Philosophy of Science

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Ladyman, James (2002) Understanding the Philosophy of Science. London: Routledge.

Ladyman, James (2002) Understanding the Philosophy of Science. London: Routledge.

It was widespread before Kuhn’s work for philosophers to believe that what a particular scientific term, say ‘atom’, refers to is deter- mined by what the theory says about atoms. If this is right then different theories about ‘atoms’, which say different things about them, will actually refer to different things. This is called reference incommensurability, and it is bad news for realism, for it suggests that different theories about ‘electrons’ are actually all about differ- ent things, and hence there is no reason to believe that science has made progress in understanding the underlying nature of things. This seems to imply that there is no one way the world is, but that rather the world we live in is an artefact of our theories about it. Indeed, Kuhn says that ‘when paradigms change the world changes with them’ (Kuhn 1962: 111). On this view, the different languages of dif- ferent theories correspond to the different worlds of different theor- ies, and the proponents of competing paradigms inhabit different worlds; for example, the world of Einstein is literally a different world from that of Newton. Consequently, we cannot say that Copernicus discovered that Ptolemy and earlier philosophers were wrong to think that the Earth revolves around the Sun, because Copernicus’ Earth is literally a different object from Ptolemy’s. In this way, Kuhn has been perceived as undermining the notion of scientific truth and even of an objective reality. Hence, there are some people who argue not that scientific knowledge is relative, but that reality itself is socially constructed. So, for example, it is sometimes said that physicists literally construct electrons in their laboratories. On this view, which is called social constructivism, an electron has the same ontological status as say a political party, or a nation state, in the sense that both only exist because people believe they exist.
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305 Lee mas

Philosophy of science in an age of Neo-Darwinian apologetics

Philosophy of science in an age of Neo-Darwinian apologetics

Kant famously began—and Darwin largely completed—the intellectual drive against natural theology by distinguishing the (strong) psychologi- cal compulsion behind its view of science from its (unproven) epistemo- logical basis. Nearly two centuries later, intelligent design theory is now trying to reverse this Kant-Darwin move in thought, aided by a generation of theologically inspired scientists trained mainly not in Darwin’s own field studies and natural history, but chemistry, engineering and applied statistics, often with a strong grounding in computer simulations. Intelli- gent design theory has run into many legal and political battles in the United States, whose limits on the expression of religion in publicly funded schools have been used against the theory by Neo-Darwinian apologists. For them, intelligent design theory is ‘born again creationism’. One consequence has been that intelligent design theorists tend not to talk about the properties of the ‘designing intelligence’ behind nature, some- times even suggesting that life could have been seeded from an extrater- restrial source, as was suggested originally by the great Swedish chemist Svante Arrhenius and updated by the co-discoverer of the double helix model of DNA , Francis Crick. In that respect, the theory’s proponents have
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11 Lee mas

Toward a philosophy of biotechnology: An essay

Toward a philosophy of biotechnology: An essay

Cuevas Badallo’s argument is simultaneously simple and complex. The simplicity is to be found in a schema she borrows from Miguel Angel Quintanilla (1996; in this respect, he does not depart far from Bunge’s line of argumentation). According to Quintanilla, knowledge of any kind must fall into one of four categories: tacit practical, explicit practical, tacit des- criptive, or explicit descriptive. (The original Spanish has operacional and representacional, and Bunge sometimes uses English transliterations of those terms; but standard lingo in English-language philosophy of science which, recall, almost never talks about the engineering sciences is closer to practical and descriptive, even when it implicitly accepts Bunge’s ap- plied science model.)
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14 Lee mas

Why Teach History of Economic Thought Today?

Why Teach History of Economic Thought Today?

