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1. Theoria. Revista de Teoría, Historia y Fundamentos de la Ciencia: Volume > 34 > Issue: 2
Andoni Ibarra Letter from the Editor
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monographic section
2. Theoria. Revista de Teoría, Historia y Fundamentos de la Ciencia: Volume > 34 > Issue: 2
Vincenzo Politi Guest editor’s introduction
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3. Theoria. Revista de Teoría, Historia y Fundamentos de la Ciencia: Volume > 34 > Issue: 2
Alexander Bird The aim of belief and the aim of science
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I argue that the aim of belief and the aim of science are both knowledge. The ‘aim of belief’ is to be identified with the product of a properly functioning cognitive system. Science is an institution that is the social, functional analogue of a cognitive system, and its aim is the same as that of belief. In both cases it is knowledge rather than true belief that is the product of proper functioning.
4. Theoria. Revista de Teoría, Historia y Fundamentos de la Ciencia: Volume > 34 > Issue: 2
Manuela Fernández Pinto Scientific ignorance: Probing the limits of scientific research and knowledge production
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The aim of the paper is to clarify the concept of scientific ignorance: what is it, what are its sources, and when is it epistemically detrimental to science. While some sources of scientific ignorance come inevitably with the process of knowledge acquisition, others are deliberately created. The former includes selection processes, inductive reasoning, and cognitive biases, while the latter includes scientific fraud. Another important source of scientific ignorance appears when scientists introduce methodological biases through micro-decisions in the research process. I provide three examples from medical research to illustrate this point. I argue further that methodological biases present a challenge, in so far as they are no easily classifiable as deliberate: they might also be the result of entrenched research practices within a scientific community. Strategies to identify and prevent methodological biases in research should take into account such difference.
5. Theoria. Revista de Teoría, Historia y Fundamentos de la Ciencia: Volume > 34 > Issue: 2
Sophia Efstathiou, Rune Nydal, Astrid LÆgreid, Martin Kuiper Scientific knowledge in the age of computation: Explicated, computable and manageable?
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With increasing publication and data production, scientific knowledge presents not simply an achievement but also a challenge. Scientific publications and data are increasingly treated as resources that need to be digitally ‘managed.’ This gives rise to scientific Knowledge Management (KM): second-order scientific work aiming to systematically collect, take care of and mobilise first-hand disciplinary knowledge and data in order to provide new first-order scientific knowledge. We follow the work of Leonelli (2014, 2016), Efstathiou (2012, 2016) and Hislop (2013) in our analysis of the use of KM in semantic systems biology. Through an empirical philosophical account of KM-enabled biological research, we argue that KM helps produce new first-order biological knowledge that did not exist before, and which could not have been produced by traditional means. KM work is enabled by conceiving of ‘knowledge’ as an object for computational science: as explicated in the text of biological articles and computable via appropriate data and metadata. However, these founded knowledge concepts enabling computational KM risk focusing on only computationally tractable data as knowledge, underestimating practice-based knowing and its significance in ensuring the validity of ‘manageable’ knowledge as knowledge.
6. Theoria. Revista de Teoría, Historia y Fundamentos de la Ciencia: Volume > 34 > Issue: 2
Vincenzo Politi The interdisciplinarity revolution
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Contemporary interdisciplinary research is often described as bringing some important changes in the structure and aims of the scientific enterprise. Sometimes, it is even characterized as a sort of Kuhnian scientific revolution. In this paper, the analogy between interdisciplinarity and scientific revolutions will be analysed. It will be suggested that the way in which interdisciplinarity is promoted looks similar to how new paradigms were described and defended in some episodes of revolutionary scientific change. However, contrary to what happens during some scientific revolutions, the rhetoric with which interdisciplinarity is promoted does not seem to be accompanied by a strong agreement about what interdisciplinarity actually is. In the end, contemporary interdisciplinarity could be defined as being in a ‘pre-paradigmatic’ phase, with the very talk promoting interdisciplinarity being a possible obstacle to its maturity.
articles
7. Theoria. Revista de Teoría, Historia y Fundamentos de la Ciencia: Volume > 34 > Issue: 2
Tamires Dal Magro, Manuel J. García-Pérez On Euclidean diagrams and geometrical knowledge
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We argue against the claim that the employment of diagrams in Euclidean geometry gives rise to gaps in the proofs. First, we argue that it is a mistake to evaluate its merits through the lenses of Hilbert’s formal reconstruction. Second, we elucidate the abilities employed in diagram-based inferences in the Elements and show that diagrams are mathematically reputable tools. Finally, we complement our analysis with a review of recent experimental results purporting to show that, not only is the Euclidean diagram-based practice strictly regimented, it is rooted in cognitive abilities that are universally shared.
