Monday, May 25, 2009
Anyway, nearly all of us gave programmatic papers (perhaps, undermining my claim in an earlier posting that the field is moribund). Maybe I'll try to summarize these in a future post. Here I focus on the only fierce debate at the conference. In his paper, Fish tried to extend Friedman's project of *Dynamics of Reason* in order to address the question how individuals operating within a framework can generate normative criticism of the framework. (Frish's solution was fresh by drawing on a mixture of Peter Gallison's stuff on trading zones and Frankfurtian moral psychology.) George Smith, who has become the world authority on Newton's Principia and who is increasingly intolerant of philosophical toy-examples (Smith was my undergraduate teacher), criticized Fish's (ahum) framework by being so framework-focused. On Smith's account there are just many different (and potentially conflicting) formulations of what we call 'Newtonian mechanics' that may only share a certain way of using deflections from inertial motion. Amusingly, Smith did not think he and *Friedman* differ on these matters; by the end of the workshop this was left unresolved--but I expect they are having an entertaining conversation in Stanford this week.
Added on May 30: just noticed that in the last few pages of *Word and Object* Quine (of all people) defends the patchwork view. (He cites *Modern Science and Modern Man* (1952) by Kuhn's mentor, James B. Conant, approvingly twice.) I seem to recall that in Two Dogmas (and maybe later) he has a more unified picture.
Saturday, May 23, 2009
Thursday, May 21, 2009
Emergence and Reduction in the Sciences (Second Pittsburgh-Paris Workshop)
Friday, December 11- Saturday, December 12, 2009 at the Center for Philosophy of Science, University of Pittsburgh
Center for Philosophy of Science and Department of History and Philosophy of Science, University of Pittsburgh / Institut d'Histoire et de Philosophie des Sciences et des Techniques, Paris.
The theme of the conference, emergence and reduction in the sciences, reflects the interest that these dual notions continue to attract in philosophy of science, most notably in philosophy of physics, of biology and of cognitive science. The organizers invite papers that address these dual notions in any science. Papers that connect the notions in several sciences are encouraged.
Contributors are asked to send: Paper title, abstract (500 words) and a short CV in a single pdf file to the EasyChair conference page at http://www.easychair.org/conferences/?conf=pp2 by the submission deadline. (If you are not already a registered user of www.easychair.org, you will need to create a free account as part of the submission process.) Deadline for submission: August 15; Notification of acceptance: September 15. For general inquiries, firstname.lastname@example.org. Supplementary funding may be available to provide partial support for speakers contributing papers.
Jacques Dubucs, Philippe Huneman; IHPST, Paris
Peter Machamer, Sandra Mitchell, Kenneth Schaffner; HPS, Pittsburgh
Michael Silberstein, Philosophy, Elizabethtown College
Jessica Wilson, Philosophy, University of Toronto
Wednesday, May 13, 2009
Anyway, the paper is short and comments by anyone who works on this kind of thing would be welcome.
UPDATE (May 18th).
After several days checking for any other related literature, I see that John Stachel seems to have made a somewhat similar suggestion in:
- Stachel, J. 2002. "‘The relations between things’ versus ‘the things between relations’: The deeper meaning of the hole argument." In D. Malament (ed.), Reading Natural Philosophy: Essays in the History and Philosophy of Science and Mathematics. Chicago and LaSalle, IL: Open Court.
I haven't read this paper yet. Stachel's proposal is discussed in a very interesting 2006 article by Oliver Pooley,
- Pooley, O. 2006. "Points, Particles and Structural Realism", in D. Rickles, S. French & J. Saatsi (eds), The Structural Foundations of Quantum Gravity, Oxford University Press.
This is available here
[Pooley's paper contains a nice discussion of the way to categorically axiomatize a structure M by, in effect, taking the logical conjunction of its diagram (set of atomic sentences true in M, in a language L_M with a name for each domain element), adding all inequation clauses saying all the names denote distinct things and that they exhaust the domain, and then existentially quantifying the result. For an infinite structure, clearly this is an infinitary formula.]
Monday, May 4, 2009
Friday, May 1, 2009
Let's contrast this with hard HPS in which there is i) a historical way of knowing (think Lakatos, who was not much concerned with historical accuracy, or George Smith, who is very much concerned with historical accuracy); ii) a trans-historical way of knowing (think Kuhn, who privileged the historian's stance over that of the puzzle-solving scientist, or Foucault, who claimed to detect hidden epistemes unknown to the historical agents); iii) a genuinely historicist stance (sometimes associated with Laudan, but probably better associated with members of the Edinburgh School). Of course, there are/were blended versions of these three.
No doubt there are genuine HPS projects (Hasok Chang comes to mind) that don't fit this too neat division. My claim is that HPS has it source and animating drive in the varieties and debates of hard HPS (Hanson, Polanyi, Bachelard, etc). My claim in my previous post should have been that hard HPS is (almost?) dead.