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Products for grant FEL-272961-21

FEL-272961-21
Scientific explanation, inference, and realism
Christopher Pincock, Ohio State University

Grant details: https://apps.neh.gov/publicquery/main.aspx?f=1&gn=FEL-272961-21

Understanding the Success of Science (Article)
Title: Understanding the Success of Science
Author: Christopher Pincock
Abstract: This chapter sketches a new defense of scientific realism based on understanding the success of science and then considers what features understanding must have for this defense to succeed. It argues that if scientific realism involves knowledge of unobservables, then the relevant state of understanding some phenomenon must involve grasping that the phenomenon occurs independently of the scientist’s actions or community. The chapter concludes by arguing that both Giere and Potochnik are unable to provide this type of defense of scientific realism.
Year: 2023
Primary URL: https://www.routledge.com/Scientific-Understanding-and-Representation-Modeling-in-the-Physical-Sciences/Lawler-Khalifa-Shech/p/book/9781032054957
Primary URL Description: Book link.
Access Model: Book chapter
Format: Other
Publisher: Routledge

Mathematics and Explanation (Book)
Title: Mathematics and Explanation
Author: Christopher Pincock
Abstract: This Element answers four questions. Can any traditional theory of scientific explanation make sense of the place of mathematics in explanation? If traditional monist theories are inadequate, is there some way to develop a more flexible, but still monist, approach that will clarify how mathematics can help to explain? What sort of pluralism about explanation is best equipped to clarify how mathematics can help to explain in science and in mathematics itself? Finally, how can the mathematical elements of an explanation be integrated into the physical world? Some of the evidence for a novel scientific posit may be traced to the explanatory power that this posit would afford, were it to exist. Can a similar kind of explanatory evidence be provided for the existence of mathematical objects, and if not, why not?
Year: 2023
Primary URL: https://www.cambridge.org/core/elements/mathematics-and-explanation/94DCF4AAE30D5DAD37B9DE2DF03A292F
Primary URL Description: Book link
Access Model: Subscription
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Type: Single author monograph
ISBN: 9781009039154
Copy sent to NEH?: No

A Defense of Truth as a Necessary Condition on Explanation (Article)
Title: A Defense of Truth as a Necessary Condition on Explanation
Author: Christopher Pincock
Abstract: How can a reflective scientist put forward an explanation using a model when they are aware that many of the assumptions used to specify that model are false? This paper addresses this challenge by making two substantial assumptions about explanatory practice. First, many of the propositions deployed in the course of explaining have a non-representational function. In particular, a proposition that a scientist uses and also believes to be false, i.e. an “idealization”, typically has some non-representational function in the practice, such as the interpretation of some model or the specification of the target of the explanation. Second, when an agent puts forward an explanation using a model, they usually aim to remain agnostic about various features of the phenomenon being explained. In this sense, explanations are intended to be autonomous from many of the more fundamental features of such systems. I support these two assumptions by showing how they allow one to address a number of recent concerns raised by Bokulich, Potochnik and Rice. In addition, these assumptions lead to a defense of the view that explanations are wholly true that improves on the accounts developed by Craver, Mäki and Strevens.
Year: 2023
Primary URL: https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s10670-020-00371-9
Primary URL Description: Article link.
Access Model: Subscription
Format: Journal
Periodical Title: Erkenntnis
Publisher: Springer

Concrete Scale Models, Essential Idealization and Causal Explanation (Article)
Title: Concrete Scale Models, Essential Idealization and Causal Explanation
Author: Christopher Pincock
Abstract: This paper defends three claims about concrete or physical models: (i) these models remain important in science and engineering, (ii) they are often essentially idealized, in a sense to be made precise, and (iii) despite these essential idealizations, some of these models may be reliably used for the purpose of causal explanation. This discussion of concrete models is pursued using a detailed case study of some recent models of landslide generated impulse waves. Practitioners show a clear awareness of the idealized character of these models, and yet address these concerns through a number of methods. This paper focuses on experimental arguments that show how certain failures to accurately represent feature X are consistent with accurately representing some causes of feature Y, even when X is causally relevant to Y. To analyse these arguments, the claims generated by a model must be carefully examined and grouped into types. Only some of these types can be endorsed by practitioners, but I argue that these endorsed claims are sufficient for limited forms of causal explanation.
Year: 2022
Primary URL: https://www.journals.uchicago.edu/doi/full/10.1093/bjps/axz019
Primary URL Description: Article link
Access Model: Subscription
Format: Journal
Periodical Title: British Journal for the Philosophy of Science
Publisher: University of Chicago Press


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