Friday, November 19, 2010

A Query (or two) on Coherence

Two formal theories of coherence are currently available. The probabilistic views have suffered heavy criticism, partly because of their inability to capture explanatory relations, which seem to be at the heart of coherence. Thagard's model of explanatory coherence fairs better here. But it is not clear whether the coherence that Thagard describes so well is a good measure of the short-term reliability of a scientific claim. It captures well episodes in the history of science, but that could be more because of the fecundity of coherent views (which helps produce long term success) rather than short term reliability.

So, here is the query: 1) Are there any other contenders for a theory of coherence out there? and 2) Do we have any reason to think that a more coherent (however construed) view is more reliable right now?

Monday, November 8, 2010

Conference: Evolution, Cooperation and Rationality (Bristol, June 2011)

An international conference at the University of Bristol, June 27th-29th, 2011

The conference forms part of the AHRC-funded project on Evolution, Cooperation and Rationality, based in the Department of Philosophy at the University of Bristol, under the direction of Samir Okasha and Ken Binmore. The aim of this inter-disciplinary project is to study the connections between evolutionary theory and rational choice theory. The first project conference, held in September 2009, explored the different theoretical approaches to decision-making and social behaviour used in biology, economics, and psychology.

This conference is a sister to our 2009 conference, but with a more philosophical focus. The aim is to explore the philosophical foundations of recent scientific work on co-operation and social behaviour, in both human and non-human animals.

Confirmed Speakers:
Elliott Sober, Peter Godfrey-Smith, Kim Sterelny, Samir Okasha, Ken Binmore, David Papineau, Cedric Paternotte, Jonathan Grose

Papers will be both contributed and invited. For further details, including information on how to submit a paper, please see our conference website: