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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.
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
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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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