Adeel, M. Ashraf, and . Evolution of Quine’s Thinking on the Thesis of Underdetermination and Scott Soames’s Accusation of Paradoxicality

2015, HOPOS: The Journal of the International Society for the History of Philosophy of Science 5(1): 56-69.

Abstract: Scott Soames argues that interpreted in the light of Quine’s holistic verificationism, Quine’s thesis of underdetermination leads to a contradiction. It is contended here that if we pay proper attention to the evolution of Quine’s thinking on the subject, particularly his criterion of theory individuation, Quine’s thesis of underdetermination escapes Soames’ charge of paradoxicality.

Comment: Good as a secondary reading for those who are confident with Quine's thesis of underdetermination. Recomended for postgraduate courses in philosophy of science.

Akins, Kathleen, and . Of sensory systems and the “aboutness” of mental states

1996, Journal of Philosophy 93(7): 337-372.

Summary: The author presents a critique of the classical conception of the senses assumed by the majority of naturalist authors who attempt to explain mental content. This critique is based on neurobiological data on the senses that suggest that they do not seem to describe objective characteristics of the world, but instead act “narcissistically”, so to speak, representing information depending on the specific interests of the organism.

Comment: This paper provides a good explanation of the integrated sensory-motor approach in philosophy of mind and how it differs from the classical conception. A good, easy to understand presentation of a challenge to the naive view that the senses give us objective information about the way the world is.

Alexandrova, Anna, and . Making Models Count

2008, Philosophy of Science 75(3): 383-404.

Abstract: What sort of claims do scientific models make and how do these claims then underwrite empirical successes such as explanations and reliable policy interventions? In this paper I propose answers to these questions for the class of models used throughout the social and biological sciences, namely idealized deductive ones with a causal interpretation. I argue that the two main existing accounts misrepresent how these models are actually used, and propose a new account.

Comment: A good exploration of the role of models in scientific practice. Provides a good overview of the main theories about models, and some objections to them, before suggesting an alternative. Good use of concrete examples, presented very clearly. Suitable for undergraduate teaching. Would form a useful part of an examination of modelling in philosophy of science.

Allori,Valia, and . On the metaphysics of quantum mechanics

2013, In Soazig Lebihan (ed.), Precis de la Philosophie de la Physique, Vuibert.

Abstract: Many solutions have been proposed for solving the problem of macroscopic superpositions of wave function ontology. A possible solution is to assume that, while the wave function provides the complete description of the system, its temporal evolution is not given by the Schroedinger equation. The usual Schroedinger evolution is interrupted by random and sudden “collapses”. The most promising theory of this kind is the GRW theory, named after the scientists that developed it: Gian Carlo Ghirardi, Alberto Rimini and Tullio Weber. It seems tempting to think that in GRW we can take the wave function ontologically seriously and avoid the problem of macroscopic superpositions just allowing for quantum jumps. In this paper it is argued that such “bare” wave function ontology is not possible, neither for GRW nor for any other quantum theory: quantum mechanics cannot be about the wave function simpliciter. All quantum theories should be regarded as theories in which physical objects are constituted by a primitive ontology. The primitive ontology is mathematically represented in the theory by a mathematical entity in three-dimensional space, or space-time.

Comment: This is a very interesting article on the ontology of Quantum Mechanics. It is recommended for advanced courses in Philosophy of Science, especially for modules in the Philosophy of physics. Previous knowledge of Bohmian mechanics and the Many Words Interpretation is necessary. Recommended for postgraduate students.

Anderson, Elizabeth, and . Feminist Epistemology and Philosophy of Science

2015, Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.

Abstract: Feminist epistemology and philosophy of science studies the ways in which gender does and ought to influence our conceptions of knowledge, the knowing subject, and practices of inquiry and justification. It identifies ways in which dominant conceptions and practices of knowledge attribution, acquisition, and justification systematically disadvantage women and other subordinated groups, and strives to reform these conceptions and practices so that they serve the interests of these groups. Various practitioners of feminist epistemology and philosophy of science argue that dominant knowledge practices disadvantage women by (1) excluding them from inquiry, (2) denying them epistemic authority, (3) denigrating their ‘feminine’ cognitive styles and modes of knowledge, (4) producing theories of women that represent them as inferior, deviant, or significant only in the ways they serve male interests, (5) producing theories of social phenomena that render women’s activities and interests, or gendered power relations, invisible, and (6) producing knowledge (science and technology) that is not useful for people in subordinate positions, or that reinforces gender and other social hierarchies. Feminist epistemologists trace these failures to flawed conceptions of knowledge, knowers, objectivity, and scientific methodology. They offer diverse accounts of how to overcome these failures. They also aim to (1) explain why the entry of women and feminist scholars into different academic disciplines, especially in biology and the social sciences, has generated new questions, theories, and methods, (2) show how gender and feminist values and perspectives have played a causal role in these transformations, (3) promote theories that aid egalitarian and liberation movements, and (4) defend these developments as cognitive, not just social, advances.

