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in honour of miguel sánchez-mazas
1. Theoria. Revista de Teoría, Historia y Fundamentos de la Ciencia: Volume > 35 > Issue: 3
Javier de Lorenzo, Andoni Ibarra The fanciful optimism of Miguel Sánchez-Mazas. Let us calculate... = Freedom and Justice
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May 2020 marked the 25th anniversary of the death of Miguel Sánchez-Mazas, founder of Theoria. An International Journal of Theory, History and Foundations of Science, and regarded as the person who brought mathematical logic to Spain. Here we present some of his biographical features and a summary of his contributions, from his early work in the 1950s - introducing contemporary advances in logic and philosophy of science in a philosophically backward milieu dominated by the scholasticism of that era in Spain - to the development of a project of Lebnizian lineage aimed at producing an arithmetic calculation that would elude some of the difficulties confronting Leibniz’s calculus.
the lullius lectures
2. Theoria. Revista de Teoría, Historia y Fundamentos de la Ciencia: Volume > 35 > Issue: 3
Nancy Cartwright Middle-range theory: Without it what could anyone do?
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Philosophers of science have had little to say about ‘middle-range theory’ although much of what is done in science and of what drives its successes falls under that label. These lectures aim to spark an interest in the topic and to lay groundwork for further research on it. ‘Middle’ in ‘middle range’ is with respect to the level both of abstraction and generality. Much middle-range theory is about things that come under the label ‘mechanism’. The lectures explore three different kinds of mechanism: struc tural mechanisms or underlying systems that afford causal pathways; causal-chain mechanisms that are represented in what in policy contexts are called ‘theories of change’ and for which I give an extended account following the causal process theory of Wesley Salmon; and middle-range-law mechanisms like those discussed by Jon Elster, which I claim are —and rightly are— rampant throughout the social sciences. The theory of the democratic peace, that democracies do not go to war with democracies, serves as a running example. The discussions build up to the start of, first , an argument that reliability in social (and natural) science depends not so much on evidence as it does on the support of a virtuous tangle of practices (without which there couldn’t even be evidence), and second, a defence of a community-practice centred instrumentalist understanding of many of the central basic principles that we use (often successfully) in social (and in natural) science for explanation, prediction and evaluation.
articles
3. Theoria. Revista de Teoría, Historia y Fundamentos de la Ciencia: Volume > 35 > Issue: 3
José Ángel Gascón Cómo argumentar con coherencia
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When disagreements arise about the quality of arguments, arguers frequently rely on coherence. Argumentative coherence is mainly manifested in accusations of incoherence and in the production of analogies. With the help of the elements of warrant and of rebuttals in Toulmin’s model, it is possible to give a first analysis of this notion.
4. Theoria. Revista de Teoría, Historia y Fundamentos de la Ciencia: Volume > 35 > Issue: 3
Louis Vervoort, Tomasz Blusiewicz Free will and (in)determinism in the brain: a case for naturalized philosophy
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In this article we study the question of free will from an interdisciplinary angle, drawing on philosophy, neurobiology and physics. We start by reviewing relevant neurobiological findings on the functioning of the brain, notably as presented in (Koch, 2009); we assess these against the physics of (in)determinism. These biophysics findings seem to indicate that neuronal processes are not quantum but classical in nature. We conclude from this that there is little support for the existence of an immaterial ‘mind’, capable of ruling over matter independently of the causal past. But what, then, can free will be? We propose a compatibilist account that resonates well with neurobiology and physics, and that highlights that free will comes in degrees — degrees which vary with the conscious grasp the ‘free’ agent has over his actions. Finally, we analyze the well-known Libet experiment on free will through the lens of our model. We submit this interdisciplinary investigation as a typical case of naturalized philosophy: in our theorizing we privilege assumptions that find evidence in science, but our conceptual work also suggests new avenues for research in a few scientific disciplines.
