Philosophy of Science

Anti-vaxxers & Other Sceptics (Forum for Philosophy)

28 October 2020|

 

Anti-vaxxers & Other Sceptics (Forum for Philosophy)

Will a future COVID vaccine be undermined by anti-vaxxers? What are the causes of declining vaccination rates? Why does this medical scepticism persist, and how might it be tackled? Or might there be times when scepticism is justified? And if so, how are we to determine when we should and when […]

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    Ali Boyle (Cambridge): “Don’t Ask: Classification in Comparative Cognitive Science”

Ali Boyle (Cambridge): “Don’t Ask: Classification in Comparative Cognitive Science”

12 May 2020|

 

Ali Boyle (Cambridge): “Don’t Ask: Classification in Comparative Cognitive Science”

Many projects in comparative cognitive science (which I mean to include research in both comparative psychology and artificial intelligence) are structured around what I’ll call ‘classificatory questions’ – that is, questions about whether nonhuman cognitive systems have the same cognitive capacities as humans. These projects […]

Nature/Nurture (Forum for Philosophy)

7 March 2020|

 

 

Nature/Nurture (Forum for Philosophy)

Scientists agree that nature and nurture are essential ingredients in human development. But if both the blank slate and genetic determinism have been rejected, why do researchers still disagree and what is it that they disagree about? Join us as we’ll explore the issues at stake, taking a wide variety of perspectives, from the […]

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    Carina Prunkl (Oxford): “How Anthropocentric is Thermodynamics?”

Carina Prunkl (Oxford): “How Anthropocentric is Thermodynamics?”

9 December 2019|

 

Carina Prunkl (Oxford): “How Anthropocentric is Thermodynamics?”

Thermodynamics “smells more of its human origin than other branches of physics”, Bridgman famously wrote in 1941. Taking a closer look at the history of thermodynamics and statistical mechanics, we find that this ‘human smell’ enters the subject as early as the writings of Maxwell, who makes use of concepts such […]

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    Peter Achinstein (Johns Hopkins): “Epistemic Simplicity: The Last Refuge of a Scoundrel”

Peter Achinstein (Johns Hopkins): “Epistemic Simplicity: The Last Refuge of a Scoundrel”

26 November 2019|

 

Peter Achinstein (Johns Hopkins): “Epistemic Simplicity: The Last Refuge of a Scoundrel”

Both Newton and Einstein claim that nature is simple and that simplicity is a sign of truth. Is there any substance to either claim? The talk will be based on some parts of my recent book “Speculation: Within and About Science”.

Peter Achinstein is Professor […]

2019 Lakatos Award Lecture with Henk W. de Regt

22 November 2019|

 

2019 Lakatos Award Lecture with Henk W. de Regt

It is widely acknowledged that a central aim of science is to achieve understanding of the world around us, and that possessing such understanding is highly important in our present-day society. But what precisely is scientific understanding, and when is it achieved?

In his Lakatos Award winning book Understanding Scientific Understanding […]

2019 Lakatos Award Expert Workshop with Henk W. de Regt

21 November 2019|

 

2019 Lakatos Award Expert Workshop with Henk W. de Regt

On 21 November 2019, this half-day workshop addressed issues raised by Henk W. de Regt’s Lakatos Award-winning book, Understanding Scientific Understanding.

This video playlist includes the following talks:

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    Fernand Gobet (LSE): “Automatic generation of scientific theories using genetic programming”

Fernand Gobet (LSE): “Automatic generation of scientific theories using genetic programming”

29 October 2019|

 

Fernand Gobet (LSE): “Automatic generation of scientific theories using genetic programming”

The aim of this research is to develop a novel way to use computers to ‘evolve’ scientific theories automatically. By using techniques based on genetic programming and simple building blocks (primitive cognitive mechanisms), theories are automatically built, evolved and tested.  I will present a system […]

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    Stephen John (Cambridge HPS): “Epistemic risk paternalism”

Stephen John (Cambridge HPS): “Epistemic risk paternalism”

15 October 2019|

 

Stephen John (Cambridge HPS): “Epistemic risk paternalism”

A recent wave of work in philosophy of science has identified multiple points in the justificatory process at which scientists must make decisions involving “epistemic risk”. In turn, many have argued that these decisions must or should be decided by appeal to non-epistemic values. However, […]

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    Deborah Mayo (Virginia Tech): “Severe Testing: A Conjecture Passes a Severe Test Only if a Refutation Would Probably Have Occurred if it’s False”

Deborah Mayo (Virginia Tech): “Severe Testing: A Conjecture Passes a Severe Test Only if a Refutation Would Probably Have Occurred if it’s False”

3 June 2019|

Deborah Mayo (Virginia Tech): “Severe Testing: A Conjecture Passes a Severe Test Only if a Refutation Would Probably Have Occurred if it’s False”

High-profile failures of replication in the social and biological sciences underwrite a minimal requirement of evidence: If a conjecture is retained when little or nothing has been done that would have refuted it, then […]