Lexicon of Arguments


Philosophical and Scientific Issues in Dispute
 
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The author or concept searched is found in the following 3 entries.
Disputed term/author/ism Author
Entry
Reference
Method Boyd
 
Books on Amazon
Fraassen I 77
Realism/Science/Methodology/Method/Boyd: only realism can explain the scientific activity of the experimental setup (method, experiment). This is needed for the legitimation of intertheoretical considerations. This is to explain the role played by accepted theories in experimental setup. ---
I 78
BoydVsFraassen/BoydVsAnti-Realism: 1. Principle: (according to Boyd anti-realistic) if two theories have precisely the same deductive observation consequences, then every experimental evidence for or against the one is simultaneously one for or against the other.
BoydVs: this is simply wrong as it is stated there, and it cannot be improved either.
Empirical equivalence/FraassenVsBoyd: I have a completely different definition of empirical equivalence than he has.
2. Principle: (according to Boyd accepted by all philosophers): Suppose a scientific principle contributes to the reliability of a method in the following minimal sense: its application contributes to the likelihood that the observational consequences of accepted theories will be true. Then it is the task of epistemology to explain the reliability of this principle.

Fraassen: I also believe that we should agree with that. It is itself a principle about principles.

Boyd/Fraassen: they have a special example in mind:

(P) a theory must be tested under conditions which are representative of those in which it is most likely to fail in the light of accompanying information if it can fail at all.
Fraassen: this is harmless as it is stated there.
---
I 79
Problem: "Accompanying information": I assume that he "understands" here "knowledge" as "light", i.e. as knowledge about the underlying causal mechanisms that are based on previously accepted theories. Boyd: e.g. Suppose,
M: chemical mechanism
A: Antibiotic
C: Bacterial type
L: Theory, which, together with accompanying information, assumes that the population of bacteria develops as a function of their initial population, the dosage of A and the time.
Experiment: Question: what must be taken into account when constructing the experiment?
1. E.g. a substance similar to A is known, but it does not dissolve the cell walls, but interacts with a resulting cell wall after mitosis. Then we must test the implication of the theory L which is to be prooved, which does not work in this alternative way.
Then the sample should be viewed in such a short time that the typical cell has not yet split, but it is long enough that a large part of the population is destroyed by A (if there is such an interval).
2. E.g. one knows that the bacteria in question are susceptible to a mutation that mutates the cell walls. This leads to the possibility that theory L will fail if the time is long enough and the dosage of A is low enough to allow selective survival of resistant cells. Therefore, another experiment is required here.
In this way accepted theories lead to a modification of experiments.

Knowledge/Fraassen: we must understand knowledge here as "implied by a previously accepted theory".

Boyd I
Richard Boyd
The Philosophy of Science Cambridge 1991


Fr I
B. van Fraassen
The Scientific Image Oxford 1980
Realism Boyd
 
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Horwich I 492
Scientific Realism/Richard Boyd/M. Williams: Boyd's defense of the scientific realism is much more complex than what we have seen so far: ---
Horw I 493
Does it require a substantial (explanatory) scientific concept? Boyd: more indirect way than Putnam: the (approximate) truth of our theories explains the instrumental reliability of our methods.
Method/Boyd: method is not theory neutral! On the contrary, because they are formed by our theories, it is their truth which explains the success of the methods.
Boyd/M. Williams: thus he turns a well-known argument on the head: BoydVsPositivism.
Positivism/Theory: Thesis: the language of observation must be theory neutral. Likewise the methodological principles.
IdealismVsPositivism: VsTheory Neutrality. e.g. Kuhn: the scientific community establishes the "facts".
Boyd/M. Williams: Boyd cleverly makes the theory-ladenness of our methodological judgments the basis of his realism. These methods, which are so loaded as our theory, would not work if the corresponding theories were not "approximately true in a relevant manner".
N.B.: one cannot accuse him of making an unacceptable rigid separation of theory and observation.
Ad. 1. Vs: that invalidates the first objection
Ad. 2. Vs: Boyd: it would be a miracle if our theory-loaded methods worked, although the theories proved to be wrong. There is no explanation for scientific realism.
Ad. 3. Vs:
---
Horw I 494
M. Williams: this is not VsScientific realism but VsPutnam: PutnamVsBoyd: arguments such as those of Boyd establish a causal role for the scientific concept.
BoydVsPutnam: they do not do that at all: "true" is only a conventional expression, which does not add any explanatory power to scientific realism.
Truth/explanation/realism/Boyd/M. Williams: explaining the success of our methods by the truth of our theories boils down to say that the methods with which we investigate particles work because the world consists of such particles that are more or less the way we think.
Conclusion: but it makes no difference whether we explain this success (of our methods) by the truth of the theories or by the theories themselves!
M. Williams pro deflationism: so we need no substantial concept of truth.
---
Horw I 494
Truth/M.Williams: truth has no substantial role - and no explanatory role: no difference whether we explain success by truth of theory or by theory itself (pro deflationism) Scientific Realism/M. Williams: some might object that according to the scientific realism our present theories are not true in one way or another, but simply and literally true.
M. Williams: that can be, but even the deflationist truth is in a sense realistic, because it does not insist on reconstructing the scientific concept epistemically.
---
Horw I 495
Anti-Realism/Boyd: (BoydVsAnti-Realism/BoydVsDummett): two types: a) "empirical" thesis that theories must be re-interpreted instrumentalistically
b) "constructivist" thesis (Kuhn): that the world must be constructed from the theoretical tradition of the scientific community

