Synthese

http://link.springer.com/journal/11229

List of Papers (Total 349)

Due deference to denialism: explaining ordinary people’s rejection of established scientific findings

There is a robust scientific consensus concerning climate change and evolution. But many people reject these expert views, in favour of beliefs that are strongly at variance with the evidence. It is tempting to try to explain these beliefs by reference to ignorance or irrationality, but those who reject the expert view seem often to be no worse informed or any less rational than ...

Implicit trust in clinical decision-making by multidisciplinary teams

In clinical practice, decision-making is not performed by individual knowers but by an assemblage of people and instruments in which no one member has full access to every piece of evidence. This is due to decision making teams consisting of members with different kinds of expertise, as well as to organisational and time constraints. This raises important questions for the ...

Why the social sciences are irreducible

It is often claimed that the social sciences cannot be reduced to a lower-level individualistic science. The standard argument for this position (usually labelled explanatory holism) is the Fodorian multiple realizability argument. Its defenders endorse token–token(s) identities between “higher-level” social objects and pluralities/sums of “lower-level” individuals (a position ...

Hoops and Barns: a new dilemma for Sosa

This paper critically assesses Sosa’s normative framework for performances as well as its application to epistemology. We first develop a problem for one of Sosa’s central theses in the general theory of performance normativity according to which performances attain fully desirable status if and only if they are fully apt. More specifically, we argue that given Sosa’s account of ...

Part of nature and division in Margaret Cavendish’s materialism

This paper pursues a question about the spatial relations between the three types of matter posited in Margaret Cavendish’s metaphysics. It examines the doctrine of complete blending and a distinctive argument against atomism, looking for grounds on which Cavendish can reject the existence of spatial regions composed of only one or two types of matter. It establishes, through that ...

Lessons from the Large Hadron Collider for model-based experimentation: the concept of a model of data acquisition and the scope of the hierarchy of models

According to the hierarchy of models (HoM) account of scientific experimentation developed by Patrick Suppes and elaborated by Deborah Mayo, theoretical considerations about the phenomena of interest are involved in an experiment through theoretical models that in turn relate to experimental data through data models, via the linkage of experimental models. In this paper, I dispute ...

Time travel, hyperspace and Cheshire Cats

H. G. Wells’ Time Traveller inhabits uniform Newtonian time. Where relativistic/quantum travelers into the past follow spacetime curvatures, past-bound Wellsians must reverse their direction of travel relative to absolute time. William Grey and Robin Le Poidevin claim reversing Wellsians must overlap with themselves or fade away piecemeal like the Cheshire Cat. Self-overlap is ...

The epistemic superiority of experiment to simulation

This paper defends the naïve thesis that the method of experiment has per se an epistemic superiority over the method of computer simulation, a view that has been rejected by some philosophers writing about simulation, and whose grounds have been hard to pin down by its defenders. I further argue that this superiority does not come from the experiment’s object being materially ...

Predictive processing and the representation wars: a victory for the eliminativist (via fictionalism)

In this paper I argue that, by combining eliminativist and fictionalist approaches toward the sub-personal representational posits of predictive processing, we arrive at an empirically robust and yet metaphysically innocuous cognitive scientific framework. I begin the paper by providing a non-representational account of the five key posits of predictive processing ...

The logic of epistemic justification

Theories of epistemic justification are commonly assessed by exploring their predictions about particular hypothetical cases—predictions as to whether justification is present or absent in this or that case. With a few exceptions, it is much less common for theories of epistemic justification to be assessed by exploring their predictions about logical principles. The exceptions are ...

On pain experience, multidisciplinary integration and the level-laden conception of science

Multidisciplinary models aggregating ‘lower-level’ biological and ‘higher-level’ psychological and social determinants of a phenomenon raise a puzzle. How is the interaction between the physical, the psychological and the social conceptualized and explained? Using biopsychosocial models of pain as an illustration, I argue that these models are in fact level-neutral compilations of ...

