Matching Items (5)

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Cornering the truth: a defense of scientific realism

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This is a study of scientific realism, and of the extent to which it is undermined by objections that have been raised by advocates of various forms of antirealism. I

This is a study of scientific realism, and of the extent to which it is undermined by objections that have been raised by advocates of various forms of antirealism. I seek to develop and present a version of scientific realism that improves on past formulations, and then to show that standard antirealist arguments against it do not succeed. In this paper, I will first present my formulation of scientific realism, which conceives of theories as model-based and as fundamentally non-linguistic. I advocate an epistemic position that accords with indirect realism, and I review and assess the threat posed by theses of underdetermination. Next, I review and discuss three important views: the antirealist constructivist view of Thomas Kuhn, the realist view of Norwood Hanson, and the antirealist constructive empiricist view of Bas van Fraassen. I find merits and flaws in all three views. In the course of those discussions, I develop the theme that antirealists' arguments generally depend on assumptions that are open to question, especially from the perspective of the version of realism I advocate. I further argue that these antirealist views are undermined by their own tacit appeals to realism.

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Date Created
  • 2013

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Slaves of the defunct: the epistemic intractability of the Hayek-Keynes debate

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The present essay addresses the epistemic difficulties involved in achieving consensus with respect to the Hayek-Keynes debate. In particular, it is argued that the debate cannot be settled on the

The present essay addresses the epistemic difficulties involved in achieving consensus with respect to the Hayek-Keynes debate. In particular, it is argued that the debate cannot be settled on the basis of the observable evidence; or, more precisely, that the empirical implications of the theories of Hayek and Keynes are such that, regardless of what is observed, both of the theories can be interpreted as true, or at least, not falsified. Regardless of the evidence, both Hayek and Keynes can be interpreted as right. The underdetermination of theories by evidence is an old and ubiquitous problem in science. The present essay makes explicit the respects in which the empirical evidence underdetermines the choice between the theories of Hayek and Keynes. In particular, it is argued both that there are convenient responses one can offer that protect each theory from what appears to be threatening evidence (i.e., that the choice between the two theories is underdetermined in the holist sense) and that, for particular kinds of evidence, the two theories are empirically equivalent (i.e., with respect to certain kinds of evidence, the choice between the two theories is underdetermined in the contrastive sense).

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Date Created
  • 2012

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Disputes and defective disputes

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One activity for which philosophers are perhaps best known is having disputes with one another. Some non-philosophers, and increasingly many philosophers, believe that a number of these disputes are silly

One activity for which philosophers are perhaps best known is having disputes with one another. Some non-philosophers, and increasingly many philosophers, believe that a number of these disputes are silly or misguided in some way. Call such silly or misguided disputes defective disputes. When is a dispute defective? What kinds of defective disputes are there? How are these different kinds of defective disputes different from one another? What does it mean to call a dispute 'merely verbal'? These questions come up for consideration in Part One of this manuscript. In Part Two I examine whether certain disputes in ontology and over the nature of possible worlds are defective in any of the ways described in Part One. I focus mainly on the question of whether these disputes are merely verbal disputes, though I examine whether they are defective in any other ways. I conclude that neither dispute is defective in any of the senses that I make clear in Part One. Moreover, I conclude that even some defective philosophical disputes can be worth consideration under certain circumstances.

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Date Created
  • 2011

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Enhancement, commodification, and human flourishing, or, The reason why human enhancement is wrong is because it leads to people being treated like pots

Description

At present, the ideological bias in the human enhancement debate holds that opponents to human enhancement are primarily techno-conservatives who, lacking any reasonable, systematic account of why we ought to

At present, the ideological bias in the human enhancement debate holds that opponents to human enhancement are primarily techno-conservatives who, lacking any reasonable, systematic account of why we ought to be so opposed, simply resort to a sort of fear-mongering and anti-meliorism. This dissertation means to counteract said bias by offering just such an account. Offered herein is a heuristic explanation of how, given a thorough understanding of enhancement both as a technology and as an attitude, we can predict a likely future of rampant commodification and dehumanization of man, and a veritable assault on human flourishing.

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Date Created
  • 2012

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Can Kelsen's legal positivism account for international regime change?

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In this discussion I will state fundamental principles of Kelsen's Legal Positivism in International Law and explain four problems with his theory. I will then propose two suggestions in the

In this discussion I will state fundamental principles of Kelsen's Legal Positivism in International Law and explain four problems with his theory. I will then propose two suggestions in the light of which Kelsen's theory is modified in this discussion and explain how these two suggestions address the four problems and help the theory account for regime change. Finally, I will address possible objections to the view advanced in this discussion.

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Date Created
  • 2012