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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articles
10. Theoria. Revista de Teoría, Historia y Fundamentos de la Ciencia: Volume > 36 > Issue: 1
Francesca Poggiolesi, Nissim Francez Towards a generalization of the logic of grounding
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The main goal of this paper is to provide a ground-analysis of two classical connectives that have so far been ignored in the literature, namely the exclusive disjunction, and the ternary disjunction. Such ground-analysis not only serves to extend the applicability of the logic of grounding but also leads to a generalization of Poggiolesi (2016)’s definition of the notion of complete and immediate grounding.
11. Theoria. Revista de Teoría, Historia y Fundamentos de la Ciencia: Volume > 36 > Issue: 1
Ezequiel Zerbudis Making sense of the ‘is’ of constitution
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I consider a problem that arises in connection with (alleged) cases of coincident objects (such as a statue and the lump of clay it is made of) and that affects the two main accounts that have been given of such cases, namely, Pluralism (according to which statue and lump are distinct) and Monism (according to which they are one). The problem is that both views seem committed to accepting strained interpretations of some of the statements used to describe the situation. I consider Pickel’s arguments against the Pluralist’s strategy of interpreting ‘is’ as expressing constitution in sentences such as ‘The statue is the lump of clay’, and provide reasons for rejecting them—so as to vindicate, eventually, the Pluralist position.
12. Theoria. Revista de Teoría, Historia y Fundamentos de la Ciencia: Volume > 36 > Issue: 1
Nathaniel Gan Fictionalism and Meinongianism
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Fictionalism about a kind of disputed object is often motivated by the fact that the view interprets discourse about those objects literally without an ontological commitment to them. This paper argues that this motivation is inadequate because some viable alternatives to fictionalism have similar attractions. Meinongianism—the view that there are true statements about non-existent objects—is one such view. Meinongianism bears significant similarity to fictionalism, so intuitive doubts about its viability are difficult to sustain for fictionalists. Moreover, Meinongianism avoids some of fictionalism’s weaknesses, thus it is even preferable to fictionalism in some respects.
13. Theoria. Revista de Teoría, Historia y Fundamentos de la Ciencia: Volume > 36 > Issue: 1
Antonio Blanco Salgueiro Uptake: ¿entender o aceptar?
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Austin introduces the idea of securing the uptake in the context of dealing with the illocution-perlocution distinction. In recent times, the notion is employed by some neoaustinian scholars to argue that the uptake is what triggers the deontic effects (rights, duties, obligations, permissions, etc.) associated to an illocution. Here, a distinction is made between two kinds of uptake: uptake-as-understanding and uptake-asaccepting, and the stance that the second is the one needed for a plausible theory of speech action inspired by Austin’s original ideas is defended. When that notion is adopted, some old problems about speech action can be clarified.
14. Theoria. Revista de Teoría, Historia y Fundamentos de la Ciencia: Volume > 36 > Issue: 1
Javier Suárez El holobionte/hologenoma como nivel de seleccion: una aproximacion a la evolucion de los consorcios de multiples especies
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The units or levels of selection debate concerns the question of what kind of biological systems are stable enough that part of their evolution is a result of the process of natural selection acting at their level. Traditionally, the debate has concerned at least two different, though related, questions: the question of the level at which interaction with the environment occurs (which entity acts as an interactor), and the question of the level at which reproduction occurs (which entity acts as a replicator or reproducer). In recent years, biologists and philosophers have discussed a new aspect of this debate, namely the possibility that certain multi-species consortia formed by a host and its microbiome (holobionts/ hologenomes) may act as a unit of selection. This thesis, however, has not been without criticism, as it is doubtful that such consortia could meet the conditions required to achieve the degree of stability that would allow them to experience natural selection. The purpose of this paper is to systematically examine such criticisms and to defend the thesis that the holobiont/hologenome can act as a genuine level of selection both in the form of an interactor and in the form of a reproducer. To do so, it will be argued that the microbiome should be characterized in functional rather than taxonomic terms.
15. Theoria. Revista de Teoría, Historia y Fundamentos de la Ciencia: Volume > 36 > Issue: 1
Jonas Rafael Becker Arenhart, Vítor Medeiros Costa Quasi-truth and incomplete information in historical sciences
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Quasi-truth is a formal approach to a pragmatically-oriented view of truth. The basic plan motivating the framework consists in providing for a more realistic account of truth, accommodating situations where there is incomplete information, as typically happens in the practice of science. The historical sciences are a case in hand, where incomplete information is the rule. It would seem, then, that the quasi-truth approach would be the most appropriate one to deal with historical sciences, then. In this paper, we explore this possibility and use the historical sciences as a test case for the approach of quasi-truth. Our claim is that, on what concerns historical sciences, the quasi-truth approach fails in two basic senses; first, by misrepresenting some cases concerning incomplete information, and second, by falling short of accounting for many features of incomplete information peculiar to historical sciences. We conclude that, despite its stated goals, quasi-truth must be either amended or substituted if the goal of a more faithful representation of scientific practice is to be achieved.
16. Theoria. Revista de Teoría, Historia y Fundamentos de la Ciencia: Volume > 36 > Issue: 1
Fausto Corvino, Alberto Pirni Discharging the moral responsibility for collective unjust enrichment in the global economy
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In this article we wonder how a person can discharge the political responsibility for supporting and benefiting from unjust social structures. Firstly, we introduce the concept of structural injustice and defend it against three possible objections: ‘explanatory nationalism’, a diachronic interpretation of the benefits of industry-led growth, being part of a social structure does not automatically mean being responsible for its negative consequences. Then, we hold that both Iris Marion Young’s ‘social connection model’ and Robin Zheng’s ‘role-ideal model’ provide clear indications on how to unload responsibility for supporting/participating in unjust social structures, but fail to explain how to get rid of responsibility for unjust enrichment. We maintain that both models should be complemented with a global redistributive scheme that allows to disgorge the benefits that are unfairly obtained in the global economic system, besides undertaking collective transformative actions and assuming ideal-role responsibilities.
errata
17. Theoria. Revista de Teoría, Historia y Fundamentos de la Ciencia: Volume > 36 > Issue: 1
Nancy Cartwright Errata in Middle-range theory: Without it what could anyone do?
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18. Theoria. Revista de Teoría, Historia y Fundamentos de la Ciencia: Volume > 36 > Issue: 1
Summary
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19. Theoria. Revista de Teoría, Historia y Fundamentos de la Ciencia: Volume > 36 > Issue: 1
Referees for THEORIA (2019-2020)/Informantes de THEORIA (2019-2020)
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in honour of miguel sánchez-mazas
20. 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.