Cover of Theoria. Revista de Teoría, Historia y Fundamentos de la Ciencia
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monographic section
1. Theoria. Revista de Teoría, Historia y Fundamentos de la Ciencia: Volume > 36 > Issue: 2
Valeriano Iranzo Guest editor’s presentation
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2. Theoria. Revista de Teoría, Historia y Fundamentos de la Ciencia: Volume > 36 > Issue: 2
Harold Kincaid Mechanisms, good and bad
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The claim that mechanisms are essential good science is widespread. I argue, however, that these claims are ambiguous in multiple ways. I sort out different version of the mechanism idea: (1) mechanisms that are horizontal —between cause and effect— and mechanisms that are vertical —they realize in lower-level terms causal properties—: and (2) different purposes or uses mechanisms may have. I then focus on the claim that various senses of mechanism are necessary for the confirmation of causal claims. The paper shows that mechanisms can be useful, essential, or harmful depending on context, using the now standard graphical causal structure framework. These conclusions also support the larger philosophy of science moral that methodological norms in science are often context specific and empirical, not a priori and universal.
3. Theoria. Revista de Teoría, Historia y Fundamentos de la Ciencia: Volume > 36 > Issue: 2
Jon Williamson The feasibility and malleability of EBM+
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The EBM+ programme is an attempt to improve the way in which present-day evidence-based medicine (EBM) assesses causal claims: according to EBM+, mechanistic studies should be scrutinised alongside association studies. This paper addresses two worries about EBM+: (i) that it is not feasible in practice, and (ii) that it is too malleable, i.e., its results depend on subjective choices that need to be made in order to implement the procedure. Several responses to these two worries are considered and evaluated. The paper also discusses the question of whether we should have confidence in medical interventions, in the light of Stegenga’s arguments for medical nihilism.
4. Theoria. Revista de Teoría, Historia y Fundamentos de la Ciencia: Volume > 36 > Issue: 2
Saúl Pérez-González, Valeriano Iranzo Assessing the role of evidence of mechanisms in causal extrapolation
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Extrapolation of causal claims from study populations to other populations of interest is a problematic issue. The standard approach in experimental research, which prioritises randomized controlled trials and statistical evidence, is not devoid of difficulties. Granted that, it has been defended that evidence of mechanisms is indispensable for causal extrapolation. We argue, contrarily, that this sort of evidence is not indispensable. Nonetheless, we also think that occasionally it may be helpful. In order to clarify its relevance, we introduce a distinction between a positive and a negative role of evidence of mechanisms. Our conclusion is that the former is highly questionable, but the latter may be a trustworthy resource for causal extrapolation.
articles
5. Theoria. Revista de Teoría, Historia y Fundamentos de la Ciencia: Volume > 36 > Issue: 2
Eduardo Pérez-Navarro No matter who: What makes one a relativist?
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As part of her argument that relativism and contextualism are nothing but notational variants of each other, Stojanovic holds that contextualism is flexible enough to achieve whatever relativism might do if the matter is what truth-value is assigned to each pair of sentence and context. In this paper, I reply to this statement by arguing that contextualism cannot be made as flexible as relativism without in fact turning it into a version of relativism. The key to my response to Stojanovic is that, while relativism relativizes utterance truth, contextualism does not, so parameters that are not fixed at the context of utterance will be accessible for the relativist, but not for the contextualist. Although the relativity of utterance truth follows as soon as propositional truth is relativized to contexts of assessment, as the relativist does, it is easy to lose sight of this fact if we identify the context of assessment with the assessor’s context. Hence, the point of this paper is that the difference between relativism and contextualism is not one as to whose parameters play a role in determining the sentence’s truth-value. If it were, contextualism could indeed be made just as flexible as relativism.
6. Theoria. Revista de Teoría, Historia y Fundamentos de la Ciencia: Volume > 36 > Issue: 2
David Pineda-Oliva Defending the motivational theory of desire
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In this paper I offer a defense of the motivational theory of desire. According to the motivational view, a desire is basically a disposition to bring about the desire’s content. First, I argue that two rival views on the nature of desire, the evaluative theory and the deontic theory, fall prey to the problem of the death of desire and that, when one tries to develop a plausible version of these theories which is able to overcome this problem, one ends up with a view that is not relevantly different from the evaluative view. Second, I respond to some objections to the claim that motivations are sufficient for desire, namely, the Radioman objection and the objection that some motivational states like intentions and habits are not desires.
7. Theoria. Revista de Teoría, Historia y Fundamentos de la Ciencia: Volume > 36 > Issue: 2
Timm Lampert Newton’s experimental proofs
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Newton claims that his theorems in the Opticks are derived from experiments alone. The paper explains this dictum by relating Newton’s proof method to an iconic conception of proof as opposed to a symbolic one. Theorems are not derived from hypotheses; instead properties of light are identified by experimental properties based on rules of inductive reasoning.
book reviews
8. Theoria. Revista de Teoría, Historia y Fundamentos de la Ciencia: Volume > 36 > Issue: 2
David Teira Adolfo Garcia de la Sienra (2019). A Structuralist Theory of Economics
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9. Theoria. Revista de Teoría, Historia y Fundamentos de la Ciencia: Volume > 36 > Issue: 2
Summary
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