During a good part of the time HET has existed as a subdiscipline on its own right, it has been identified as a refuge for heterodox economics (Blaug, 2001: 147). All those in disagreement with mainstream developments turned to HET as a way to express their discontent. Those not sharing these disagreements, consider these discontent economists as lacking the necessary mathematical or technical skills needed to follow mainstream developments. Hahn (1985) asserts that there are really no rival theories but just contrary opinions: “The contrary impression stems from a misunderstanding of theorizing and of course from willful obfuscation of those who seek power and influence or who are driven by millennial dreams” (Hahn, 1985: 28). Mainstream economic theory would be, according to this interpretation, the only theory that allows understanding economic phenomena and only by doing economic theory it is possible to understand, incorporate and overcome any criticism that may arise. The specificity of Economics would be that external criticism is not important when coming from other theories and only internal criticism is relevant. So, by associating HET with external criticism, its irrelevance for economic discussion is evident. These positions have had radical periods, but in general, they have established a growing separation and a difficult dialogue between those working in Economics and those working in its history (distinction made possible only by the increasing specialization within Economics). In extreme cases, some historians of economic thought have considered convenient retiring from economics departments and faculties and joining Philosophy of Science or Cultural Studies departments (c.f.Weintraub 1996, 2002; Schabas 1992, 2002), losing all interest in economic theory and applied economics analysis developments. This self-isolating process contributes and reinforces HET’s marginality and leads to research in this area increasingly removed from the interests of economists.
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20 Lee mas

COMPLEJIDAD DE LOS SISTEMAS SOCIALES: UN RETO PARA LAS CIENCIAS SOCIALES

COMPLEJIDAD DE LOS SISTEMAS SOCIALES: UN RETO PARA LAS CIENCIAS SOCIALES

Si se hace un repaso a algunas de las mejores revistas sobre filosofía y teoría de las ciencias sociales –por ejemplo, Philosophy of Science, British Journal for Philosophy of Science, Philosophy of the Social Sciences–, el espacio dedicado a la discusión de la(s) relacion(es) entre ciencias sociales y humanas y ciencias de la complejidad es prácticamente nula. De otra parte, si se repasa algunas de las mejores revistas de complejidad –notablemente Complexity–, la situación no es diferente, con la particularidad de que se trata de aplicaciones o estudios puntuales acerca de la complejidad de determinados fenómenos, comportamientos y sistemas. Con tanta mayor razón se amplía y se fortalece esta visión cuando se examinan libros, capítulos de libros y memorias de eventos en el mundo sobre el tema. Una excepción notable es, entre nosotros, por lo demás, la revista Cinta de Moebio, cuya fortaleza –que es una revista hispanohablante– es al mismo tiempo su debilidad, si se tiene en cuenta que, de hecho, el fuerte de la ciencia se hace hoy por hoy en lengua inglesa (2).
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12 Lee mas

The Science of Macroeconomics

The Science of Macroeconomics

Some frictional unemployment is inevitable in a changing economy. For many reasons, the types of goods that firms and households demand vary over time. As the demand for goods shifts, so does the demand for the labor that produces those goods. The invention of the personal computer, for example, reduced the demand for typewriters and, as a result, for labor by typewriter manufacturers. At the same time, it increased the demand for labor in the elec- tronics industry. Similarly, because different regions produce different goods, the demand for labor may be rising in one part of the country and falling in another. A decline in the price of oil may cause the demand for labor to fall in oil-producing states such as Texas, but because cheap oil makes driving less expensive, it increases the demand for labor in auto-producing states such as Michigan. Economists call a change in the composition of demand among in- dustries or regions a sectoral shift. Because sectoral shifts are always occur- ring, and because it takes time for workers to change sectors, there is always frictional unemployment.
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1472 Lee mas

A first encounter: French environmental philosophy from an anglo-american perspective

A first encounter: French environmental philosophy from an anglo-american perspective

