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Between Realism and Constructive Empiricism

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Making Prehistory

Derek Turner

Cambridge (2007)

http://www.cambridge.org/us/catalogue/cata...5202&ss=exc

From the frontpiece:

Scientists often make surprising claims about things that no one can observe. In physics, chemistry, and molecular biology, scientists can at least experiment on those unobservable entities, but what about researchers in fields such as paleobiology and geology who study prehistory, where no such experimentation is possible? Do scientists discover facts about the distant past or do they, in some sense, make prehistory? Derek Turner argues that this problem has surprising and important consequences for the scientific realism debate. His discussion covers some of the main positions in current philosophy of science - realism, social constructivism, empiricism, and the natural ontological attitude - and shows how they relate to issues in paleobiology and geology.

Table of Contents

http://www.cambridge.org/us/catalogue/cata...5202&ss=toc

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This looks like a great case study!

http://www.amazon.com/gp/reader/0226024210..._pt#reader-link

Representing Electrons: A Biographical Approach to Theoretical Entities

Theodore Arabatzis

University of Chicago Press (2006)

From the back Cover:

Both a history and a metahistory, Representing Electrons focuses on the development of various theoretical representations of electrons from the late 1890s to 1925 and the methodological problems associated with writing about unobservable scientific entities.

Using the electron—or rather its representation—as a historical actor, Theodore Arabatzis illustrates the emergence and gradual consolidation of its representation in physics, its career throughout old quantum theory, and its appropriation and reinterpretation by chemists. As Arabatzis develops this novel biographical approach, he portrays scientific representations as partly autonomous agents with lives of their own. Furthermore, he argues that the considerable variance in the representation of the electron does not undermine its stable identity or existence.

Raising philosophical issues of contentious debate in the history and philosophy of science—namely, scientific realism and meaning change—Arabatzis addresses the history of the electron across disciplines, integrating historical narrative with philosophical analysis in a book that will be a touchstone for historians and philosophers of science and scientists alike.

From the Table of Contents:

Chapter 1 - Methodological Preliminaries

1. Introduction

2. Karl Popper and the Notion of the “Problem Situation”

3. Scientific Discovery as a Philosophical and Historiographical Category

4. Several Approaches to the Discovery of Unobservable Entities: A Taxonomy and Critique

5. Scientific Realism: The Charybdis of Meaning Change

Chapter 2 - Why Write Biographies of Theoretical Entities?

Chapter 3 - Rethinking “The Discovery of the Electron”

1. What Is Wrong with the Received View?

2. Early-Twentieth-Century Views of the Acceptance of the Electron Hypothesis

Chapter 4 - The Birth and Infancy of the Representation of the Electron

1. Introduction

2. The Birth of the Term “Electron”

3. The Discovery of the Zeeman Effect: The First Experimental Manifestation of the Electron

4. Lorentz’s “Ion”: A Somewhat Startling Hypothesis

5. Larmor’s “Electron”

6. Thomson’s “Corpuscle”: A “By No Means Impossible Hypothesis”

Chapter 5 - The Genesis of the Quantum Electron

1. Preliminary Remarks

2. The Electron Migrates to the Quantum World

Chapter 6 - Between Relativity and Correspondence

1. Maturing under the Guidance of the Quantum Technologist

2. Being Disciplined by the “Magic Wand”

Chapter 7 - “How the Electrons Spend Their Leisure Time”: The Chemists’ Perspective

1. Introduction

2. The Emergence of the Conflict: G. N. Lewis’s “Loafer” Electron

3. A Recapitulation of the Conflict

4. Irving Langmuir’s Elaboration of Lewis’s Ideas

Chapter 8 - Forced to Spin by Uhlenbeck and Goudsmit

1. The Setting

2. Becoming Antisocial in the Land of the Formalism-Philistines

3. A Reactionary Putsch

Chapter 9 - Identifying the Electron: Meaning Variance and the Historicity of Scientific Realism

1. Introduction

2. Historicizing Meaning: Kuhn’s and Feyerabend’s Antirealist Theses

3. Putnam’s Theory of Meaning and Reference: A Realist Way Out?

4. Hacking’s Entity Realism

5. A Historicist Approach to Meaning and Reference

6. On the Electron’s Identity: What Would We Need in Order to Claim the Electron Exists?

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Gauging What’s Real: The Conceptual Foundations of Gauge Theories will be the topic of an Author-Meets-Critics session at the 2009 meeting of the American Philosophical Association. The conference will be held at the Westin Bayshore April 8–12, and this session will be on the afternoon of April 9. The Critics will be:

