Synthese News

This post will give updates of the boycott status and I will move it to the top when it is updated. Update: Mohan Matthen asks if we are increasingly finding legal intervention in academic publishing. PD Magnus withdraws a paper from a Synthese special issue. The Status Page is now here. From here on, I Read More…

Domains and theories in science

We are getting to the tail end of this series. Here are the previous posts: The false analogy between species and art Pattern cladism and the myth of theory dependence of observation Species, phenomena and data More on phenomena Disambiguating the Theory-Dependence of Observation thesis (TDOT) In this post I want to discuss the theoretical Read More…

Spirits and Souls

Does Calamities of Nature read this blog? Or just Sean Carroll?

Disambiguating the Theory-Dependence of Observation thesis (TDOT)

For the past half century it has been largely agreed that one cannot observe without prior theory. This is rarely explicated, however, and there seems to be some ambiguity in the claims made. So I will do a rough taxonomy of the TDOT. When N. R. Hanson introduced the claim it was this: Weak TDOT: Read More…

Is reality liberal biased? Are liberals reality biased?

Josh Rosenau has a piece up on Chris Mooney’s latest article on the Republican war on science in the US. Conservative bodies around the western world seem to resist science when it conflicts with policy (usually driven by PR from large corporations), so the point is more than simply American politics. One often hears of Read More…

More on phenomena

Semifinalist for the 3 Quarks Daily Philosophy Prize 2011 In my last post, I asked whether there was a foundation for my view that species are extra-theoretical phenomena. I have done some further reading, especially Michela Massimi’s book Kant and Philosophy of Science Today, which I will have to buy. I had thought Kant was Read More…

Species, phenomena and data

Just lately I have been trying to support my belief that species are not units of biological theory, but phenomena that call for explanation. Several things have followed from this: Species turn out on this view not to be causal entities, but rather epiphenomena of causal processes at the individual and populational levels. Species don’t Read More…

Is the soul something we should be agnostic about?

In a piece on the Scientific American guest blog, the day before mine, Sean Carroll made an interesting argument: Claims that some form of consciousness persists after our bodies die and decay into their constituent atoms face one huge, insuperable obstacle: the laws of physics underlying everyday life are completely understood, and there’s no way Read More…

Quote: Eddington’s two tables

Arthur Stanley Eddington was an Englishman, a physicist, a pacifist and a clever writer: I have settled down to the task of writing these lectures and have drawn up my chairs to my two tables. Two tables! Yes; there are duplicates of every object about me — two tables, two chairs, two pens. This is Read More…

Did humans lose dominance?

An extensive critical review has just been published online in advance of publication for Biology and Philosophy. The title is “Evolution and the loss of hierarchies: Dubreuil’s Human evolution and the origin of hierarchies: the state of nature” by Catherine Driscoll. I haven’t read Benoit Dubreuil’s book. It looks from the review that it is Read More…