From the vantage point of hindsight, the first French sortie into envi- ronmental philosophy, Serres’ Le contrat naturel was both two decades behind Anglophone environmental philosophy and two decades ahead of it. Two decades behind, as the Anglophone tradition got started in the 1970s and Le contrat naturel was published in 1990. Two decades ahead because Serres was moved to venture into the terra incognita of environ- mental philosophy by the phenomenon of global climate change. With the single exception of Dale Jamieson, in 1992, American, Australian, and British environmental philosophers were still primarily concerned with local and regional environmental issues, with islands of wilderness, with “old growth forests,” and with local and regional habitat for endangered species. Most American, Australian, and British environmental philoso- phers were autodidacts in ecology with its (literally) regional ontologies of biotic communities and ecosystems. Serres was not only thinking on a planetary scale, he vividly remarked on the unprecedented nature of globality for philosophy. It is my opinion that traditional Anglophone environmental ethics (such as the land ethic and my elaboration and defense of it) is incapable of just being “scaled up” so to philosophically engage the challenge of global climate change. We have to go back to square one and start all over from scratch if we are to meet that challenge. To do so we can turn first to Serres and to his intellectual descendants, Bruno Latour and Catherine Larrère, as points of departure. From them I have recently learned more than I thought I could back in 1992.
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13 Lee mas

Cliometrics : a market account of a scientific community, 1957-2005

Cliometrics : a market account of a scientific community, 1957-2005

To accomplish this article’s goal I find it useful to use an analogy from economics which is to consider cliometrics as a collective enterprise managed by a scientific community whose goal is to provide or produce explanations of a set of questions that society asks. Historically, scientific communities emerged as organizations devoted to methodically produce knowledge following a nineteenth-century structure of social sciences; that is to say, through disciplinary divisions sanctioned by modern universities. In the twentieth century, market forces prominently drove human and non- human capital investment, leading scholars and their societies build market- like mechanisms to the resource allocation problem of creating knowledge with limited resources and alternative uses. Thinking of a pseudo-market of knowledge helps us observe more systematically pressures and responses that cliometricians have faced insofar as an enterprise that has competed, exchanged and evolutionarily cooperated with other scientific communities. This analogy fits particularly well since this U.S. scientific community, and overall U.S. academia, has shown to be pervaded by market-like mechanisms of competition (Coats, 1980). What this analogy seeks to underscore is the role played by cliometricians in building richer social sciences. This is a point not explicitly developed by the most recent studies on U.S. cliometrics like Greif’s (1997a) and Lamoureaux’s (1998). These articles are methodological reviews concentrated on either showing cliometricians’ latest developments or criticisms. This article draws upon these assessments but goes beyond by framing them as part of this scientific community’s evolution.
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36 Lee mas

TítuloTowarts a computer science program: adventures of a mathematician in the world of informatics

TítuloTowarts a computer science program: adventures of a mathematician in the world of informatics

research and teaching in computing engineering and related subjects – some reflec- tions” organized by José Luis Freire in A Coruña, I was flattered but also somewhat surprised. Of course, I have been knowing José Luis for many years and even if I have been acquainted with certain subjects within computer science, I still remain a mathematician, even a rather pure mathematician. From this point of view, I might definitely not be the best placed person to answer fundamental questions about good practices within the field of computing engineering. It was only later, when glancing through the list of participants and speakers, that I realized that the aim of the meeting was actually to bring together people with different background and experience, to interact on the subject and thus to attain extra insight and ideas based on this confrontation.
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21 Lee mas

A genealogy of post-truth: philosophy, affects, technology

A genealogy of post-truth: philosophy, affects, technology

homosexual relationship -despite their lack of verosimilitude, they were quickly propagated through Twitter, Facebook, Reddit, and the like. And the same goes for false factual statements, like the rate of criminality in Germany or unemployment numbers during the Obama presidency, that Trump himself has used in his Twitter account in support of his policies. Such news feel right, as they appeal to partisans willing to confirm their beliefs. The basic foundation of post-truth is here at play: we do not see in order to believe, we believe and thus we see. And the same goes for rumours, which are experiencing an unwelcome spring that can have deadly consequences -dozens have been lynched in India after being falsely accused via WhatsApp of rape or abduction- and conspiracy theories. Rumour and falsities are then easier to disseminate in the new technological context: they gain traction because they fit the previous beliefs of those who receive and spread them (see Sunstein 2008). The aforementioned silo effect helps to explain this dynamic, as it facilitates the unfolding of social cascades that multiply the reach of misinformation. Digital communities thus reinforce the confirmation bias, pushes us to conform with our peers, and increase polarization between moral tribes. And vice versa: as people tend to consume information confirming their beliefs while ignoring or rejecting contrary information, a media environment where this is easily done fosters the creation of echo chambers. Therefore, digitization changes the reach and range of false news, biased information, and fringed views. They can travel farther than before, sharing space with the mainstream and actually blurring the boundaries that used to separate them.
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14 Lee mas