8. Theoria. Revista de Teoría, Historia y Fundamentos de la Ciencia: Volume > 34 > Issue: 2
Mirco Sambrotta Scientific Models and Metalinguistic Negotiation
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The aim of this paper is to explore the possibility that at least some ontological dispute are better understood as what David Plunkett and Timothy Sundell have called ‘metalinguistic negotiations’. I will take the debate between the dominant approaches of realism and anti-realism (especially fictionalism) about the ontological status of scientific models as a case-study. I will argue that such a debate is best seen as normatively motivated, insofar as a normative and non-factual question may be involved in it: how ought the relevant piece of language to be used? Even though I will generally assess the prospects for a broadly deflationist approach, I shall outline a sense in which such a dispute can be recast as ‘minimally substantive’.
9. Theoria. Revista de Teoría, Historia y Fundamentos de la Ciencia: Volume > 34 > Issue: 2
Martín Labarca, Juan Camilo Martínez González Acerca de los elementos pertenecientes al grupo 3 de la tabla periodica: un nuevo enfoque
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En abril de 2015 un equipo internacional de investigadores lograba medir, por primera vez, la primera energía de ionización del laurencio, un elemento superpesado de número atómico 103. El resultado experimental, publicado en la prestigiosa revista científica Nature, daba lugar a la reapertura de un antiguo debate que concierne a los elementos que deben formar parte del grupo 3 de la tabla periódica. El propósito de este trabajo es brindar una nueva línea de argumentación para elucidar este problema.
10. Theoria. Revista de Teoría, Historia y Fundamentos de la Ciencia: Volume > 34 > Issue: 2
Summary
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articles
11. Theoria. Revista de Teoría, Historia y Fundamentos de la Ciencia: Volume > 34 > Issue: 1
Paula Olmos Un enfoque argumentativo sobre la abducción y sobre la ponderación de hipótesis explicativas
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This paper makes use of the concepts and theoretical framework developed within the field of Argumentation Theory to account for the structure and characteristics of abduction and of the comparative processes of weighing explanatory hypothesis. It elaborates an analysis of abduction based on its consideration as a meta-explanatory argumentation scheme while elucidating its relations with abductive reasoning and inference. The conceptualization of comparative processes of weighing explanatory hypothesis as complex and varied argumentative structures is presented as an alternative to the idea of «inference to the best explanation».
12. Theoria. Revista de Teoría, Historia y Fundamentos de la Ciencia: Volume > 34 > Issue: 1
Luca Forgione Kant, the transcendental designation of I, and the direct reference theory
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The aim of this paper is to address the semantic issue of the nature of the representation I and of the transcendental designation, i.e., the self-referential apparatus involved in transcendental apperception. The I think, the bare or empty representation I, is the representational vehicle of the concept of transcendental subject; as such, it is a simple representation. The awareness of oneself as thinking is only expressed by the I: the intellectual representation which performs a referential function of the spontaneity of a thinking subject. To begin with, what exactly does Kant mean when he states that I is a simple and empty representation? Secondly, can the features of the representation I and the correlative transcendental designation explain the indexical nature of the I? Thirdly, do the Kantian considerations on indexicality anticipate any of the semantic elements or, if nothing else, the spirit of the direct reference theory?