Gordon Belot (University of Michigan)

http://sitemaker.umich.edu/belot/papers_etc

Wayne Myrvold (University of Western Ontario)

http://publish.uwo.ca/~wmyrvold/pub.html

William Unruh (University of British Columbia)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bill_Unruh

Gauging What’s Real

The Conceptual Foundations of Gauge Theories

Richard Healey (Oxford 2007)

http://www.oup.com/uk/catalogue/?ci=9780199287963

From the back cover:

Gauge theories have provided our most successful representations of the fundamental forces of nature. How, though, do such representations work? Interpretations of gauge theory aim to answer this question. Through understanding how a gauge theory's representations work, we are able to say what kind of world our gauge theories reveal to us.

A gauge theory's representations are mathematical structures. These may be transformed among themselves while certain features remain the same. Do the representations related by such a gauge transformation merely offer alternative ways of representing the very same situation? If so, then gauge symmetry is a purely formal property since it reflects no corresponding symmetry in nature.

Gauging What's Real describes the representations provided by gauge theories in both classical and quantum physics. Richard Healey defends the thesis that gauge transformations are purely formal symmetries of almost all the classes of representations provided by each of our theories of fundamental forces. He argues that evidence for classical gauge theories of forces (other than gravity) gives us reason to believe that loops rather than points are the locations of fundamental properties. In addition to exploring the prospects of extending this conclusion to the quantum gauge theories of the Standard Model of elementary particle physics, Healey assesses the difficulties faced by attempts to base such ontological conclusions on the success of these theories.

From the Table of Contents:

1. What is a Gauge Theory?

2. The Aharonov-Bohm Effect

3. Classical Gauge Theories

4. Interpreting Classical Gauge Theories

4.1 The No Gauge-Potential Properties View

4.2 The Localized Gauge-Potential Properties View

4.3 The Non-Localized Gauge-Potential Properties View

4.4 A Holonomy Interpretation

4.4.1 Epistemological Considerations

4.4.2 Objections Considered

4.4.3 Semantic Considerations

4.5 Metaphysical Implications: Non-Separability and Holism

5. Quantized Yang-Mills Gauge Theories

6. The Empirical Import of Gauge Symmetry

6.1 Two Kinds of Symmetry

6.2 Observing Gauge Symmetry?

6.3 The Gauge Argument

6.4 Ghost Fields

6.5 Spontaneous Symmetry-Breaking

6.6 The Theta-Vacuum

6.7 Anomalies

7. Loop Representations

8. Interpreting Quantized Yang-Mills Gauge Theories

8.1 Auyang’s Event Ontology

8.2 Problems of Interpreting a Quantum Field Theory

Edited by Stephen Boydstun

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Gauging What’s Real: The Conceptual Foundations of Gauge Theories will be the topic of an Author-Meets-Critics session at the 2009 meeting of the American Philosophical Association. The conference will be held at the Westin Bayshore April 8–12, and this session will be on the afternoon of April 9. The Critics will be:

Dammit Stephen! You have just cost me another $99.00 minus the Amazon discount plus the shipping charges.

Ba'al Chatzaf

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Gauging What’s Real: The Conceptual Foundations of Gauge Theories will be the topic of an Author-Meets-Critics session at the 2009 meeting of the American Philosophical Association. The conference will be held at the Westin Bayshore April 8–12, and this session will be on the afternoon of April 9. The Critics will be:

Dammit Stephen! You have just cost me another $99.00 minus the Amazon discount plus the shipping charges.

Ba'al Chatzaf

Look on the bright side, Bob. The shipping charges to Shanghai are a lot higher. I recommend, if you are a frequent Amazon customer, getting the "Amazon Prime" option. For about USD $75 per year (I think that is the price) you get 2-day shipping to the 48 states for NO FEE. That's not NO ADDITIONAL SHIPPING CHARGES - it's no charge at all. ANd $3.99 per a given order converts the 2-day shipping to 1-day shipping for the same region, if desired.

It doesn't take many Amazon purchases to make that a good buy.

Bill P

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Contributions of Ilkka Niiniluoto

Critical Scientific Realism

From the publisher:

Ilkka Niiniluoto comes to the rescue of scientific realism, showing that reports of its death have been greatly exaggerated. Philosophical realism holds that the aim of a particular discourse is to make true statements about its subject matter. Niiniluoto surveys the different varieties of realism in ontology, semantics, epistemology, theory construction, and methodology. He then sets out his own original version and defends it against competing theories in the philosophy of science. Niiniluoto’s critical scientific realism is founded upon the notion of truth as correspondence between language and reality, and it characterizes scientific progress in terms of increasing truthlikeness. This makes it possible not only to take seriously, but also to make precise, the troublesome idea that scientific theories typically are false but nevertheless close to the truth.