Event As A Concept Of Philosophy And Narratology

Event As A Concept Of Philosophy And Narratology

The criterion of homogeneity can be better understood through the principle of correlation of quantitative and qualitative changes (Hegel, 2014). Within certain limits of quantitative changes the same quality can be preserved, which, of course, is only one of the many possible ways of looking at an object. After a certain limit of quantitative changes, quality disappears, lengthening into some other quality. Qualitative change is, in fact, understood as the entry of an object into a new class of objects to which it did not belong before. Qualitative change makes it possible for the subject to participate in connections, relations, and processes that were previously impossible for it. For example, the ripened fruit of a plant is able to give life to a new plant; the assembled car is able to drive; you can cross a river over frozen water, etc. The concept of qualitative change correlates with the ideas about the events of Vendler, Mourelatos and Hennig.
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9 Lee mas

Some contributions of philosophy to education

Some contributions of philosophy to education

Modes of transportation, communication, and interaction in every sphere have been radically accelerated, with the result that our globe has shrunk in physical size while cultural distances have, ironically, often widened and become more opaque to mutual understanding. And while the sciences and the global technical culture they have made possible base themselves on appeal to stringent empirical tests, open theoretical debate, and objective criteria of evidence, large segments of our public have increasingly rejected the very notions of objective inquiry and the pursuit of truth, replacing them with the idea that subjectivism rules and (almost) anything goes. Clearly, there is work for philosophy to do in responding to our new intellectual and cultural situation. I shall here outline some types of philosophical work that seem to me pressing under present circumstances and of particular importance in and for education.
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8 Lee mas

Bioética y multiculturalismo: políticas públicas en España (1978-2013). El "hecho cultural" ante la revolución biotecnológica

Bioética y multiculturalismo: políticas públicas en España (1978-2013). El "hecho cultural" ante la revolución biotecnológica

“According to his own account, Löther heard the word "bioethics" in the 1990s for the first time: since the word, nevertheless, seemed to him somehow familiar, Löther started to search through the bundle of old issues of the Kosmos journal, left to him by his News about the discovery of Jahr eventually was spread mainly thanks to work of Eve-Marie Engels of the University of Tübingen (who had organised the conference Löther attended and eventually edited the proceedings). Engels first mentioned Löther’s discovery in an article sub voce "Bioethik" in the Metzler Lexicon in 1999, then in a paper from 2001. This paper was translated into Portuguese and republished in 2004 in Brazilian journal Veritas from Porto Alegre. There, the paper attracted attention of the Porto Alegre clinician and university professor José Roberto Goldim, and of Leo Pessini, vicerector and bioethics professor at St. Camillus University Centre, who both devoted several papers to the Jahr topic. Under the influence of Goldim and Pessini, "the Jahr news" spread all over Brazil: Ferreira Carvalho da Cruz and Contri Pitton of Sao Paulo State University (UNESP) in Rio Claro deliver a talk on Jahr in 2009, Mascarenhas and de Oliveira Santa Rosa publish a paper, etc. As yet, the most thorough analysis of Jahr’s 1927 paper and the "bioethical imperative" has been offered by Hans-Martin Sass of the Kennedy Institute of Ethics at Georgetown University in Washington. In 2007, Sass published a first series of papers devoted to Jahr sent them in various international journals in Europe, Asia, and South America. By the end of 2010, Sass edited a collection of 15 papers by Fritz Jahr (published in German original), as well as a selection of 6 papers of Jahr’s in English translation (in a second edition, in May 2011, 15 articles were translated into English).” MUZUR, Amir and 5LQþLü ,YD ³)ULW] Jahr (1895-1953): a life story of the "inventor" of bioethics and a tentative reconstruction of the chronology of the discovery of his work”, JAHR, Vol. 2, Nº 4, 2011, pp. 385-394, en ANNUAL of the Department of Social Sciences and Medical Humanities at University of Rijeka, Faculty of Medicine, “Proceedings of the 1st international conference `Fritz Jahr and European Roots of Bioethics’", (Rijeka, March 11-12, 2011), JAHR, Volume 2, Number 4, pp. 373-612.
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635 Lee mas