5. Theoria. Revista de Teoría, Historia y Fundamentos de la Ciencia: Volume > 35 > Issue: 3
Anouk Barberousse, Françoise Longy, Francesca Merlin, Stéphanie Ruphy Natural kinds: a new synthesis
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What is a natural kind? This old yet lasting philosophical question has recently received new competing answers (e.g., Chakravartty, 2007; Magnus, 2014; Khalidi, 2013; Slater, 2015; Ereshefsky & Reydon, 2015). We show that the main ingredients of an encompassing and coherent account of natural kinds are actually on the table, but in need of the right articulation. It is by adopting a non-reductionist, naturalistic and non-conceptualist approach that, in this paper, we elaborate a new synthesis of all these ingredients. Our resulting proposition is a multiple-compartment theory of natural kinds that defines them in purely ontological terms, clearly distinguishes and relates ontological and epistemological issues —more precisely, two grains of ontological descriptions and two grains of explanatory success of natural kinds—, and which sheds light on why natural kinds play an epistemic role both within science and in everyday life.
6. Theoria. Revista de Teoría, Historia y Fundamentos de la Ciencia: Volume > 35 > Issue: 3
Summary
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7. Theoria. Revista de Teoría, Historia y Fundamentos de la Ciencia: Volume > 35 > Issue: 3
Contents of Volume 35
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articles
8. Theoria. Revista de Teoría, Historia y Fundamentos de la Ciencia: Volume > 35 > Issue: 2
Thomas Bartelborth The rehabilitation of deductive reasoning
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The paper aims at the rehabilitation of deductive reasoning. As a paradigm of reliable reasoning, it should be applicable in every confirmation context. In particular, it should transmit inductive justification, so that if D justifies a hypothesis H, then D also justifies all deductive conclusions from H. Nevertheless, most current philosophers of science reject such a transmission principle as false. They argue against it by providing apparent counter-examples and also by showing that it is incompatible with common confirmation theories such as HD-confirmation and Bayesianism. I argue in the opposite direction that we should stick to the transmission principle and revise instead our justification theories towards more cautious justification procedures that respect the transmission principle. This will avoid further paradoxes of these theories and, in particular, will enable us to apply our confirmed hypotheses to new situations in a well-founded way.
9. Theoria. Revista de Teoría, Historia y Fundamentos de la Ciencia: Volume > 35 > Issue: 2
Daniel E. Kalpokas Perception as a propositional attitude
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It is widely held that the content of perceptual experience is propositional in nature. However, in a well-known article, “Is Perception a Propositional Attitude?” (2009), Crane has argued against this thesis. He therein assumes that experience has intentional content and indirectly argues that experience has non-propositional content by showing that from what he considers to be the main reasons in favour of “the propositional-attitude thesis”, it does not really follow that experience has propositional content. In this paper I shall discuss Crane’s arguments against the propositional-attitude thesis and will try to show, in contrast, that they are unconvincing. My conclusion will be that, despite all that Crane claims, perceptual content could after all be propositional in nature.
10. Theoria. Revista de Teoría, Historia y Fundamentos de la Ciencia: Volume > 35 > Issue: 2
Adán Sus How to be a realist about Minkowski spacetime without believing in magical explanations
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The question about the relation between spacetime structure and the symmetries of laws has received renewed attention in a recent discussion about the status of Minkowski spacetime in Special Relativity. In that context we find two extreme positions (either spacetime explains symmetries of laws or vice-versa) and a general assumption about the debate being mainly about explanation. The aim of this paper is twofold: first, to argue that the ontological dimension of the debate cannot be ignored; second, to claim that taking ontology into account involves considering a third perspective on the relation between spacetime and symmetries of laws; one in which both terms would be somehow derived from common assumptions on the formulation of a given physical theory.
11. Theoria. Revista de Teoría, Historia y Fundamentos de la Ciencia: Volume > 35 > Issue: 2
María Belén Campero, Cristián Favre, Cristian Saborido Morir para vivir. La muerte celular como proceso regulador
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Usually, the organization of living systems is explained by appealing to an intrinsic purpose that is based on the biological survival. However, paradigmatically, it is inevitable to observe that the final destiny of all living organisms is death. In this work, we defend that, from an organizational approach, there is a form of death—Regulated Cell Death—that, far from being a mere «absence of life», is a process of biological regulation and a feature of self-maintenance in multicellular organisms.