“Defending Abduction”

Approaching Truth: Essays in Honor of Ilkka Niiniluoto

From the publisher of the Festscrift:

Ilkka Niiniluoto, a distinguished philosopher of science, has been a tireless spokesman for scientific realism and reason more generally. Trained in the tradition of the Finnish school of inductive logic he has refined the notion of truthlikeness (verisimilitude) to make the realist idea of scientific progress mathematically exact. Niiniluoto´s main technical works are included in his books Is Science Progressive? (1984) and Truthlikeness (1987), but his most recent general defense of scientific realism culminated in his Critical Scientific Realism (1999). Niiniluoto is, since 1981, Professor of Theoretical Philosophy at the University of Helsinki, and since 2003 the Rector of the University. He has for a long time been one of the most prominent public intellectuals in Finland. This Festschrift brings about a selection of philosophical essays on Niiniluoto´s philosophy by prominent member of the international community. The contributions are grouped around three themes. The first ones deal with philosophy of logic, the philosophy of language, and the philosophy of mathematics, and the second group consists of papers on induction, truthlikeness, and scientific progress. The third part collects essays on the history of logical empiricism, the ontology of social groups, and the dispute between theism and atheism. This book is a tribute to Ilkka Niiniluoto on his 60th birthday, and it also contains Niiniluoto's replies to comments, queries, and criticisms.

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.

Everywhere and Everywhen: Adventures in Physics and Philosophy

Nick Huggett (Oxford 2010)

From the Publisher:

Why does time pass and space does not? Are there just three dimensions? What is a quantum particle? Nick Huggett shows that philosophy—armed with a power to analyze fundamental concepts and their relationship to the human experience—has much to say about these profound questions about the universe. In Everywhere and Everywhen, Huggett charts a journey that peers into some of the oldest questions about the world, through some of the newest, such as: What shape is space? Does it have an edge? What is the difference between past and future? What is time in relativity? Is time travel possible? Are there other universes?

Huggett shows that answers to these profound questions are not just reserved for physics, and that philosophy can not only address but help advance our view of our deepest questions about the universe, space, and time, and their implications for humanity. His lively, accessible introduction to these topics is suitable for a general reader with no previous exposure to these profound and exciting questions.

Features (OUP)

Shows by example (and by explaining key ideas for the layman) how to think philosophically about physics.

Explains the dialogue between physics and philosophy; works through problems to show how each can influence the other.

Edited by Stephen Boydstun

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.

Everywhere and Everywhen: Adventures in Physics and Philosophy

Nick Huggett (Oxford 2010)

From the Publisher:

Why does time pass and space does not? Are there just three dimensions? What is a quantum particle? Nick Huggett shows that philosophy—armed with a power to analyze fundamental concepts and their relationship to the human experience—has much to say about these profound questions about the universe. In Everywhere and Everywhen, Huggett charts a journey that peers into some of the oldest questions about the world, through some of the newest, such as: What shape is space? Does it have an edge? What is the difference between past and future? What is time in relativity? Is time travel possible? Are there other universes?

Huggett shows that answers to these profound questions are not just reserved for physics, and that philosophy can not only address but help advance our view of our deepest questions about the universe, space, and time, and their implications for humanity. His lively, accessible introduction to these topics is suitable for a general reader with no previous exposure to these profound and exciting questions.

Believed when seen. I am hard put to comprehend how tossing word salad can substantially increase our knowledge of the physical world. We have seen just how successful Aristotle was at such doings. I am of the Old Fashioned school that believes physics comes from the best combination of laboratory/observatory on the one hand, and good hard rigorous mathematics on the other. You will notice that Einstein first did the math, and later on did philosophy.

Ba'al Chatzaf

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HOPOS 2012

Anastasia Guidi Itokazu

(Federal University of ABC, Brazil)

“Johannes Kepler’s History of Hypotheses: In Defence of Realism”

Abstract

The present paper proposes an investigation on Kepleŕs account of the history of astronomical hypotheses. I argue that the passages concerned comprise some powerful arguments in support of the author's realist stance. The theme is directly addressed in the Defence of Tycho against Ursus, while it permeates the argument of the New astronomy. In both works, it is clear that Kepler believes in the human ability of acquiring true knowledge of the world, which includes its overall cosmic arrangement as well as the motions of heavenly bodies. Therefore, when he turns to the history of astronomical hypotheses, Kepler's goal is set right from the start: to show that astronomy, throughout its history, has always been a science concerned with the discovery of the true motions of celestial bodies.