El cuidado humanizado y la percepción del paciente en el Hospital EsSalud Huacho. Octubre de 2010

El cuidado humanizado y la percepción del paciente en el Hospital EsSalud Huacho. Octubre de 2010

This study shows the perception of humanized care of patients hospitalized in Lanatta Gustavo Luján of EsSalud Huacho during October 2010. In the following cross sectional descriptive study, we made a survey of 65 patients over 18 years, longer than 24 hours of hospitalization in the Department of Medicine, Obstetrics and Surgery, of both sexes. The results show that sometimes is perceived, 44% support in the care, emotional support 47,7%, 35,4% physical support, a 32,2% qualities of nursing proactivity 30,8%, 52,3% and 55,4% empathy availability in care. 36,9% never perceived to be prioritized in your care. We conclude that there is a low perception of humanized care at the nurse to patients showing a low quality care.
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9 Lee mas

La naturaleza de la biología una visión de la biología a través de una lente filosófica

La naturaleza de la biología una visión de la biología a través de una lente filosófica

– “. . . Mendel’s discovery of the laws heredity, . . . could not at that time (or ever?) have been deduced from molecular biology, but which have since been explained in those terms.” (p. vi) – We have learned much by looking at the parts but “there are

25 Lee mas

Abraham Maslow, las nececidades humanas y su relación con los cuidadores profesionales

Abraham Maslow, las nececidades humanas y su relación con los cuidadores profesionales

Esta teoría tuvo importantes defensores como también destacados detractores. En contraposición, Manfred Max-Neef estableció el problema de la piramidalidad social, llevando la jerarquización de las necesidades a la estructura social. En su obra Desarrollo a escala humana planteó que las necesidades son universables, finitas y pocas, además de clasificables. A Max-Neef se le unió la postura de Wahba y Bridley, en su obra Maslow Reconsidered: A review of Research on te Need Hierarchy Theory (1976). Encontraron que existían pocas evidencias de que, como apuntaba Maslow, las necesidades precisan organizarse de manera jerárquica con un considerable orden.
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7 Lee mas

Philosophy and Its Relation to Religion and Arts

Philosophy and Its Relation to Religion and Arts

Not with standing the declared rejection of rhetorical devices, Socratesuses many of the mind Plato’s dialogues, and this is not an accident or inconsistency - such devices are strictly necessary for the purpose of conve- ying a philosophical idea. After all, philoso- phy also does not so much describe an object as it seeks to convey the thought that the phi- losopher has seized. However, it is impossible to convey a thought like a letter in an enve- lope, from one consciousness to another, the philosopher can only hope that his speech or the text will evoke a thought that is close in content in the consciousness of the perceiver. And this task to be decided requires the use of the artistic methods as well: in particular, it can be rhetorical techniques - figures of eloquence, rhetorical gestures, as well as the ways of persuasion. In the final analysis, we should always think for ourselves - using the results of someone else’s thinking (including thinking of the philosopher) will be just the assimilation of information, but will never be thinking itself. The philosopher can only ser- ve as a kind of a road sign in that direction, perhaps,there lies the thought. we should always move along this road alone. Howe- ver,so as toreally want for a person to move in the direction indicated by the philosopher,
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8 Lee mas