Why the Canberra plan won’t help you do serious metaphysics

Jackson (From metaphysics to ethics, Oxford, Oxford University Press, 1998) argues that conceptual analysis plays a modest, albeit crucial, role in ‘serious metaphysics’: roughly, the project of demystifying phenomena we take to be mysterious by locating them in the natural world. This defence of conceptual analysis is associated with ‘the Canberra Plan’, a philosophical ...

Bayesian cognitive science, predictive brains, and the nativism debate

The rise of Bayesianism in cognitive science promises to shape the debate between nativists and empiricists into more productive forms—or so have claimed several philosophers and cognitive scientists. The present paper explicates this claim, distinguishing different ways of understanding it. After clarifying what is at stake in the controversy between nativists and empiricists, and ...

Can the empirical sciences contribute to the moral realism/anti-realism debate?

An increasing number of moral realists and anti-realists have recently attempted to support their views by appeal to science. Arguments of this kind (such as evolutionary debunking arguments or arguments from moral disagreement) are typically criticized on the object-level. In addition, however, one occasionally also comes across a more sweeping metatheoretical skepticism. ...

Assertion, belief, and context

This paper argues for a treatment of belief as essentially sensitive to certain features of context. The first part gives an argument that we must take belief to be context-sensitive in the same way that assertion is, if we are to preserve appealing principles tying belief to sincere assertion. In particular, whether an agent counts as believing that p in a context depends on the ...

Mandevillian intelligence

Mandevillian intelligence is a specific form of collective intelligence in which individual cognitive vices (i.e., shortcomings, limitations, constraints and biases) are seen to play a positive functional role in yielding collective forms of cognitive success. The present paper introduces the concept of mandevillian intelligence and reviews a number of strands of empirical research ...

Advice for Infallibilists: DIVORCE and RETREAT!

This paper comprises a defence of Infallibilism about knowledge. In it, I articulate two arguments in favour of Infallibilism, and for each argument show that Infallibilism about knowledge does not lead to an unpalatable Scepticism if justified belief is neither necessary nor sufficient for knowledge, and if Fallibilism about justified belief is true.

Normativity all the way down: from normative realism to pannormism

In this paper, I will give an argument for what I call pannormism, the view according to which if x instantiates a metaphysically basic normative property F, then whatever grounds the being of x also instantiates F. In slogan form: if there is normativity, there is normativity all the way down. Such pannormism is in many ways analogous to panpsychism, and my discussion also ...

The no miracles argument without the base rate fallacy

According to an argument by Colin Howson, the no-miracles argument (NMA) is contingent on committing the base-rate fallacy and is therefore bound to fail. We demonstrate that Howson’s argument only applies to one of two versions of the NMA. The other version, which resembles the form in which the argument was initially presented by Putnam and Boyd, remains unaffected by his line of ...

Studying strategies and types of players: experiments, logics and cognitive models

How do people reason about their opponent in turn-taking games? Often, people do not make the decisions that game theory would prescribe. We present a logic that can play a key role in understanding how people make their decisions, by delineating all plausible reasoning strategies in a systematic manner. This in turn makes it possible to construct a corresponding set of ...

Aboutness and negative truths: a modest strategy for truthmaker theorists

A central problem for any truthmaker theory is the problem of negative truths (P-NEG). In this paper, I develop a novel, piecemeal strategy for solving this problem. The strategy puts central focus on a truth-relevant notion of aboutness within a metaphysically modest version of truthmaker theory and uses key conceptual tools gained by taking a deeper look at the best attempts to ...

Enactive autonomy in computational systems

In this paper we will demonstrate that a computational system can meet the criteria for autonomy laid down by classical enactivism. The two criteria that we will focus on are operational closure and structural determinism, and we will show that both can be applied to a basic example of a physically instantiated Turing machine. We will also address the question of precariousness, ...