M. Williams: if that means that objects are not simply "given", then practically everyone is constructivist today.
Deflationism/M. Williams: deflationism does not have to face any version of constructivism.
Boyd/M. Williams: his scientific realism does not ask whether a substantial explanation is necessary in terms of "correspondence." His realism is more "empirical" (in Kant's sense) than "transcendental". It is not concerned with truth but with empirical relations between truths.

Boyd I
Richard Boyd
The Philosophy of Science Cambridge 1991


Hor I
P. Horwich (Ed.)
Theories of Truth Aldershot 1994
Science Fraassen
 
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I 34
Science / Fraassen: thesis: it is not about declaration as such, but about new statements about observable regularities.
I 39
Science / R. Boyd: thesis: the terms of a mature science typically refer. - We need realism, so the success of science does not look like a miracle. - FraassenVsBoyd: Science does not have to explain to its own success.
I 86
Unity / Science / Duhem: DuhemVs English Science: these are "broad but shallow", satisfied with a piecemeal approach (apparatus). - (Duhem per uniformity).
I 196
Philosophy of Science / Fraassen: has nothing to do with logic or philosophy of language. - And vice versa: Fraassen thesis: language problems have nothing to do with the content of science and the structure of the world.

Fr I
B. van Fraassen
The Scientific Image Oxford 1980


The author or concept searched is found in the following 3 controversies.
Disputed term/author/ism Author Vs Author
Entry
Reference
Antirealism Boyd Vs Antirealism
 
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Fractions I 77
Realism/Science/Methodology/Method/Boyd: only realism can explain the scientific activity of the experimental setup (method, experiment). This is necessary for the legitimation of intertheoretical considerations. To explain the role played by accepted theories in experimental setup. ---
I 78
BoydVsFraassen/BoydVsAnti-Realism: 1. Principle: (according to Boyd anti-realistic) if two theories have precisely the same deductive observation consequences, then every experimental evidence for or against the one is simultaneously one for or against the other.
BoydVs: this is simply wrong as it is written down like this, and it cannot be improved either.
Empirical equivalence/FraassenVsBoyd: I have a quite different definition of empirical equivalence than he does.
2. Principle: (accepted by all philosophers according to Boyd): Suppose, a scientific principle contributes to the reliability of a method in the following minimal sense: its application contributes to the likelihood that the observational consequences of accepted theories will be true. Then it is the task of knowledge theory (epistemology) to explain the reliability of this principle.
Fraassen: I also believe that we should agree to that. It is itself a principle of principles.
Boyd/Fraassen: has a special example in mind:
(P) a theory must be tested under conditions which are representative of those in which it will most likely fail in the light of accompanying information if it can fail at all.
Fraassen: this is harmless as it is written down like this.
---
79
Problem: "Accompanying information": I assume that he understands "knowledge" here "light", i. e. as knowledge about the underlying causal mechanisms, which are based on previously accepted theories.
Boyd: E.g. Suppose,
M: chemical mechanism
A: Antibiotic
C: Bacterial type
L: Theory, which, together with accompanying information, assumes that the population of the bacteria develops as a function of their initial population, dosage of A and time.
Experiment: Question: what must be taken into account when constructing the experiment?
1. E.g. a substance similar to A is known, but it does not dissolve the cell walls but interacts with a resulting cell wall after mitosis. Then we must test the implication of the theory L to be tested, which does not work in this alternative way.
Then the sample should be viewed in such a short time that the typical cell has not yet split, but it is long enough that a large part of the population is destroyed by A (if there is such an interval).
2. For example, one knows that the bacteria in question are susceptible to a mutation that allows the cell walls to mutate. This leads to the possibility that theory L will fail if the time is long enough and the dosage of A is low enough to allow selective survival of resistant cells. Therefore, another experiment is required here.
In this way accepted theories lead to a modification of experiments.

