - 2020 - Science and Philosophy 8 (2):7-15.
    That many of our most successful scientific theories involve one or more idealizations poses a challenge to traditional models of theory confirmation. One popular response amongst scientific realists is the “improvement model of confirmation”: if tightening up one or more of the idealizations leads to greater predictive accuracy, then this supports the belief that the theory’s inaccuracy is a result of its idealizations and not because it is wrong. In this article I argue that the improvement model is deeply flawed (...)
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    Compressibility and the Algorithmic Theory of Laws.Billy Wheeler - 2019 - Principia: An International Journal of Epistemology 23 (3):461-485.
    The algorithmic theory of laws claims that the laws of nature are the algorithms in the best possible compression of all empirical data. This position assumes that the universe is compressible and that data received from observing it is easily reproducible using a simple set of rules. However, there are three sources of evidence that suggest that the universe as a whole is incompressible. The first comes from the practice of science. The other two come from the nature of the (...)
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  10.  10
    How to Find Productive Causes in Big Data: An Information Transmission Account.Billy Wheeler - 2018 - Filozofia Nauki 26 (4):5-28.
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    Computer Simulations in Metaphysics: Possibilities and Limitations.Billy Wheeler - 2019 - Manuscrito 42 (3):108-148.
    Computer models and simulations have provided enormous benefits to researchers in the natural and social sciences, as well as many areas of philosophy. However, to date, there has been little attempt to use computer models in the development and evaluation of metaphysical theories. This is a shame, as there are good reasons for believing that metaphysics could benefit just as much from this practice as other disciplines. In this paper I assess the possibilities and limitations of using computer models in (...)
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  12.  5
    Mark Silcox, , "Experience Machines: The Philosophy of Virtual Worlds." Reviewed By.Billy Wheeler - 2019 - Philosophy in Review 39 (4):209-211.
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