13. Theoria. Revista de Teoría, Historia y Fundamentos de la Ciencia: Volume > 34 > Issue: 1
Esther Romero, Belén Soria Semantic content and compositional context-sensitivity
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A variety of theorists have recently argued against the explanation of the semantic content of a sentence as a minimal proposition claiming that intentional aspects of the context are often needed to obtain a minimal proposition. Minimalists such as Borg, however, still defend intention-insensitive minimal propositions for sentences in a narrow context and provide solutions or dissolutions against incompleteness objections. In this paper, we show that these putative defences of propositionalism do not serve to avoid some additional genuine objections which arise from compositional context-sensitivity. We aim to show that there are complex expressions which compositionally demand intention-sensitive pragmatic effects in a mandatory way and, for that reason, they provide us with evidence against the type of propositionalism that substantiates the defence of semantic minimalism.
14. Theoria. Revista de Teoría, Historia y Fundamentos de la Ciencia: Volume > 34 > Issue: 1
Víctor Fernández Castro Justification, conversation, and folk psychology
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The aim of this paper is to offer a version of the so-called conversational hypothesis of the ontogenetic connection between language and mindreading (Harris 1996, 2005; Van Cleave and Gauker 2010; Hughes et al. 2006). After arguing against a particular way of understanding the hypothesis (the communicative view), I will start from the justificatory view in philosophy of social cognition (Andrews 2012; Hutto 2004; Zawidzki 2013) to make the case for the idea that the primary function of belief and desire attributions is to justify and normalize deviant patterns of behaviour. Following this framework, I elaborate upon the idea that development of folk psychological skills requires the subjects to engage in conversationally mediated joint and cooperative activities in order to acquire the conceptual capacity of ascribing propositional attitudes. After presenting the general version of the hypothesis, I present several testable sub-hypotheses and some psychological studies that give empirical plausibility to the hypothesis.
15. Theoria. Revista de Teoría, Historia y Fundamentos de la Ciencia: Volume > 34 > Issue: 1
Sergio Daniel Barberis Wiring optimization explanation in neuroscience: What is special about it?
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This paper examines the explanatory distinctness of wiring optimization models in neuroscience. Wiring optimization models aim to represent the organizational features of neural and brain systems as optimal (or near-optimal) solutions to wiring optimization problems. My claim is that that wiring optimization models provide design explanations. In particular, they support ideal interventions on the decision variables of the relevant design problem and assess the impact of such interventions on the viability of the target system.
16. Theoria. Revista de Teoría, Historia y Fundamentos de la Ciencia: Volume > 34 > Issue: 1
Daniel Blanco, Santiago Ginnobili, Pablo Lorenzano La capacidad unificadora de las teorías científicas: Una propuesta alternativa desde el estructuralismo metateórico al enfoque kitchereano de patrones explicativos
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Kitcher has satisfactorily explicated unification using his particular approach to scientific explanation. However, we believe that his perspective has certain problems, which have been inherited by more recent approaches to the topic. Specifically, the requirement of stringency of patterns that Kitcher proposes to determine the unifying power of an explanatory pattern undermines the typical and peculiar heterogeneity we can find in different applications of unifying theories. We will show how this topic can be better addressed by the perspective built by metatheoretical structuralism without sacrificing any of Kitcher’s correct intuitions.
17. Theoria. Revista de Teoría, Historia y Fundamentos de la Ciencia: Volume > 34 > Issue: 1
Jesús Zamora Bonilla The market for scientific lemons, and the marketization of science
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Scientific research is based on the division of cognitive labour: every scientist has to trust that other colleagues have checked whether the items that are taken as knowledge, and she cannot check by herself, are reliable enough. I apply ideas from the field known as ‘information economics’ (the study of economic interactions where some agents are better informed than others) to analyse the scientists’ incentives to produce items of knowledge of an ‘adequate’ quality, under the assumption that a big part of what one observes in her empirical research is not available for the readers of the paper. I also discuss some criticisms to this ‘marketization’ of science studies.
book reviews
18. Theoria. Revista de Teoría, Historia y Fundamentos de la Ciencia: Volume > 34 > Issue: 1
Blake C. Stacey Olimpia Lombardi, Sebastian Fortin, Federico Holik and Cristian Lopez, eds. 2017. What is Quantum Information?
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19. Theoria. Revista de Teoría, Historia y Fundamentos de la Ciencia: Volume > 34 > Issue: 1
Summary
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20. Theoria. Revista de Teoría, Historia y Fundamentos de la Ciencia: Volume > 34 > Issue: 1
Referees for THEORIA (2017-2018)
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