ph551 Research Seminar in the Philosophy of Natural Sciences

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October 2013

PH551: Social Emergentism Reconsidered (Simon Lohse)

28 October 2013, 5:15 pm6:45 pm

Monday 28th October; 17:15pm

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November 2013

Jossi Berkovitz (Toronto): On Mathematical Explanations of Physical Facts

11 November 2013, 5:15 pm6:45 pm

Monday 11th November; 17:15pm

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Philip Thonemann (LSE): The Misuse and Use of Meta-Evidence

18 November 2013, 5:15 pm6:45 pm

Monday 18th November; 17:15pm

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December 2013

Seminar Cancelled

2 December 2013, 5:15 pm6:45 pm

Monday 2nd December; 17:15pm

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February 2014

Sebastian Kletzl (Vienna): Thermometers and Telescopes – Towards an (Social) Epistemology of Instruments

10 February 2014, 5:15 pm6:45 pm

Thermometers and Telescopes - Towards an (Social) Epistemology of Instruments Abstract: How do I know the exact temperature? Or the exact time? Or the exact transition times of stars? Often one arrives at such knowledge by way of various instruments. The outputs of numerous instruments are an important way of acquiring knowledge; especially in science but also in our everyday…

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June 2014

Dean Peters: Observability; perception and the extended mind

2 June 2014, 5:15 pm6:45 pm

Title: Observability; perception and the extended mind Abstract: The empiricist requires some tenable epistemic distinction between observable and unobservable entities. This is often cashed out as a distinction between the results of human biological senses; historically contingent as they are; and those of artificial scientific instruments. I argue; however; that the empiricist has a responsibility to justify the belief that…

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Marton Gomori (Eötvös University): How to Move an Electromagnetic Field

16 June 2014, 5:15 pm6:45 pm
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October 2014

Sam Fletcher (MCMP, Minnesota): “On the Local Flatness of Spacetime”

6 October 2014, 5:15 pm6:45 pm
LAK 2.06, Lakatos Building
London, WC2A 2AE United Kingdom
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Abstract: Many discussions of the foundations of general relativity put a special emphasis on describing every relativistic spacetime as “locally flat,” or as “locally Minkowskian”. Such claims are prima facie puzzling: after all, curvature is itself a local property, being described by a tensor field on spacetime. In general, relativistic spacetimes have non-vanishing curvature, so there is a straightforward sense…

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Kim Sterelny (ANU), “From Calls to Words: The Evolution of Language”

31 October 2014, 4:30 pm6:00 pm
LAK 2.06, Lakatos Building
London, WC2A 2AE United Kingdom
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Abstract: This paper is on the evolution of language, focusing on the specific issue of building an incremental picture of the transition from holistic, call-like signals (typified by the famous vervet alarm calls) to referential terms; so the main focus is on the emergence of “protolanguage”, on many views, the immediate predecessor of the emergence of full human language. The…

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February 2015

Balázs Gyenis (Hungarian Academy of Sciences), “Bayes rules all: On the equivalence of various forms of learning in a probabilistic setting”

9 February 2015, 4:00 pm5:30 pm
LAK 2.06, Lakatos Building
London, WC2A 2AE United Kingdom
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Read the paper on PhilSci-Archive. Abstract: Jeffrey conditioning is said to provide a more general method of assimilating uncertain evidence than Bayesian conditioning. We show that Jeffrey learning is merely a particular type of Bayesian learning if we accept either of the following two observations: Learning comprises both probability kinematics and proposition kinematics. What can be updated is not the…

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June 2015

Jakub Motrenko (Warsaw): “Sound Science or Junk Science: Polish Sociology facing the Solidarity Movement (Solidarność)”

29 June 2015, 5:15 pm6:45 pm
LAK 2.06, Lakatos Building
London, WC2A 2AE United Kingdom
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Abstract: Polish sociologists in the early 80s observed a sudden and entirely unexpected appearance of a huge, long‐lasting and unprecedented in the Soviet Bloc social movement Solidarność (Solidarity movement). Renowned researchers, who had been doing research on Polish society for over two decades, were able neither to predict the appearance of the movement, nor to explain it ex post. Polish…

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December 2015

Silvia Casini (Aberdeen) “From the Scan-portrait to BioArt Scenarios”

7 December 2015, 3:00 pm4:30 pm
LAK 2.06, Lakatos Building
London, WC2A 2AE United Kingdom
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Abstract: Since the so-called ‘Decade of the Brain’ in the 1990s, the images produced through brain imaging techniques have captured the public imagination and scholarly attention far beyond the closed circuit of the neurosciences: the possibility to visualize the human brain and hence to grasp the materiality of thinking and feeling seemed possible as never before. The definition of one’s…

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May 2016

Gergei Bana (INRIA, Paris): “The subjectivist agent and his model: an attempt to be rigorous about objective chance and Lewis’s Principal Principle”

17 May 2016, 5:15 pm6:45 pm
LAK 2.06, Lakatos Building
London, WC2A 2AE United Kingdom
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In this talk, we propose a framework for rigorous analysis of objective chance, the Principal Principle, admissible evidence and related notions …

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October 2016

Fiora Salis (LSE): “Models as scientific representations: fiction, reference and make-believe”

31 October 2016, 5:15 pm6:45 pm
LAK 2.06, Lakatos Building
London, WC2A 2AE United Kingdom
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In this presentation I develop a novel fictionalist account of how models represent. To this aim I offer a general definition of models as representations, I present a fictionalist account of what models are that draws on Walton’s theory of fiction, I assess current fictionalist accounts of models as representations, and I finally offer an explanation of how models represent in terms of the crucial notions of reference and make-believe. The key idea is that the representation relation between models and the world is a kind of indirect referential relation that is mediated by propositional imagination of the make-believe variety.

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November 2016

Michael Hunter (University of California, Davis): “Germ-line or Somatic mutations? The pitfalls and concerns for deleting and replacing the concept of race in human genetics”

29 November 2016, 2:00 pm3:30 pm
LAK 2.06, Lakatos Building
London, WC2A 2AE United Kingdom
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Abstract: Across the recent history of Population Genetics, there have been a number of calls by historians of science, philosophers of science, social scientists and biologists themselves for dealing with the concept of "race" in Population Biology. Most recently, in the article written by Yudell et al. (2016), the authors advocate that scientific journals and professional societies should encourage use…

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February 2017

Michael Stuart (CPNSS): “A Dual Process Account of Scientific Imagination”

6 February, 5:15 pm6:45 pm
LAK 2.06, Lakatos Building
London, WC2A 2AE United Kingdom
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Scientists need imagination. They use it to generate hypotheses, create models, design experiments, interpret data and occasionally, invent demons, travel through time and ride on light waves. To investigate the role that imagination plays in these actions, we need an empirically tractable characterization of imagination that is also amenable to philosophical discussion. In this talk I reject existing characterizations of imagination and present a new one based on the dual-process theory of cognition.

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