Boyd I
Richard Boyd
The Philosophy of Science Cambridge 1991
Boyd, R. Putnam Vs Boyd, R.
 
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Horwich I 492
Scientific Realism/Richard Boyd/M. Williams: Boyd's defense of scientific realism is much more complex than what we have considered so far:
I 493
Is a substantial (explanatory) truth concept necessary? Boyd: more indirect approach than Putnam: the (approximate) truth of our theories explains the instrumental reliability of our methods.
Method/Boyd: is not theory neutral! On the contrary, because they are formed by our theories, it is their truth that explains the success of the methods.
Boyd/M. Williams: thus it turns a well-known argument on its head: BoydVsPositivism.
Positivism/Theory: Thesis: the observing language must be theory neutral. The methodological principles likewise.
IdealismVsPositivism: VsTheory Neutrality. E.g. Kuhn: the scientific community determines the "facts".
Boyd/M. Williams: Boyd turns the theory ladenness of our methodological judgments very cleverly into the base of his realism. Thesis: Methods that are as theory-laden as ours would not work if the corresponding theories were not "approximately true in a relevant way".
Point: thus he cannot be blamed of making an unacceptably rigid separation between theory and observation.
Ad. 1) Vs: this invalidates the first objection
Ad. 2) Vs: Boyd: it would be a miracle if our theory-laden methods functioned even though the theories proved to be false. For scientific realism, there is nothing to explain here.
Ad. 3) Vs:
I 494
M. Williams: this is not VsScientific Realism, but VsPutnam: PutnamVsBoyd: arguments like that of Boyd do not establish a causal explanatory role for the truth concept.
BoydVsPutnam: they don't do that: "true" is only a conventional expression which adds no explanatory power to the scientific realism.
Truth/Explanation/Realism/Boyd/M. Williams: explaining the success of our methods with the truth of our theories boils down to saying that the methods by which we examine particles work, because the world is composed of such particles that are more or less the way we think.
Conclusion: but it makes no difference whether we explain this success (of our methods) by the truth of the theories or by the theories themselves!
M. Williams pro Deflationism: so we do not need a substantial truth concept.

Putnam I 80
Convergence/Putnam: there is something to the convergence of scientific knowledge! Science/Theory/Richard Boyd: Thesis: from the usual positivist philosophy of science merely follows that later theories imply many observation sentences of earlier ones, but not that later theories must imply the approximate truth of the earlier ones! (1976).
Science/Boyd: (1) terms of a mature science typically refer
(2) The laws of a theory that belongs to a mature science are typically approximately true. (Boyd needs more premises).
I 81
Boyd/Putnam: the most important thing about these findings is that the concepts of "truth" and "reference" play a causally explanatory role in epistemology. When replacing them in Boyd with operationalist concept, for example, "is simple and leads to true predictions", the explanation is not maintained.
Truth/Theory/Putnam: I do not only want to have theories that are "approximately true", but those that have the chance to be true.
Then the later theories must contain the laws of the earlier ones as a borderline case.
PutnamVsBoyd: according to him, I only know that T2 should imply most of my observation sentences that T1 implies. It does not follow that it must imply the truth of the laws of T1!
I 82
Then there is also no reason why T2 should have the property that we can assign reference objects to the terms of T1 from the position of T2. E.g. Yet it is a fact that from the standpoint of the RT we can assign a reference object to the concept "gravity" in the Newtonian theory, but not to others: for example, phlogiston or ether.
With concepts such as "is easy" or "leads to true predictions" no analogue is given to the demand of reference.
I 85/86
Truth/Boyd: what about truth if none of the expressions or predicates refers? Then the concept "truth value" becomes uninteresting for sentences containing theoretical concepts. So truth will also collapse. PutnamVsBoyd: this is perhaps not quite what would happen, but for that we need a detour via the following considerations:
I 86
Intuitionism/Logic/Connectives/Putnam: the meaning of the classical connectives is reinterpreted in intuitionism: statements:
p p is asserted p is asserted to be provable