12. Theoria. Revista de Teoría, Historia y Fundamentos de la Ciencia: Volume > 35 > Issue: 2
Laura Marcon, Pedro Francés-Gómez, Marco Faillo Does impartial reasoning matter in economic decisions?: An experimental result about distributive (un)fairness in a production context
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The Rawlsian veil of ignorance should induce agents to behave fairly in a distributive context. This work tried to re-propose, through a dictator game with giving and taking options, a sort of original position in which reasoning behind the veil should have constituted a moral cue for subjects involved in the distribution of a common output with unequal means of production. However, our experimental context would unwittingly recall more the Hobbesian state of nature than the Rawlsian original position, showing that the heuristic resource to the Rawlsian idea of a choice behind the veil is inefficacious in distributive contexts.
13. Theoria. Revista de Teoría, Historia y Fundamentos de la Ciencia: Volume > 35 > Issue: 2
Mario Bacelar Valente On Archimedes’ statics
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Archimedes’ statics is considered as an example of ancient Greek applied mathematics; it is even seen as the beginning of mechanics. Wilbur Knorr made the case regarding this work, as other works by him or other mathematicians from ancient Greece, that it lacks references to the physical phenomena it is supposed to address. According to Knorr, this is understandable if we consider the propositions of the treatise in terms of purely mathematical elaborations suggested by quantitative aspects of the phenomena. In this paper, we challenge Knorr’s view, and address propositions of Archimedes’ statics in their relation to physical phenomena.
book reviews
14. Theoria. Revista de Teoría, Historia y Fundamentos de la Ciencia: Volume > 35 > Issue: 2
Patrick Zylberman Josep L. Barona (2019). Health Policies in Interwar Europe. A Transnational Perspective
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15. Theoria. Revista de Teoría, Historia y Fundamentos de la Ciencia: Volume > 35 > Issue: 2
Summary
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monographic section
16. Theoria. Revista de Teoría, Historia y Fundamentos de la Ciencia: Volume > 35 > Issue: 1
David Rey Guest editor’s presentation
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17. Theoria. Revista de Teoría, Historia y Fundamentos de la Ciencia: Volume > 35 > Issue: 1
Fred Adams Global aphasia and the language of thought
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Jerry Fodor’s arguments for a language of thought (LOT) are largely theoretical. Is there any empirical evidence that supports the existence of LOT? There is. Research on Global Aphasia supports the existence of LOT. In this paper, I discuss this evidence and why it supports Fodor’s theory that there is a language of thought.
18. Theoria. Revista de Teoría, Historia y Fundamentos de la Ciencia: Volume > 35 > Issue: 1
Kenneth Aizawa Some theoretical and empirical background to Fodor’s systematicity arguments
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This paper aims to clarify certain features of the systematicity arguments by a review of some of the largely underexamined background in Chomsky’s and Fodor’s early work on transformational grammar.
19. Theoria. Revista de Teoría, Historia y Fundamentos de la Ciencia: Volume > 35 > Issue: 1
Louise Antony Not rational, but not brutely causal either: A response to Fodor on concept acquisition
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Jerry Fodor has argued that concept acquisition cannot be a psychological or “rational-causal” process, but can only be a “brute-causal” process of acquisition. This position generates the “doorknob → DOORKNOB” problem: why are concepts typically acquired on the basis of experience with items in their extensions? I argue that Fodor’s taxonomy of causal processes needs supplementation, and characterize a third type: what I call “intelligible-causal processes.” Armed with this new category I present what I regard as a better response than Fodor’s to the doorknob → DOORKNOB problem.
20. Theoria. Revista de Teoría, Historia y Fundamentos de la Ciencia: Volume > 35 > Issue: 1
José Luis Bermúdez, Arnon Cahen Fodor on multiple realizability and nonreductive physicalism: Why the argument does not work
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This paper assesses Fodor’s well-known argument from multiple realizability to nonreductive physicalism. Recent work has brought out that the empirical case for cross-species multiple realizability is weak at best and so we consider whether the argument can be rebooted using a “thin” notion of intraspecies multiple realizability, taking individual neural firing patterns to be the realizers of mental events. We agree that there are no prospects for reducing mental events to individual neural firing patterns. But there are more plausible candidates for the neural realizers of mental events out there, namely, global neural properties such as the average firing rates of neural populations, or the local field potential. The problem for Fodor’s argument is that those global neural properties point towards reductive versions of physicalism.