TítuloContemporary perspectives in philosophy and methodology of science

TítuloContemporary perspectives in philosophy and methodology of science

Second there is the very important point that our understanding of determinism is clearly restricted to isolated systems, that is, determinism is only defined for such systems. Interactions from “outside” can manifestly destroy the deterministic evolution of a physical system and put bluntly, the very last thing human beings are, are isolated systems. The common response to this point, that we need only consider the evolution of a larger system namely the original system plus the larger environment and think of that as isolated may suffice for some systems, but hardly for human beings. Suppose we took the whole solar system, containing our planet, could we regard that as sufficiently isolated? The truth is we have no idea. Certainly if those scenarios which attribute the extinction of the dinosaurs to a supernovae in another part of the galaxy are correct then we could have two histories of the large system (comprising the solar system) one in which the dinosaurs were not made extinct (by the supernovae) and in which consequently humans did not evolve and the other, the actual one, in which they were and humans did evolve. The larger system (earth plus solar system) would then be indeterministic, we would have two histories identical in their initial stages which then diverged. Perhaps then we should consider the entire galaxy as an isolated system, which it may properly be, for some purposes, but how could we assume that was so for the evolution of life which may very well be dependent very finely on initial conditions. The point is that the problem is not well-defined. We know we can’t absolutely isolate systems (think only of the gravitational potential which pervades the entire universe), so we would have to consider the entire universe as an isolated system. But I have grave doubts as to whether there is a theory of “everything” that can make sense of such a notion.
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288 Lee mas

Althusser – Philosophy and the spontaneous philosophy of the scientists

Althusser – Philosophy and the spontaneous philosophy of the scientists

consciousness, of the transcendental subject - just like the dogmatic philosophies of absolute knowledge - were no longer possible philosophically. A new philosophy was necessary, one capable of thinking the historical insertion of philosophy in history, its real relation to scientific and social practices (political, economic, ideological), while taking account of the knowledge- relation it maintains with its object. It is this theoretical necessity that gave birth to dialectical materialism, the only philosophy that treats knowledge as the historical process of production of knowledges and that reflects its new object at once within materialism and within dialectics. Other transformations in philosophy were always based upon either the ideological negation of the reality of history, its sublimation in God (Plato, Descartes, Leibniz), or an ideological conception of history as the realization of philosophy itself (Kant, Hegel, Husserl): they were never able to attain the reality of history, which they always misunderstood or left aside. If the transformation imposed on philosophy by Marx is genuinely revolutionary from a philosophical point of view, this is because it took the reality of history seriously for the first time in history, and this simple difference comprehensively overturned the bases of existing philosophy. 2. As for the proper function of philosophy, and its absolute necessity for Marxism, this too is based on profound theoretical reasons. Lenin expounded them very clearly in Materialism and Empirio-criticism. He showed that philosophy always played a fundamental theoretical role in the constitution and development of knowledge, and that Marxist philosophy simply resumed this role on its own account, but with means that were, in principle, infinitely purer and more fertile. We know that knowledge - in its strong sense, scientific knowledge - is not born and does not develop in isolation, protected by who-knows-what miracle from the influences of the surrounding world. Among these are social and political influences which may intervene directly in the life of the sciences, and very seriously compromise the course of their
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141 Lee mas

The end of philosophy

The end of philosophy

To say this is to utter an amphibolous sentence, not wholly unlike “Last night I shot an intruder in my pajamas”. When the Greeks spoke of the end of philosophy, “end” had the sense of telos or goal, the desired outcome. Nowadays, talk about the end of phi- losophy takes “end” in its meaning of stop, cessation, terminus. Actually, the two senses have always gone hand in hand. One who wishes to espouse the end of philosophy in one sense of “end” is committed to rejecting it in the other sense. Thus, Plato opposed Protagoras the Father of the Sophists who claimed that what is true for me is true for me and what is true for you is true for you even if you are holding A and I am holding –A. As Plato saw, this posi- tion is the end of truth; accordingly he spent what might seem an inordinate amount of time discussing the sophistic principle. And
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16 Lee mas

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