Comment: A very detailed primer on feminist epistemology and philosophy of science. Covers a wide range of topics and issues, its length is such that it would probably be best to assign specific sections that are of interest rather than reading the whole thing. Useful as a preliminary introduction to the topics covered, and also offers a good summary of objections to the views presented.

Bechtel, William P., and Jennifer Mundale. Multiple realizability revisited: Linking cognitive and neural states

1999, Philosophy of Science 66 (2):175-207 (1999)

Abstract: The claim of the multiple realizability of mental states by brain states has been a major feature of the dominant philosophy of mind of the late 20th century. The claim is usually motivated by evidence that mental states are multiply realized, both within humans and between humans and other species. We challenge this contention by focusing on how neuroscientists differentiate brain areas. The fact that they rely centrally on psychological measures in mapping the brain and do so in a comparative fashion undercuts the likelihood that, at least within organic life forms, we are likely to find cases of multiply realized psychological functions.

Comment: One of the better arguments against multipe realizability. Could be used in any philosophy of mind course where that claim arises as a demonstration of how it could be challenged. A good deal of discussion about neuroscientific practices and methods, but not excessively technical.

Beebee, Helen, and . Necessary Connections and the Problem of Induction

2011, Noûs 45(3): 504-527.

Summary: In this paper Beebee argues that the problem of induction, which she describes as a genuine sceptical problem, is the same for Humeans than for Necessitarians. Neither scientific essentialists nor Armstrong can solve the problem of induction by appealing to IBE (Inference to the Best Explanation), for both arguments take an illicit inductive step.

Comment: This paper describes in a comprehensible way Armstrong's and the Humean approaches to the problem of induction. Ideal for postgraduate philosophy of science courses, although it could be a further reading for undergraduate courses as well.

Bergmann, Merrie, and . An Introduction to Many-Valued and Fuzzy Logic: Semantics, Algebras, and Derivation Systems

2008, Cambridge University Press.

Publisher’s note: This volume is an accessible introduction to the subject of many-valued and fuzzy logic suitable for use in relevant advanced undergraduate and graduate courses. The text opens with a discussion of the philosophical issues that give rise to fuzzy logic – problems arising from vague language – and returns to those issues as logical systems are presented. For historical and pedagogical reasons, three valued logical systems are presented as useful intermediate systems for studying the principles and theory behind fuzzy logic. The major fuzzy logical systems – Lukasiewicz, Godel, and product logics – are then presented as generalizations of three-valued systems that successfully address the problems of vagueness. Semantic and axiomatic systems for three-valued and fuzzy logics are examined along with an introduction to the algebras characteristic of those systems. A clear presentation of technical concepts, this book includes exercises throughout the text that pose straightforward problems, ask students to continue proofs begun in the text, and engage them in the comparison of logical systems.

Comment: This book is ideal for an intermediate-level course on many-valued and/or fuzzy logic. Although it includes a presentation of propositional and first-order logic, it is intended for students who are familiar with classical logic. However, no previous knowledge of many-valued or fuzzy logic is required. It can also be used as a secondary reading for a general course on non-classical logics.

Blanchette, Patricia, and . Models and Modality

2000, Synthese 124(1): 45-72.

Abstract: This paper examines the connection between model-theoretic truth and necessary truth. It is argued that though the model-theoretic truths of some standard languages are demonstrably “necessary” (in a precise sense), the widespread view of model-theoretic truth as providing a general guarantee of necessity is mistaken. Several arguments to the contrary are criticized.

Comment: This text would be best used as secondary reading in an intermediate or an advanced philosophy of logic course. For example, it can be used as a secondary reading in a section on the connection between model-theoretic truth and necessary truth.

Blanchette, Patricia, and . Logical Consequence

2001, Lou Goble (Ed). Blackwell Guide to Philosophical Logic. Wiley-Blackwell: 115-135.

Description: This article is a short overview of philosophical and formal issues in the treatment and analysis of logical consequence. The purpose of the paper is to provide a brief introduction to the central issues surrounding two questions: (1) that of the nature of logical consequence and (2) that of the extension of logical consequence. It puts special emphasis in the role played by formal systems in the investigation of logical consequence.

Comment: This article can be used as background or overview reading in a course on the notion of logical consequence. It could also be used in a general course on philosophy of logic having a section on this topic. It makes very little use of technical notation, even though familiarity with first-order logic is required. It closes with a useful list of suggested further readings.