"~p" it is provable that a proof of p would imply the provability of 1 = 0. "~p" states the absurdity of the provability of p (and not the typical "falsity" of p).

"p u q" there is proof for p and there is proof for q

"p > q" there is a method that applied to any proof of p produces proof of q (and proof that this method does this).
I 87
Special contrast to classical logic: "p v ~p" classical: means decidability of every statement.
Intuitionistically: there is no theorem here at all.
We now want to reinterpret the classical connectives intuitionistically:
~(classical) is identical with ~(intuitionist)
u (classical) is identified with u (intuitionist)
p v q (classical) is identified with ~(~p u ~q)(intuitionist)
p > q (classical) is identified with ~(p u ~q) (intuitionist)
So this is a translation of one calculus into the other, but not in the sense that the classical meanings of the connectives were presented using the intuitionistic concepts, but in the sense that the classical theorems are generated. ((s) Not translation, but generation.)
The meanings of the connectives are still not classical, because these meanings are explained by means of provability and not of truth or falsity (according to the reinterpretation)).
E.g. Classical means p v ~p: every statement is true or false.
Intuitionistically formulated: ~(~p u ~~p) means: it is absurd that a statement and its negation are both absurd. (Nothing of true or false!).

Pu I
H. Putnam
Von einem Realistischen Standpunkt Frankfurt 1993

Pu II
H. Putnam
Repräsentation und Realität Frankfurt 1999

Pu III
H. Putnam
Für eine Erneuerung der Philosophie Stuttgart 1997

Pu IV
H. Putnam
Pragmatismus Eine offene Frage Frankfurt 1995

Pu V
H. Putnam
Vernunft, Wahrheit und Geschichte Frankfurt 1990

Hor I
P. Horwich (Ed.)
Theories of Truth Aldershot 1994
Boyd, R. Rorty Vs Boyd, R.
 
Books on Amazon:
Richard Rorty
I 310
Def convergence/Boyd/Putnam/Rorty: reliability of a principle such as the following: one should examine in the light of the theoretical knowledge available, under which circumstances the causal assertions of the theory can plausibly go wrong, either because other causal mechanisms seem plausible, or because kinds of causal mechanisms already known come into conflict with the theory, namely in ways that theory can not foresee. Rorty: no one will have anything against that as long as Boyd does not claim we could explain why this principle leads to useful results only on the basis of a "realistic understanding of the relevant adjoining theories":
I 311
Boyd: Suppose, we advise each time which theories are particularly likely to fail experimentally. And suppose further, our conjectures apply exactly where the realist would expect it. What other explanation than realism is then still possible? It certainly is not the mere effect of conventionally or arbitraryly acquired scientific traditions. If the world is not shaped by our conventions, which no empiricist would accept, then the reliability of this principle can by no means be merely a matter of convention. RortyVsBoyd: he confuses two meanings of "reliability of a method":
a) the meaning, that a process is reliable in relation to an independent test (thermometer) with
b) the meaning that a process is reliable, because one can not imagine an alternative to it. The examination of a new theory by old ones is not an optional procedure. How else could we verify it?
Theory/Rorty: but a new theory is nothing more than a relatively minor change of a comprehensive network of convictions.

Ro I
R. Rorty
Der Spiegel der Natur Frankfurt 1997

Ro II
R. Rorty
Philosophie & die Zukunft Frankfurt 2000

Ro III
R. Rorty
Kontingenz, Ironie und Solidarität Frankfurt 1992

Ro IV
R. Rorty
Eine Kultur ohne Zentrum Stuttgart 1993

Ro V
R. Rorty
Solidarität oder Objektivität? Stuttgart 1998

Ro VI
R. Rorty
Wahrheit und Fortschritt Frankfurt 2000