Copernicus and Ptolemy are thus approximated, insofar as Ptolemy is depicted as a realist. Accordingly, Copernicus is depicted as a genuine member of the Ptolemaic tradition of mathematical astronomers. It is well known that Kepler defied this very tradition, for having introduced non-circular orbits, because of his treatment of varying velocities as fundamental and, more generally, because of the physical character of his heliocentrism.

However, unlike Galileo, Kepler was not interested in dismissing pre-Copernican astronomy as the work of fools. His rhetoric is somehow opposite. The relevance, to Ancient astronomy, of physical (or metaphysical) assumptions based on solid spheres constitutes a precedent to his own introduction of physical hypotheses. In the New astronomy, instead of presenting a straightforward account of the two first planetary laws that bear his name, Kepler leads his reader through an intricate journey following the idealized path that would have led him from the data relative to Mars' apparent positions, previously collected by Tycho Brahe and his team, to the description of the planet's actual path around the Sun. A journey that was meant to respond to some important objections raised by his contemporaries, such as the astronomer David Fabricius (as James Voelkel has argued), but that in a broader sense was meant to show that the new physical astronomy was the legitimate heir to Ptolemaic tradition. The passage from apparent motions to the underlying reality, which constitutes the argument of the book, echoes the very history of astronomy, the passage from bare appearances to geocentric astronomy, and from there to the Copernican system and to Kepler's own physical heliocentrism. A gradual departure from direct sensation, which began with Ancient astronomy's project of representing apparent varying velocities by underlying uniform rotations, and culminated with Copernicus' admission of the Earth's motions.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Dan McArthur

(York University)

“Exploring Neo-Kantianism in Bohr and Logical Empiricism”

Abstract

Many philosophers of science in the mid twentieth century, such as Popper and Bunge, characterised Bohr as a crude verifictionist. However, more recent scholarship on Bohr has revealed this, and many philosophical readings of the Copenhagen interpretation, to be a caricature of his actual views. In fact in some substantive respects Bohr's philosophy of science shares at least some features that are amenable to realists. As a number of scholars have noted, Bohr's philosophy was influenced heavily by Kant's philosophical framework for classical physics. This illuminates many key features of Bohr's thinking such as the correspondence rule and in his views on the centrality of classical concepts.

In this paper I argue that understanding Bohr's Kantianism lets us re-evaluate the relation of Bohr's thought to the logical empiricism that was influential in his day. Recent scholarship by Richardson, Friedman and others has revealed that logical empiricism, like Bohr, has also been falsely caricatured as crudely verificationist. Friedman has also explored in some detail the neo-Kantian legacy in logical empiricism. Looking at a re-evaluated Bohr alongside a re-evaluated logical empiricism not only lets us get a clearer picture of Bohr's relationship with the philosophy of his day, it sheds light on the philosophical aspects of his arguments with Einstein and others. Most importantly for this paper, disabusing both Bohr and logical empiricism of crude verificationism and examining them with a view to exploring their shared Kantian heritage lets us get a clearer look at some affinities but also some significant but under-emphasised differences between his thought and logical empiricism.

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Scientific Metaphysics (Oxford 2013)

D. Ross, J. Ladyman, and H. Kincaid, editors

The chapters by Mark Wilson* and by Michael Friedman* are especially important for Objectivist philosophy of science.

Metaphysics and Science (Oxford 2013)

S. Mumford and M. Tugby, editors

The Introduction by the editors is an excellent survey of the decline of Neo-Humean empiricism among philosophers of science in the second half of the twentieth century and the rise of various metaphysics of science over that same period and on to the present. The conception of modern metaphysics of science addressed in this collection pertains to science in general, not to metaphysical issues peculiar to the particular sciences. The editors argue for the following definition of the metaphysics of science in the contemporary conception of the discipline:

The metaphysical study of the aspects of reality, such as kindhood, lawhood, causal power, and causation, which impose order on the world and make our scientific disciplines possible (that is, disciplines which are able to provide predictions—often novel—and offer explanations for new facts and anomalies within their given domain), and also the study of the metaphysical relationship between the various scientific disciplines.

The chapter “Measurement, Laws, and Counterfactuals” by John T. Roberts* is especially important for Objectivist philosophy of science.

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